The Young Ancestors – Youth Group Preserves Endangered Language

Congratulations to the native youth group at Santa Fe Preparatory School for their film selection into the White Sands International Film Festival. The Young Ancestors is a documentary about a group of Native American teens in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who, under the guidance of a mentor, are learning the Tewa language and seeking to revitalize its culture.

New Mexico, along with its neighboring states of Oklahoma and Texas, has been identified as one of the top five regions in the world where languages are disappearing most rapidly. The youth were part of a pilot program that began in 2009 that asked students to study the Tewa language under a mentor at Santa Fe Preparatory School in New Mexico.

The film clearly confirms the importance of language preservation and education, especially at the youth level. The loss of a language is the loss of hundreds of years of thinking about the world. For the youth, learning one’s native language can mean the gaining of one’s identity, of the knowledge of where one comes from, and of self-empowerment.

“This film is about courage and hope; the triumph of honor and respect,” reads the film description.

You can catch a screening of the The Young Ancestors at The White Sands International Film Festival in Las Cruces, New Mexico, opening this week (August 22-26).

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4 Responses to The Young Ancestors – Youth Group Preserves Endangered Language

  1. ke su nezo dene gothe denedayati honeltan de.
    Wow, This is great espeacially coming from a group of young people.
    I would like a copy of the video to show the children here. We are also rapidly loosing our Dene Yati and seeking ways to help our youth to learn and use the language.

    • Dear Ms. Catholique,
      Thank you for your interest in “The Young Ancestors” and in language revitalization. I would be happy to put you in touch with some of the people in the film who are engaged in teaching and leading workshops in native language revitalization. Also if you would like a copy of the film, please send a request to me: aimee@theyoungancestors.com. Cost of a single DVD is $10.00 plus $2.12 for shipping. Checks or money orders must be made out to Camino Verite Films and mailed to 7355 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87505. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance. Sincerely, Aimee

  2. Melanie Wilson says:

    Beautiful! I love what she said about the language itself seeking out connections with people. Language is living, but it must be spoken to be nourished.

  3. Sharon Cole says:

    Boozhoo!
    What a great job! Kudos to the youth, what a riveting piece! Keep up the awesome work of re-connecting and keeping your languages alive and moving forward with you, into the future. You are a wonderful example for Native youth worldwide in the campaign to save and learn our languages…they truly are a calm in the storm of life.
    Blessings and best wishes for continued success in your efforts and happiness too! Thanks to all the supporting adults in your lives as well…Baamaapii (see you later)
    Sharon Cole, Ojibwe Language Resource-Saginaw/Chippewa Tribal College, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan

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