Monday, May 25, 2015

NOHP Students Arrive at Diné College

Sunday, May 24, was the first official day of the field work portion of the 2015 Navajo Oral History Project. The day started early with Tom Grier and Chops Hancock leaving the Diné College campus to drive to the Albuquerque Airport to pick up the Winona State University students and project leaders.

It had rained and snowed all night in Tsaile, so the drive was much like driving in a Minnesota blizzard. Because Tsaile is about 7,000 feet in the mountains of northeastern Arizona, it gets snow a few times a year -- but not usually this late in May.

There was about four inches of icy slush in places. Mixed with the red clay-like mud, the snow and ice made the road surface slick and unpredictable. At lower elevation, near Window Rock, Arizona, the snow changed to rain, then the skies cleared for the rest of the four-hour drive to ABQ Airport.

The group of WSU students arrived on time at ABQ. Sadly, the same cannot be said about the flight carrying Robbie Christiano and Skylar Ogren from Denver. Their plane was delayed several times and there was a significant delay with baggage being off-loaded from the plane.

Finally, the whole group together, vehicles were packed with gear and the team headed off to the Navajo Nation. Chops Hancock very kindly treated the entire group of 15 to a nice dinner in Albuquerque. Several hours later, the weary travelers arrived at the Diné College campus and began settling into their residence hall rooms. A couple went right to sleep.

There was much laughter and music in the vehicles during the drive and it's clear the group is becoming a cohesive social unit. It will be fun to watch the group dynamics change and grow over the next few weeks.

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