Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 9 – Class, B-Roll and BBQ

(no professorial soap box tonight...)

This is the beginning of our second and final week on campus here at Diné College for the 2010 Navajo Oral History project.

Today (Monday, May 24) was a class and lab work day. We started the morning in the classroom, debriefing the second interviews with the featured elders, and planning for the third interviews for later in the week.

We spent some time planning out the schedule for the next few days, and agreeing on a date to meet in early June after the projects are finished. We'll meet via ITV between a classroom in Winona and one in Tsaile, Arizona. That's when we'll all watch the final drafts of each project and offer peer evaluation and constructive critique.

The groups will have one additional week to make final adjustments and get the ready-to-publish pieces to me by June 15. I'll get them duplicated and packaged, then begin planning Premiere Receptions for fall, after the school semester begins. Just like last year, we'll try to have student members of both colleges travel to both locations for the receptions to signify the extreme teamwork that went into these projects.

Before class ended today, WSU student Ben Chambers gave us all a tutorial in how to edit video and audio in Final Cut Express a high-end piece of software on the Mac. Sawyer Derry also added to that tutorial. We all learned some valuable tips and tricks in this session.

(above three photos by Michael Ruka)

After class, most students were busy editing images and video, or transcribing the interviews. Transcribing ordinarily isn't a difficult process, but for these interviews it is much more time-consuming because the speakers are sometimes mixing between two languages, speaking quietly, or pausing frequently to formulate their thoughts. It usually takes about three hours to transcribe one hour of video. It's taking nearly twice that long for most of our interviews of Navajo elders.

After lunch, a few of us took a ride in the van on what we called our B-Roll Expedition. We drove north of Tsaile a few miles to gather some great video footage of the Lukachukai Mountains (part of the Chuska Mountain Range), and of the famous Shiprock formation just over the border into New Mexico.

(above photo by Jenn Westman)

(above photo by Michael Ruka)

(above photo by Jenn Westman)

When everyone gathered back in the residence hall hogan, we loaded up in the van and drove out to Wheatfields Lake park where Miranda and Vernon Haskie and their family hosted our group (both WSU and DC students) for an excellent barbecue supper including mutton steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, beans, pickles, corn, bacon-wrapped asparagus tips, etc. It was a great time of food, fun and friendship, with much talking, music and laughter.

(above photo of Carl Haskie by Robbie Christiano)

(above photo of Ben Haskie by Michael Ruka)

(above two photos by Sawyer Derry)

(above two photos of Sawyer "Monkey Boy" Derry by Robbie Christiano)

(above photos by Brianna Klapperich)

(above two photos by Jenn Westman)

(above photo by Robbie Christiano)

Even though we're all crossing some difficult cultural borders for this project, I can say that the students in the WSU group feel very welcome here at Diné College, and they know that their work is valued and appreciated.

Below are more pictures from the day's activities. Wow, I'm very impressed with the quality of photos these students are creating. Not just the candid journalistic photos for our projects... They're really "seeing" life and art mixing here and they are painting beautiful images with light and their cameras.

As always, thanks for reading.

-- Tom Grier

(above three photos by Michael Ruka)

(above photo by Jenn Westman)

(above two photos by Brianna Klapperich)

(above photo by Robbie Christiano)

(above photo by Sawyer Derry)

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