Classically trained tenor Jeremy Dutcher (Tobique First Nation) wowed my soul last year with his debut album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. His music is accompanied by Wolastoqiyik singers from over a hundred years ago, thanks to archived wax cylinder recordings. And the results are extraordinary; the past is resurrected and then heightened by a modern form: classical music.
Inspired by Dutcher’s passion to resurrect his traditional tongue, I decided to archive O’otham words by clipping from my tribe’s newspaper, Gila River Indian News (GRIN), and pasting them into a scrapbook. My long term goal is to offer a free dictionary for public access. Unfortunately, there are no databases or publications I know of that archive Akimel O’otham words (at least for public use).
Part of living well-ish is connecting with our cultural roots (and as far down as we can go), especially before these roots dissolve. And who knows what kind of art we can create in the process. Collaborate with the past.
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