Emergence Magazine

Language Keepers Podcast Series

an Emergence Magazine production

Adapted from our award-winning multimedia story, “Language Keepers,” this six-part podcast series explores the struggle for Indigenous language survival in California. Two centuries ago, as many as ninety languages and three hundred dialects were spoken in California; today, only half of these languages remain. In this series, we delve into the current state of four Indigenous languages which are among the most vulnerable in the world: Tolowa Dee-ni’, Karuk, Wukchumni, and Kawaiisu. Along this journey, we meet and learn from dedicated families and communities across the state who are working to revitalize their Native languages and cultures in order to pass them on to the next generation.

Director & Producer

Adam Loften is a filmmaker and producer of documentary films, virtual reality experiences, and podcasts. His work has been nominated for Emmy and Peabody Awards and featured on PBS, National Geographic, The Atlantic, and The New York Times.


Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee is an Emmy- and Peabody Award–nominated filmmaker and a Sufi teacher. His films include: Earthrise, Sanctuaries of Silence, The Atomic Tree, Counter Mapping, Marie’s Dictionary, and Elemental. His films have been screened at New York Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW, and Hot Docs, exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum, and featured on PBS POV, National Geographic, and New York Times Op-Docs. He is the founder and executive editor of Emergence Magazine.


Produced in partnership with Advocates for Indigenous California Language Survival.

Directed by Adam Loften
Co-Direction of episode 4 by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Produced by Adam Loften & Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Edited by Adam Loften
Narrated by Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Original music by Matthew Atticus Berger & H. Scott Salinas
Written by Adam Loften, Chelsea Steinauer-Scudder, & Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee
Sound mix and design by D. Chris Smith
Sound recording by Ben Sutineau
Production assistance by Devin Tellatin

This series would not have been possible without the collaboration and support of the Tolowa Dee-ni’, Karuk, Wukchumni, and Kawaiisu communities featured in this podcast.

Language Keepers
Related Feature

Language Keepers

an Emergence Magazine Production Open story

This six-part multimedia experience shares the stories of four Indigenous communities in California who are revitalizing their languages.

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