Navajo Star Wars now available on DVD

By Bill Donovan
Special to the Times

WINDOW ROCK, Dec. 12, 2013

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(File photo)

Dressed as Obi Wan Kenobi from the movie Star Wars, Darrick Franklin, from Twin Lakes, N.M., poses for the camera while the film is shown in the background at the Navajo Nation Museum on Saturday in Window Rock. (File photo)

Just in time for the holiday gift giving comes the perfect gift for any member of the Navajo Nation -- your own copy of "Star Wars" dubbed in Navajo.

Fifteen months after the movie was first shown during the 2012 Navajo Nation Fair, Lucasfilm and Fox Studios in partnership with the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department and the Navajo Nation Museum is releasing a DVD of the first movie to be dubbed into an Indian language.

Manuelito Wheeler, director of the museum, said a shipment of 1,500 copies of the movie is now on its way to Window Rock and the movie may be available for purchase as early as Friday in the museum's gift shop.

The movie has already been seen by thousands of Navajos through its presentation at the tribal fair and other events on the reservation as well as in other cities throughout the country.

"It took a lot of negotiations to make this possible," said Wheeler, who originated the idea of dubbing a movie into Navajo as a way to bring pride to members of the tribe and promote use of the language among young Navajos.

Wheeler said no decision has been made as yet as to how much to charge for the movie but it's expected to be somewhere between $20 and $30.

Schools will be given a discount and Wheeler said enough copies of the DVD will be set aside to allow schools and chapters to purchase a copy of the DVD.

Other than that, it will be first-come, first-served and Wheeler expects that it won't take long to sell out of the 1,500 copies that are coming in.

Once this order sells out, more will be made but that may take some time.

Profits from the sale of the DVD will go to the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department since that department helped fund the cost of doing the dubbing of the film.

Wheeler stressed that schools and chapters that purchase the DVD will be allowed to show the film but will not be able to charge admission.

"This is the same as all other movies that come out on DVD," Wheeler said.

When the museum showed the film, there was never an admission charge and that was also the same for any organization both on and off the reservation that has shown the film in its community.

Wheeler said that this will change the way the tribe has been showing the film in other communities.

In the future, the communities will be able to show the DVD, which will be a lot easier than showing the film the museum has now because that film takes special equipment.

He said the next showing of the film will be on Friday at Monument Valley High School.

The only place the DVD will be sold, Wheeler said, is at the museum's gift shop.

"That's because we only have 1,500 copies," he said.

"If we had 15,000 copies, we would come up with a distribution plan and have it be available in other places." People can come to the gift shop and purchase it there.

For people who live outside Window Rock, procedures have been set up to allow them to call in their order and pay for the DVD and shipping by way of their credit card.

Wheeler stressed, however, that a delay in shipping for some reason will require the museum to postpone the day when the DVD will go on sale. ...

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