The importance of saving native languages, including Nimipuutimt, the native language of the Nez Perce, is the focus of this year’s Sapaatk’ayn Cinema Friday and Saturday, March 28 and 29, in Moscow.The festival begins at 7 p.m. Friday at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre with a showing of “Language Healers,” one of the first documentaries to show how U.S. American Indian communities from Alaska to Oklahoma are working to preserve languages that were once outlawed.
After the screening, there will be a discussion with Neyooxet Greymorning and Phillip Cash Cash. A reception will follow at BookPeople.
Greymorning holds joint positions in anthropology and Native American studies at the University of Montana. Cash Cash is a doctoral candidate in the joint program in anthropology and linguistics at the University of Arizona, Tucson, where he studies endangered and indigenous languages of the Columbia Plateau.
On Saturday, the festival continues with a 3 p.m. matinee showing of “Language Healers” to be followed by “The Making of Timnéepe,” a documentary by Patricia Keith of Lewiston on the 2013 staging of the Nez Perce Creation story in the Nez Perce language by Angel Sobotta. Greymorning, Cash Cash and Keith will talk with the audience following the afternoon screening.
“The Making of Timnéepe” will be the featured film at 7 p.m. Saturday. Language consultants, directors, cast and crew will talk about their experiences bringing the traditional story to life in Nimipuutimt.
This year’s films provide a bridge to a new partnership between the University of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College. The UI will begin offering Nez Perce Language 101 in Moscow next fall in collaboration with LCSC.
The Kenworthy Performing Arts Centre is at 508 S. Main St.