Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Day 2 of the 2013 Navajo Oral History Project

Today (Tuesday, May 14) was the second day of ITV classes uniting students from Winona State University and Diné College, as they begin planning for their fieldwork interviewing Navajo elders and developing documentary films about the elders' lives.

In today's class, the students got an introduction to interviewing techniques, and a brief overview of best (and worst) practices in video editing.

They also were verbally introduced to the five Navajo elders who have agreed to be a part of the summer project. For now, the names of the elders are not being released out of respect for their privacy.  Once the students have been introduced to the elders and begin their work, the identities of the elders will become apparent here on the blog.

At the end of today's ITV session, Teaching Assistant Robbie Christiano, and Skylar Ogren, one of the students, did a walkthrough and tutorial on how to use the new high-resolution video cameras for their interviews.

In the evening, Tom and Julie Grier hosted a BBQ at their home for all the WSU 2013 Navajo Oral History students. It was an opportunity to bond more as a social group, and to watch a film called "30 Days on the Navajo Reservation" with Morgan Spurlock. The film helps students to prepare a bit for the kind of things they will see and feel while on the reservation.

Most of this year's group was able to attend the BBQ, and we had one party-crasher: Brianna Klapperich, who is an alumna of the Navajo oral History project. She participated in the third year of the project in 2011.

A special thanks to the WSU Mass Communication Department which has supported the Navajo Oral History project over its five-year history by making the department's equipment available to students.  In addition, thanks go to WSU MCOM employees: Doug Westerman, Mike Martin and Ellen Severson, who keep the equipment up-to-date and operational. The Navajo Oral History project couldn't exist without their expert help.

Since thanks are being offered, it's important to also recognize the early and continued support this project has received from the Winona State University Foundation.  The WSU-F's Special Project Grants committee has provided several grants over the years to help fund student travel, research travel and funds for the reception and recognition of the student's hard work.

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