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Super Bowl half-time show to feature Diné sign language interpreter

Courtesy Lyle Begay

During this weekend’s Super Bowl in Glendale a member of the Navajo Nation will use North American Indian Sign Language to perform the song America the Beautiful.

Colin Denny, a research assistant at the University of Arizona’s College of Education, hopes his performance will raise awareness about Native Americans with hearing impairments and North American Indian Sign Language It’s a broad term used to describe sign languages used by dozens of Indigenous tribes for centuries.

Denny was born in Shiprock, New Mexico and grew up in Pinon, Arizona. He says at the time there were no sign language interpreters in Navajo public schools. In 8th grade he transferred to the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind in Tucson.

Denny later attended Gallaudet University, a bilingual institution promoting the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through ASL and English.