Event Film and Video Screenings "Native America: Language Is Life" Screening and Discussion

Date and Location

  • When: Thursday, November 9, 2023

    6:00 pm - 8:40 pm EST

  • Where: Thomas Jefferson Building - Members Room (LJ162)

    10 1st Street SE, Washington, DC 20540

Part of Native American Heritage Month

Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or ADA@loc.gov.

The American Folklife Center invites you to a reception, screening, and panel discussion around "Language is Life," a new film from the PBS Series "Native America."

From Hollywood films on the big screen to sacred writing deep within the Earth, from long-lost voices captured in wax cylinders, Native people are fighting to keep their languages and ways of life alive. Though many of the approximately 170 Native languages spoken across the United States remain at risk today, it is a time of hope. A revolutionary effort to revitalize traditional languages is unfolding across Native America; and Native innovators are applying 21st-century technologies to save a core element of their culture and inspire future generations. “Language Is Life” highlights how Native heroes are using every tool to recover, revitalize and restore their linguistic traditions. This episode from the PBS series explores the use of a laser-assisted needle to recover Passamaquoddy songs recorded over a century ago and housed at the American Folklife Center of the Library of Congress.  It shows a team creating digital scans of Cherokee writing hidden under graffiti in a Georgia cave. In addition, Manny Wheeler (Navajo) shares his mission to dub Hollywood blockbusters like Star Wars into Navajo. Their successes are changing Native America and the world at large.

Part of the PBS series Native America Season 2.

Presented with the support of PBS, The Anne Ray Foundation, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Providence Pictures


  • Photo credit: Donald Soctomah

    Donald Soctomah

    Donald Soctomah (Passamaquoddy) is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Passamaquoddy Tribe. He works with state and federal agencies to preserve and protect historic properties and other resources on tribal land in northern Maine. He also records tribal elders’ memories about what life was like long ago or even their favorite stories, which have been passed down through the generations.
  • Photo credit: Gary Glassman filming the Great Sphinx of Giza

    Gary Glassman

    Gary Glassman, Executive Producer, is a seasoned veteran of the entertainment industry with nearly four decades of experience. His inclusive storytelling approach is born of a unique entry point into the film industry – through the world of street and circus performing. Glassman founded Providence Pictures in 1996. He has since made over 60 films for the world’s leading broadcasters and been honored with the industry’s most prestigious awards.
  • Daniel Golding

    Daniel Golding (Quechan), Series Producer/Director, is a traditional singer and is involved in master apprentice language revitalization. He graduated in 2000 from San Francisco State University receiving a BA in Film Production and American Indian Studies. He founded Hokan Media LLC in 1997 to produce social issue documentary and narrative films and teach digital filmmaking to at-risk youth. His award-winning films have screened both nationally on PBS and internationally.


Reception: 6:00-6:45

Seated program and Film screening: 6:45-7:55

Panel discussion 7:55-8:40