The Native Voice in the Movie, Antlers

The movie Antlers, produced by Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro and directed by Scott Cooper is based on a screenplay he wrote with Nick Antosca and C. Henry Chaisson retelling Antosca’s short story “The Quiet Boy” which is a true Wiindigo tale warning against greed, corruption and destruction. In the film, a teacher says: “What is Storytelling? Storytelling started with our indigenous people.” Cooper and Del Toro worked to respectively connect their Wiindigo story to stories that have been told on this continent as long as anyone can remember. Grace L. Dillon was the primary consultant for the film and she contacted Margaret Noodin when the movie needed a voice of warning. As many of us work to revitalize languages that grew weak during colonization, attempted assimilation and the era of boarding schools, it is wonderful to know Antlers contains accurate Ojibwe. Our languages are growing stronger.

The final trailer for the film includes Margaret’s voice speaking Ojibwe. Here are the haunting words of warning:

Wenaakonigejig owiisagenimigoowaad wiindigoon.
The nations have been made to suffer by those who walk with greed in their hearts.

Nishiwanaajitoonid akiwan gaye nibiiwan miinawaa nishwanaaji’aanid asiniiyan, begazojin, bemoodejin, bemisejin, bemosejin.
They have destroyed the land and waters; they have destroyed the stones, swimmers, the crawlers, the ones who fly and the ones who walk.

Maazikamikwe godagendaagozid mii gikendang aabdeg wii-izhichigaadeg.
Mother Earth is in danger and knows what must be done.

Two other statements of warning were written for the film. Let us know which ones you hear in the movie and take all of them to heart.

First Alternate Warning

Wenaakonigejig nishkaadiziwag, miinawaa gichinishkaadendamoyan noongom.

Zhigwa waa-onaakanaadwaa nebojig miinawaa maamoyaawemadwaa gakina gaa-bi-ayaawaad bamitaagejig, niigaanaajimojig, manaadendamojig, gokwaadenimojig miidash nishwanaaji’adwaa gaa-nishwanaajitoowaad aki.

The nations are angry and wrath has come.

The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding the servants, the prophets, the saints, and those who reverence your name, both small and great and for destroying those who destroy the earth. (Note that in the Ojibwe the servants, prophets, and saints are literally the stewards, leaders and ones who give respect and who value the earth.)

Second Alternate Warning

Maazikamikweyan ogii-inigaa’aawaan, ogii-gimoodimaawaan biiwaabikoon odaapinamowaad.
Mother Earth has been pillaged, stripped of her essential elements.

Gichi-Wiindigoon ogaa-amaji’aawaan.
A violation that has awakened the Malevolent Spirit.

Miidash wewanishinojin, nenaakizijin, meji-doodangin nooji’aawaad.
Seeking the lost, the frail, and the depraved… It is within us all.

Bagosendan gaawiin misawenimisinog.
Pray it desires not you.

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