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A Hero's Journey Through Science Fiction

“Translated Into Navajo, ‘Star Wars’ Will Be” (NPR Radio)

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From Public Radio KUNM:

When Dave Nezzie met his future wife, Amanda, they quickly fell in love over a galaxy far, far away.

“I think that was one of the first things that bonded Dave and I together, was our love for Star Wars,” says Amanda Nezzie. “Our children have also caught the Star Wars bug.”

The family lives in Albuquerque, N.M., and one of the biggest struggles they’ve had living off the reservation is teaching Dave’s native Navajo language to their kids.

“Rosetta Stone has something, there’s an app on the iPad, and having alternatives is what we need,” says Dave. “Having more resources available will help us teach the language to more people.”

Enter Star Wars.

On July 3, the 1977 movie Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope will premiere dubbed in Navajo. It’s the first time a major motion picture has been translated into a Native American language.

Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum, got the ball rolling. He approached the Navajo Nation and Lucasfilm, and the project took off from there.

“This was an idea that I felt was a way to promote our culture, promote our language, a way to save our language,” says Wheeler. “There are definitely Star Wars nerds out there who can repeat that movie verbatim, and they speak no Navajo. And so when they’re watching this and it’s in Navajo, it’s them learning Navajo.”

Christine Trudeau, KUNM

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