Price: $350.00

    Code: 2443

    Directed by Aimee Barry Broustra
    2012, 60 minutes
    Purchase: $350 / classroom rental: $125
    Call us at 212-685-6242 for special K-12 pricing.

    A fascinating documentary, The Young Ancestors explores a growing movement within American Indian communities to revitalize their native languages before they become extinct. An inspiring documentary, it follows a group of teenagers, who as part of a pilot program created by the Indigenous Language Institute, are learning their native language, Tewa, for the first time.

    Like many today, the dedicated students in the film are motivated and enthusiastic about learning Tewa because they understand the symbiotic relationship between language and culture; that one cannot survive for too long without the other. They learn Tewa through group discussions led by their teacher and mentor, along with the help of specially designed computer technology (which aids in capturing the inflections and nuances of their language).

    Learning their tribal language allows the student to establish a line of continuity with their ancestors and to connect with the rituals performed in their community. Dances, songs, and ceremonies are demystified. The language becomes once again vibrant.

    An important film, The Young Ancestors also explores the troubling history of forced boarding school attendance and relocation through interviews with parents and members of the community. It examines the historical reasons behind Native American language loss and uncovers the ways in which speaking one's native language heals on both individual and communal levels.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Official Selection, Santa Fe Film Festival
    * Official Selection, American Indian Film Festival
    * Official Selection, White Sands Film Festival
    * Official Selection, University of North Dakota Indian Studies Film Festival


    " Pick of the Day . This film helps in educating viewers about the critical need for tribal languages to be rescued before it is too late, and will work well with multicultural studies classes." Robin Levin, Fort Washakie School/Community Library, WY, School Library Journal

    "Very enlightening. This will encourage Native Americans to appreciate the value of their beautiful language. It certainly will be of great benefit to all who desire to learn to speak their Native Tongue." Ron, Tewa Language and Culture Instructor Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico

    " Recommended . Many of the traditional dances, ceremonies, and songs that the teenagers grew up with become revitalized now that they understand the connectivity between the language and the rituals. Interviews regarding forced boarding school attendance and relocation of Native American Indian populations are included to provide context. A fascinating documentary on this topic." - Educational Media Reviews

    " A charming new film. Suitable for high school classes and for college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of language, anthropology of world indigenous peoples, and Native American studies, as well as general audiences." - Anthropology Review Database