During American Indian Heritage Month, the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh will premiere the film “First Language — The Race to Save Cherokee” on Friday, Nov. 21, from 7 to 9 p.m.
The film documents the measures being taken to re-establish Cherokee as a native language. The 2014 American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco nominated “First Language” for the Best Public Service award. Admission is $5 per person (free for children 12 and under) for the Nov. 21 film screening, which will be followed by a discussion.
“First Language” is the latest production by the N.C. Language and Life Project, a research, engagement and outreach initiative of N.C. State University under the direction of linguistics professor Walt Wolfram, co-author of Talkin’ Tar Heel. After the film, Wolfram will join a discussion with “First Language” filmmakers Neal Hutcheson and Danica Cullinan, as well as members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Nation.
Cherokee Indian tribes were once a dominant power in what is now the southeastern United States. Although many Cherokee live in Western North Carolina, very few still speak their native language. Recognizing the threat to their tradition, identity and worldview, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has taken major steps to preserve the language by teaching it to their children; the film documents the ongoing efforts of the Cherokee community to preserve its heritage.
Wolfram is the William C. Friday Distinguished University Professor at N.C. State and has pioneered research on social and ethnic dialects since the 1960s. He has published more than 20 books and more than 300 articles.
For more information, call 919-807-7979 or visit www.facebook.com/racetosavecherokee.