Saturday, November 14, 2009

Navajo Oral History Reception at WSU

Four guests from Diné College of the Navajo Nation spent Friday (Nov. 13) in Minnesota seeing sights between the Minneapolis airport and Winona, touring the Winona State University campus, speaking to a journalism class, and being a part of a reception honoring student-created documentary journalism projects.

Dr. Miranda Haskie, a faculty member at Diné College, led the group which included Diné students Derrick Harvey, Larissa Jimmy, and Krystle Sorrell. The guests enjoyed a brief visit to the Mall of America and were impressed by the Mississippi River. They heard the story of Princess Wenonah and Maiden Rock. They said they were inspired by the beautiful view of the river and the city of Winona from Garvin Heights.

While on campus, they were interviewed by journalism students in Prof. Drake Hokanson's News Writing class and then toured the WSU Mass Communication department facilities including KQAL, the campus radio station, studios, and the TV studio.

In the evening, the Diné College guests joined the group of WSU students they worked closely with this past summer, to host a reception and premiere of the Oral History projects that were the result of collaborative teamwork.

More than 100 people were present to view the projects and hear the students talk about the experience of meeting the elders, working with them, and faithfully recording their life stories.

(Photo of the Reception in WSU's East Hall by Chops Hancock.)

Several of the projects are available for viewing on the WSU Mass Communication department's Lab web site: All of the projects will be archived permanently at the Navajo Nation Museum and Navajo Nation Library, as well as at the libraries of Diné College and Winona State University.

Seven students and two faculty from Winona State are traveling to Arizona this weekend to host a second reception on Monday evening at 5:30 p.m. at Diné College.

Organizers of this project gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Winona State University Foundation and the Winona State University Student Senate in helping to fund the travel and planing of these receptions.

Thanks also to all the students, faculty and employees of both institutions that helped make this important project a reality.

(Group Photo by WSU student Kali Kotz.)

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