March 21, 2010

Cherokee claymation language films

Videographer:  A portrait of Nathan Young IV

By Honey Dawn Karima PettigrewWhile emphasizing cultural studies and bilingual education in Native American languages, Young encountered Joe Erb, who taught him the techniques needed to create stop motion claymation movies. “I had the opportunity to work on ‘The Messenger’ to learn animation and I was lucky that Fort Gibson was so supportive in giving me the resources and freedom to learn,” he said.

Young, whose passion for Native American languages led him to pursue the study of Creek, Cherokee and Choctaw at the University of Oklahoma, viewed claymation films as an opportunity to educate and inspire. As part of the bilingual education program at Fort Gibson, Young’s students created short films, using the stop motion technique. These films shared traditional Cherokee stories, were performed in Cherokee (with English subtitles) by the students, who ranged in age from middle to high school level.
And:“I’m also working on a Pawnee language animation. I’m Pawnee/Kiowa/Delaware, and my Pawnee project is part one of a HAKO series that is called ‘Kits-pa-rux-ti: The Wonderful River.’” Young is eagerly anticipating the development of this series as a celebration of Pawnee culture.

“It’s the story of the origin of the Pawnee Medicine Societies. It’s not going to be a claymation, more like cell animation, actually drawn by frame. I’m just getting the language together now so that I can start animating.”

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