Film performed entirely in Haida, a language with 14 speakers - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, September 22, 2019
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Film performed entirely in Haida, a language with 14 speakers

Edge of the Knife is a Northwest Coast Haida historical drama performed entirely in the Haida language, with English subtitles.

Haida is thought to have fewer than 14 living fluent speakers, and filmmakers Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown utilized a dialect coach for this film.

The Haida populated the coast as far north as Prince of Wales Island and at the time of European arrival, there were more than 15,000 speakers of the Haida language. The Haida people are more spread out now, but still have a strong presence in their homeland that spans two nations.

The Canadian film takes its inspiration from the Haida story of Gaagiixiid/Gaagiid wildman, a tale of a man who is racked by the guilt of having caused the death of his nephew.  Watch the trailer for the film here:

 

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Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

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