Film features 11-year-old Saskatchewan girl teaching the Nakota language in 10 days

A recently released film captures an 11-year-old girl teaching a grown man the Nakota language to spread the message that Indigenous languages can be learned by anyone. Still from 10 Days of Nakota film

An 11-year-old girl from Ocean Man First Nation in Saskatchewan went from student to teacher in a recently released film called 10 Days of Nakota.

Crocus Big Eagle is featured in a film that captures a man’s journey as he travels across Saskatchewan to explore new things about the Nakota language.

Crocus was introduced to her native language at a young age. She visits community elders to instill knowledge about her language and pays close attention to detail.

Read more: Researchers in B.C. could help save one of the world’s most complex Indigenous languages

“My (grandpa) is the only (Nakota) speaker here, so, it’s really important to me to learn my language,” Crocus said. “I hope people realize that Indigenous people are important and so is our culture and language. Maybe (others) can try to learn (Nakota) too.”

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The film is part of a Canadian Languages web series that explores Indigenous languages across the country.

Wabhi Zarry, the film’s director, story writer and producer, is the student to whom Crocus teaches the Nakota language.

He previously released the first Canadian Languages film called 10 Days of Cree in 2020 and decided to tackle another Indigenous language.

Read more: Indigenous language preservation: ‘We’re fighting against a clock’

“I believe reconciliation can be achieved by learning an Indigenous language,” said Zarry. “It was wonderful to meet Crocus … I’m still impressed with her dedication and seriousness to her language and culture.”

In the film, Crocus was directed to be a strict teacher which made the scenes between her and Zarry entertaining to watch.

“It was kind of odd because I’m younger than (Zarry) and I was the teacher,” she said. “It kind of felt good telling an adult what to do.”

The film 10 Days of Nakota was released last month and it can be viewed on YouTube.

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