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‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ to be translated into Ojibwe language

The galaxy of Star Wars is expanding once again as plans take shape to translate the original 1977 Hollywood hit into the Ojibwe language.

Lucasfilm, the Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council and the University of Manitoba said they’ve reached an agreement to record a dubbed Ojibwe version of Star Wars: A New Hope.

The first film in George Lucas’ popular sci-fi series introduces many of the beloved characters, including Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo and his Wookiee co-pilot, Chewbacca.

It’s only the second time the original Star Wars has been officially translated into an Indigenous language

Main script translator for the Ojibwe version and assistant professor at the University of Manitoba, Patricia Ningewance, said the first time was in Navajo.

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Producers say Ojibwe was chosen because it is the most spoken Indigenous language in Manitoba, Ontario and Minnesota, with about 320,000 speakers across Canada and the United States.

Ningewance said the significance of this on future generations should not be minimized.

“We need to have a lot of material like this made while we still have fluent speakers, because we’re losing fluent speakers all the time,” she said. ‘We need to have material like this so that when my generation is gone, the young people will have things to look at where they can hear the language said.”

The Ojibwe teacher and professional translator said hearing real conversations with intonation is important to learning the language.

She added learning how to read and write in Ojibwe is also critical because not many are literate in it, even though they may be fluent. “I’m hoping that after this, there will be more literacy,” she said, hoping script readings will be incorporated into the project.

Producers said anticipate the Star Wars translation will happen next year with plans for a premiere in Winnipeg, theatrical screenings across Canada and an eventual television showing on APTN.

&copy 2023 The Canadian Press


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