The Sailor Soldiers will be saving the day now speaking in several of Canada’s indigenous languages.
Westin Sutherland, an 18 year-old fan of animated series such as Sailor Moon, is leading an ambitious effort to dub over the popular anime in his native Anishinaabemowin and Cree. Sutherland is an Ojibwe man of the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba and has been learning Anishinaabemowin as part of his cultural upbringing for the past four years. To help improve his own language learning, Sutherland has begun dubbing episodes of Sailor Moon, The Proud Family, and Spongebob Squarepants.
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“Big cultures and languages can easily find programming, books, everything in their language,” explained Sutherland in an interview with the CBC. “For my own people, I’ve noticed there’s really nothing and I like the sound of my language; hearing that sound, hearing it spoken in everyday life, hearing it spoken in unique situations.”
Sutherland works closely with Anishinaabe Elders and language teachers to ensure dubbed scripts are accurate and sound natural before enlisting voice actors to record the new dialogue. From there, Sutherland mixes the audio dubs himself replacing the original dialogue tracks.
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With more than 70 indigenous languages spoken throughout Canada among approximately 250,000 speakers, Sutherland hopes the fan dubs will encourage more people to become interested in learning indigenous languages.
“I think it will help our language and help our people gain confidence in our language,” admitted Sutherland.