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The Dakota Ojibway Tribal Council (DOTC). based in Manitoba, Canada and the University of Manitoba announced last Monday that they have an alliance with Disney/Lucasfilm to create an official Anishinaabemowin (Ojibwe) version of Star Wars: A New Hope.

The popular Star Wars already has had a Navajo version since 2013. When combined, Ojibwe people living in both the United States and Canada, the constiitute the third largest group in both countries. The largest tribal groups are the Navajo and the Cherokee. Anishinaabemowin is the third most spoken language across the Indigenous people in North America. 

The idea to have Stars Wars done in Anishinaabemowin came from Dougald Lamont, former Member of the Legislative Assembly for St. Boniface, who reached out in 2021 to Pablo Hidalgo, a former Winnipegger and Lucasfilm executive, to see whether it would be possible to get Star Wars officially translated into Anishinaabemowin.

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“I thought if Star Wars could be translated into Navajo, they might be interested in doing another language as well,” said Dougald Lamont. “And while I’ve never met Pablo Hidalgo, Winnipeg being Winnipeg, we have several friends in common, so I e-mailed him. A couple of weeks later, I got an e-mail back from Michael Kohn. I was over the moon – over two moons! I immediately reached out to another friend and Star Wars fan, Maeengan Linklater at DOTC, and that got the ball rolling.” 

Script translation, auditions for Anishinaabemowin voice actors and sound recording will take place in Winnipeg, with sound mixing and post-production scheduled to occur at Skywalker Sound in California. Plans are to have a Winnipeg premiere as well as showings at theatres across Canada and the intent is for this version of the film to air on APTN. Further details and timelines will be announced as the project progresses. 

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