The translation, funded by Walt Disney Studios, is part of an effort by the Navajo Nation Museum to revive interest in Navajo. The language is still spoken by more than half of the Navajo Nation—the largest tribe in the U.S. with more than 300,000 members—but is less popular among a critical segment of the population: children.
So tribal officials are hoping that Finding Nemo—which comes after a Navajo rendition of Star Wars became a surprise hit last year—helps promote the language among youngsters. Popular movies like Star Wars and Finding Nemo are being dubbed in Navajo in efforts to promote the native language among children of the Navajo Nation.
“By no means do I see these movies as a magic pill,” said Manny Wheeler, the Navajo museum’s director, who is heading the film project. “But we hope it can be a bridge so our young people can become re-engaged in the language.” […] “Things that tend to be kind of funny in English tend to be hilarious in Navajo,” Mr. Wheeler chuckled.