Albuquerque was recently the third stop on an 11-city, nation-wide tour of the original Star Wars movie dubbed in Navajo.
The downtown KiMo Theater was nearly packed with an almost entirely Native audience. Navajo speakers who are Star Wars enthusiasts were drawn into the translation and the humor.
Surprisingly, many at the screening had never seen the film before. “I thought it was hilarious,” Arlene said. “You know, some of the words we didn't know and I've never watched Star Wars before but seeing it in Navajo is, ya know… I liked it.”
“When the bad guy said open the door, and then the other guy said 'eeeyah',” Eric explained his favorite part was when a regional colloquialism common to the Navajo language was used in reference to the Emperor.
Navajo Tribal member and Santa Fe artist Anderson Kee, who voiced Obi-Wan Kenobi, says the dub is a vital tool for future generations and gives a whole different feel to film through its added humor.
“As far as preserving the Navajo language for kids,” Kee said, “It’ll keep their attention longer than classrooms for whatever, so it’s a good way to go about it, I think. You know, it’s a good start, anyway, to preserving the language.
Upcoming screenings will be held in cities including New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles.