July 31, 2010

Eagle Books in Creek language

Taking control of the medium--and the message

Muscogee (Creek) Nation translates health books and videos to appeal to kids

By Stephanie Woodard
The books and videos were originally produced in English, said Isham, but then it was proposed that an exhibit of the illustrations travel from the CDC’s Global Health Odyssey Museum in Atlanta to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation’s museum. In figuring out how the set of artworks–called “Through the Eyes of the Eagle”–would fit into the focus of the Creek facility, the idea of tribal spin on the materials emerged, he said.

“Our museum focuses on Creek history and culture, so at first the books appeared to be outside our purview. But we got our medical team and diabetes program involved, along with the Mvskoke Language Institute, a language-preservation group, and we thought of translating them into Creek. People saw the potential, and enthusiasm grew.”

Today, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation project has translated one book into Creek and, using the CDC’s Atlanta studios, has transformed two of the animations into two formats–one with Creek language and English subtitles, the other with English language and Creek subtitles, said Isham. “Our elders saw the sense in this when we joined the visuals with the two languages. And our kids responded very well to the media and the message.”

The material wasn’t translated word-for-word, though, he said. “We added our worldview to make them ours.”
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Eagle Books Promote Healthiness.

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