Disney-Pixar to translate 'Finding Nemo' film into Navajo

Fri Dec 5, 2014 12:06pm EST
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By Joseph Kolb

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (Reuters) - Hollywood is paying a tribute of sorts to the largest American Indian-speaking population in the United States by translating the wildly popular children's film "Finding Nemo" into Navajo.

Advocates of the tribal language say it is slowly dying out, and that the move by Disney-Pixar could help it find a new generation of speakers by reaching out directly to children.

Marilyn Reeves, an Albuquerque-area Navajo grandmother, said her two grandchildren already watch the 2003 movie about the loveable clownfish every day.

"I think translating it will give them a chance to catch on to Navajo faster because they can see how it is used," she said.

Reeves said her family occasionally speaks Navajo at home, in part because she can see that each generation uses it less as children grow up and leave the reservation.

"This translation helps legitimize our language," she said.

The Navajo "Finding Nemo" will be released next spring and will be the second movie translated into the language, after "Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope" was translated in 2013.

"After dubbing Star Wars in Navajo and seeing the audience reaction, I knew we needed to do more for the kids," Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum, said in a statement.   Continued...