Author: Karen Moorman

Through 10/30: RiverRun International Film Festival Shares with North Carolinians ᏓᏗᏬᏂᏏ (We Will Speak)

When it comes to the study of cultures, language and stories might be considered “keys to the kingdom.”  Elders who are native speakers of the Cherokee language, along with young students/teachers from the Cherokee Nation, share some of their wisdom with us in the documentary film ᏓᏗᏬᏂᏏ (We Will Speak). Filmmakers, Schon Duncan and Michael McDermit created a beautiful, must-see film that will impress anyone interested in the Cherokee people, their culture, and, most importantly, their language. ᏓᏗᏬᏂᏏ (We Will Speak) has been made available to North Carolinians for viewing online from October 16-30.

From the start of the film, I was drawn to the simplicity and authenticity. The speakers are Native people, some of them for whom the Cherokee language was their first language. The intent of the filmmakers, it seems, is to relay the sense of urgency for teaching and preserving the language through an intensive effort by many. Most of those individuals consider themselves student/teachers, young folks who have gone through training to pass along a language that is quickly dying along with their elders. The Cherokee Nation has an ambitious goal: to insure that in fifty years, 80% of the Cherokee members will be fluent. The elders are less concerned, however. They have been raised to think ahead to the next seven generations. No need to be in a hurry. Perhaps their wisdom will prevail.

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