Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Navajo Oral History Films Premiere at Dine' College

The 2011 Navajo Oral History project documentary films were premiered on Monday, Oct. 10, at Diné College's Tsaile, Arizona, campus.

Six Winona State University students and their professor, Tom Grier, flew from Minnesota to Albuquerque to participate in the premiere and reception event. The six WSU students who traveled to Diné College were: Josh Averbeck, Robbie Christiano, Dave Dvorak, Alex Fisher, Alyssa Reimers, and Michael Ruka. WSU student Molly Golden participated in the summer Navajo Oral History project, but was unable to attend the reception in Arizona.

While at Diné College, the WSU students sat in on a couple DC classes and then got ready for the reception and premiere.

On Monday evening, the students from both DC and WSU who collaborated this past summer to create the documentary films, hosted the reception for the films. More than 100 people attend the reception event which included a traditional Navajo dinner of mutton stew and fry bread.

Following dinner, DC faculty member Dr. Miranda Haskie, started the program, followed by inspirational words from Diné College President Maggie George. Each film was shown followed by the participating students speaking briefly about their experiences. Two of the Navajo elders who were featured in the films were present-- Mitzie Begay and Harold Morgan-- and spoke about their participation.

On Tuesday, the WSU students enjoyed a workshop on Navajo silversmithing presented by Vernon Haskie of Lukachukai, Arizona.

The WSU group stopped to see many views of Canyon Del Muerto and Canyon de Chelly from the overlooks on their way to Chinle, Arizona.

On Wednesday, on their way back to the airport, the WSU group stopped at the Navajo Nation's Window Rock Tribal Park.

They also did a short hike at Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque.

Now that the receptions premiering the 2011 films are complete, the short media feature versions of the films will be made available for streaming viewing via the WSU Mass Communication department's laboratory web site: Winona360.org. The documentary films are also being archived at the Navajo Nation Museum, Navajo Nation Library, and at the libraries of both Diné College and Winona State University.

Plans are already underway for the 2012 Navajo Oral History project, the fourth year of this on-going collaboration between Winona State University and Diné College. The project will cover 18 days during June 2012 and will carry three college credits through Diné College's Social and Behavioral Sciences Dept.

Students interested in participating in 2012 should contact Dr. Tom Grier at Winona State University (tgrier@winona.edu) or Dr. Miranda Haskie and Diné College (mhaskie@dinecollege.edu).

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