Puppetry and Preservation

Children's show helps preserve Mohawk language and culture

Revitalizing Kanien’kehá:ka on Public Access Children's TV

Tóta Tánon Ohkwá:ri, a children’s TV show produced entirely in Kanien’kehá:ka, has been broadcasting on public access television on the Mohawk Nation territory of Kahnawà:ke for more than a decade.

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The show, which includes live-action puppetry and animation, tells the story of Bear, a boy who learns about his community's traditions through the guidance of his Grandmother. There's also talking corn, squash and peas. It's pretty great.

But behind the felt and fun, with fewer than 200 Kanien’kehá:ka speakers out of a population of 8000 on Kahnawà:ke, there is an urgency to the show's mission.

In this conversation, Ricochet’s Yasmin Hotter Yishay speaks with Tóta Tánon Ohkwá:ri’s lead director and puppeteer Konwanénhon Marion Delaronde about her 13 years with the show and what her work has taught her about the importance of language preservation efforts.

For new and archived episodes of Tóta Tánon Ohkwá:ri, subscribe to the Kanien’kehá:ka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Center channel on Youtube.

Be sure to subscribe on iTunes to get every episode delivered straight to your devices.

Click here to download the podcast.

Listen to "Puppetry and Preservation: Revitalizing Kanien’kehá:ka on Public Access Children's TV" on Spreaker.

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