Speaking the Language
The saga of the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock has been told, for the most part, in just one language: English.
The voices of the Native Americans who were there—speaking in their own languages—have usually been left out.
The new film Saints & Strangers, which recounts the events surrounding the arrival of the Mayflower in the New World in the autumn of 1620, attempts to change that. In this relling, Native Americans are as much at the heart of the story as the Pilgrims. And those Native Americans are speaking in a native tongue, in a language called Western Abenaki.
“This was a huge challenge,” says Jesse Bowman Bruchac, 44, a fluent speaker of the language, who coached the film’s Native