Monday, May 31, 2010

Return Drive Day 2

I spent nearly the whole day in the van (Monday, May 31, 2010). I left Lamar, Colorado, at about 8 a.m., and ended up stopping in a small town between Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, at 10 p.m.

This leaves me about 7 or 8 hours of driving for tomorrow and I'll be home in Winona Tuesday evening. I'll unload all the gear and return the rental van. Then, I'll get organized so I can meet with the students for our Friday morning, June 4, class.

No photos to publish today, though I did take a few neat pictures of some historic old courthouses in small towns across Kansas and Nebraska.

I thought I would share a few of the comments I've received from Winona State University students who participated in the 2010 Navajo Oral History program at Diné College. I asked the students to spend a few minutes after they got home to think about what they learned, what they experience, and what the journey meant to them. I asked them to write a couple sentences of reflection and email them to me.

I haven't heard from them all yet. Below, I'm posting the ones I have received.

I'm really looking forward to seeing/hearing what the students teams have put together.
Thanks for reading,

-- Tom Grier

2010 Navajo Oral History Project Student Reflections:

Over the past two weeks I have had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people and experience a region/culture that I have never had the opportunity to experience. Not only did I see tons of cool sights, but I was also to take more than 1,000 photos of all these new experiences. Out of all this, meeting John Kinsel, Sr. was the most interesting. That man can talk for hours and has an incredible life story. It was a joy to hear ~5 hours of this life tale, and I am looking forward to compiling the many photos, video clips and sound bites into a finished project in this coming week. Hopefully John will enjoy what our group is able to put together.

-- Michael A. Ruka

Looking back on this trip, I wouldn’t change much at all. With the small group of people we were able to become very close over the two week period. Every person was dedicated to the project which made a great work environment. Learning about another culture inside our own was an eye opener for me. I’ve always been interested in traveling but now I realize that I don’t have to go outside of the country to learn new ways of life. This travel study put together most everything I could have asked for: hiking, camping, taking photographs, and meeting new people.

Thanks for a great experience Tom Grier!

-- Brianna Klapperich

The trip to the Navajo Reservation couldn't have gone any smoother. The hiking and camping at Lettie Nave's was probably my favorite part. The people I met were so welcoming and the landscape there was so beautiful. Interviewing a Navajo code talker was a once in a lifetime experience, hearing his stories first-hand rather than in a history class gave me a new perspective. I think that because we had such a small group I got to know each person really well, I fee like I've known them for more than the two weeks, they are my new "res" friends. All in all, it was a great experience. I did many things out of my comfort zone and enjoyed every minute of it.

-- Jennifer Westman

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