Wednesday July 3rd you will be able to hear Luke Skywalker beg Uncle Owen to go to Tosche Station for those power converters in the Navajo language. The Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona has joined with Navajo Parks and Recreation and Lucasfilm, Ltd.  to dub Star Wars into the Diné language. This is the first time a mainstream movie has been dubbed into the Navajo language.

Manuelito Wheeler, the director of the Navajo Nation Museum, said he's been working on getting a popular film dubbed into Navajo as way to preserve the language and show that it is still vital today. Wheeler said that Lucasfilm was excited about the project.

"By preserving the Navajo language and encouraging Navajo youth to learn their language, we will also be preserving Navajo culture," Wheeler said.

Left to Right: Manuelito Wheeler Director of Navajo Nation Museum, Martin L. Begaye, Department Manager of Navajo Parks and Recreation, Knifewing, William Nakaione of the Navajo Linguist. Press Conference on April 23, 2013 at Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Az.
(Photo by Geri Hongeva)

The Museum and its partners worked to dub the movie into the Navajo language using a group of Navajo-speakers who went over each spoken word in the movie and translated it into the Diné language. The group was made up of linguists, young Navajos and a Navajo actress, who are Navajo speakers.“This [was] a challenge since there are many words in the movie for which there are no counterpart in the Navajo language,” said Wheeler. After the translating the script auditions were held in early May 2013.

 

Wheeler added he hopes that this will lead to more projects like this that promote Navajo language and culture and encourages young Navajos to seek out more about their heritage.

The movie will premier July 3rd at the Navajo Fourth of July Celebration in Window Rock, Arizona.

(Navajo Nation Museum)