Excellent article over on Indian Country Today on a new documentary, The Young Ancestors, which examines the efforts of Native American students in New Mexico to learn their indigenous Tewa language.
“When producer/director Aimée Broustra heard about it she decided to make a documentary.
“The teenagers in The Young Ancestors are motivated and enthusiastic about learning because they understand the symbiotic relationship between language and culture; that one cannot survive for too long without the other,” Broustra says on the documentary’s website, TheYoungAncestors.com. “In a broader context the documentary explores the burgeoning movement by Native Americans to revitalize their native languages in tribes throughout America.”
Of Irish descent, Broustra says she is familiar with oppression.
“I was raised Irish Catholic, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Growing up, I had two different experiences of what it meant to be Irish Catholic. My mother spoke at length of the history of the Irish people and their oppression under the English: the seizure of land owned by Irish Catholics, the loss of the Celtic language and tradition,” she told Indian Country Today Media Network.
Though there are differences in the backgrounds between the Irish and Natives, her history helped her grasp nuances in the film without having to ask for explanations.
In addition to embracing tradition, Broustra offers eye-opening statistics in the film. While there are tribes engaged in revitalizing their languages, many tribal languages are close to endangered and will not survive if the young people don’t start speaking them.”