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Jeremy Dutcher on revitalizing endangered language through music (Rebroadcast)

Jeremy Dutcher's first album earned him the top Canadian prize for album of the year. It was sung totally in his native, endangered tongue.
Jeremy Dutcher's first album earned him the top Canadian prize for album of the year. It was sung totally in his native, endangered tongue.

Jeremy Dutcher is a Wolastoqiyik member of Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada. His community’s native language is endangered. He’s one of less than a thousand speakers.

Dutcher’s first album, sung totally in Wolastoqey, was a surprise hit, earning him the Polaris Prize, an honor given to the best Canadian album of the year.

Five years later, he has a new record: Motewolonuwok. This time, he sings in both Wolastoqey and English.

We talk to Jeremy about why music is central to language revitalization.

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Avery Jessa Chapnick