Production wraps in Oklahoma on new animated series in Cherokee Language

OKLAHOMA CITY — Cherokee Nation and FireThief Productions, in association with the Oklahoma Film + Music Office (OF+MO), announced the end of production of “ᎢᎾᎨᎢ,” pronounced “Inage’i”, which translates to “In The Woods,” an original animated series for children performed entirely in the Cherokee language.

“Inage’i” follows the adventures of four animal friends who live together in the forests of Turtle Island. Iga Daya’i, the mischievous rabbit; Juksvsgi, the gruff wolf; Anawegi, the conscientious deer; and Kvliwohi, the wise bear, are characters drawn from the rich Cherokee storytelling tradition.

“Our goal is to create a series that will compete with today’s popular cartoons, while at the same time conveying an authentic Cherokee worldview,” said co-creator Jeremy Charles of FireThief.

Artist Roy Boney Jr. interpreted the timeless characters in a contemporary style. 

"From their clothing and accessories, the tattoo-like markings on their fur, and even their dwelling spaces — everything is based in Cherokee culture,” Boney said. “Those elements were incorporated into an animation style that someone would see on mainstream movies or television."

FireThief, in close collaboration with Cherokee Language Masters Apprentice Program, assembled an all-Oklahoma team to create the pilot episode. Creative Filter will bring Boney’s artwork to life while composer Kawnar collaborates with Cherokee musicians, the Cherokee Youth Choir and vocalist Cora Flute, who wrote and performed the lyrics to the theme song. Harry Oosahwee, Betty Frogg, Lauren Hummingbird and Schon Duncan are cast as voice actors. Translations for the project were provided by the tribe’s Cherokee translation team.

“Cherokee communities saw a sweeping decline in Cherokee language usage among young children when television programming entered the homes of our rural communities,” said Howard Paden, executive director of the tribe’s Cherokee Language Department. “This animation project, like others, will use the same technology to bring the language back into the home. Now, young Cherokee children will be able to enjoy cartoons in Cherokee.”

For information about the Oklahoma Film Enhancement Rebate Program: okfilmmusic.org.

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