This fall, the students celebrated together on both campuses, to honor the elders and premiere the completed films.
From October 7-9, several students from Diné College travelled to Winona with their faculty leader, Dr. Miranda Haskie. While in Minnesota, they spent a couple hours at the Mall of America, then drove the Great River Road along the Mississippi River to enjoy the beauty of the river and the gorgeous fall color.
(Ernestine Sanisya at the Maiden Rock turnout overlooking the Mississippi River.)
(Altyn Burnside reads the legend of The Maiden at the Maiden Rock turnout overlooking the Mississippi River.)
(Miranda Haskie, Altyn Burnside, Shaina Nez, Ernestine Sanisya, Revaline Nez, and Tom Grier; photo by Kaitlyn Haskie)
The Diné College guests sat in on a journalism class at Winona State where they were interviewed about the Oral History project. They also stopped at the WSU Bookstore for some shopping for souvenirs of their trip to Minnesota.
During the day, they enjoyed a quick lunch at the Nelson Cheese Shop in Nelson, Wis., and a snack at the famous Bloedow's bakery in Winona. They also enjoyed the stunning overview of Winona and the Mississippi River valley from Garvin Heights in Winona.
In the evening of Friday, Oct. 8, the students and their families, friends and community members came together to watch the finished video documentaries in a lecture hall at Winona State University. The students each spoke about their involvement in the project and what it has meant to them from an education standpoint, and from the view of preparing for a career after graduation.
(Shaina Nez, Altyn Burnside, Ben Chambers)
(Revaline Nez, Jennifer Westman, Michael Ruka)
(Ernestine Sanisya, Brianna Klapperich, Sawyer Derry)
(Kelly Sharratt, Robbie Christiano)
(The WSU-Diné College Navajo Oral History group; photo by Kaitlyn Haskie)
After the reception, the Diné College group headed back to the Twin Cities where they stayed near the airport to catch an early flight home to Arizona. Along the way, Altyn Burnside stopped at Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minn., to offer a prayer and fill a bottle with Mississippi River water to take home with him.
Plans are already in the works for the 2011 Navajo Oral History project which will take place over a two-week period in June 2011, again pairing students from Diné College and Winona State University in teams to interview Navajo elders and produce documentaries about their lives. Those interested in participating in the 2011 project should contact either Dr. Miranda Haskie at Diné College or Dr. Tom Grier at Winona State University.
(All photos by Tom Grier unless otherwise noted.)