Monday, July 20, 2009

Final Drafts of Documentary Projects

Today (Monday, July 20), most of our class was able to meet in Winona, and connect with our colleagues in Tsaile, Arizona, via Interactive Television. We discussed each group's projects, made sure we had all release forms, rights forms and documentation. Then we looked at several of the projects that are near completion.

We saw several videos and some Soundslides projects which combine natural audio, music, text and still photographs into a multi-media presentation.

Wow! The projects are amazing. Thoughtful and insightful. After watching the pieces, we all felt we knew the elders featured a little better.

After we watched each piece, everyone offered constructive criticism. Only minor things need to be done to a few pieces; things like minor adjustments to sound volume or increasing the size of photo captions to ensure they are readable.

I know many blog readers are eager to see the results of the student's hard work. You'll get to see the projects as soon as possible. We still have an approval hurdle or two to clear before that can happen.

As part of seeking official clearance to do these projects on the Navajo Nation, we committed to show the projects to the Navajo Nation Human Research Review Board prior to any publishing.

The students will make final changes and edits to their pieces in the next couple weeks. Then, we'll take a week or so to prepare the packages that gather all the pieces into one easily-viewed DVD. We'll send copies of the DVD to the Tribal headquarters. It will take some time for the members of the HRRB to review all the materials. Professor Miranda Haskie of Diné College and myself will then appear before the board to hear their comments and seek their clearance.

Then, finally, we'll be able to publish the pieces, host celebration receptions, and give copies of the finished projects to the elders and their families.

We plan to publish the pieces on the WSU Mass Communication department's web site: They'll also be given to Diné College, The Navajo Times, The Winona Daily News, The Navajo Nation Museum, and the Navajo Nation Library.

The students involved in this program have worked hard, from their initial research during spring semester well before our class began meeting, to the in-the-field interviews, and finally dozens and dozens of hours of transcribing, organizing, editing and producing their documentary projects. Their hard work has paid off... you'll see soon!

Photo by Chops Hancock

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