NEW TOWN, N.D. – Three members of the Three Affiliated Tribes were recently selected to participate in the Historical Listening Tour 2009 by Red Warrior Films out of Frisco, Texas. Edwin Benson, Mandan Tribal elder; Cory Spotted Bear, Mandan language advocate and Alyssa Alberts, Miss Indian Nations XVI and Arikara language advocate, were selected during the American Indian Society Inaugural Powwow in Washington, D.C. to participate in the film documentary.
The purpose of the listening tour is to document interviews for cultural preservation and to provide content for future dramatic feature films with theatrical release.
Benson, of Twin Buttes, spoke on the significance of Mandan language preservation/revitalization during his interview, as Benson is the single-last fluent speaker of the Mandan language for the Three Affiliated Tribes. He retired after several years of teaching the Mandan language at the Twin Buttes elementary and middle schools, and the Fort Berthold Community College-Twin Buttes satellite location.
Benson has been working closely with Spotted Bear, of Twin Buttes, in Mandan language programming, preservation and further curriculum development. Spotted Bear has been working with Benson to learn Mandan words and phrases and feels it is important to have the language preserved and available for the people of the Three Tribes.
Alberts is the reigning Miss Indian Nations XVI and is also passionate about tribal language issues. When she ran for the Miss Indian Nations title she promoted the significance of culture and language preservation pertaining to Native youth interests. She has completed language courses at the collegiate level for both Arikara I and Arikara II, and during her interview session, expressed the importance of Native youth involvement in revitalizing and ensuring the continuance of Native languages.
The Historical Listening Tour 2009 kicked off in January at the American Indian Society Inaugural Powwow and will continue through November 2009, and development of the Red Warrior Films’ 2009 project will begin in early 2010.