Friday, June 22, 2012

Day 18 - Hagonee'

Navajos generally don't like to say goodbye.  It seems too final or perhaps sad.  In keeping with the Navajo concept of balance and fresh starts each day, they say "Hagonee'" which is the traditional way of saying something like "until we meet again."

Today (Thursday, June 21), the 2012 Navajo Oral History project students from Winona State University packed up all their gear and drove from Tsaile, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation to the Albuquerque airport to prepare for their flights home. 

Before we left the Diné College campus, the WSU students gathered in front of the Ned Hatathli Center (the main administration building at DC) for a group photo that says "Hagonee'" to the place that has been home for nearly three weeks. (Photo by James McKenzie)

There were hugs with Diné College students James McKenzie and Shawn Tsosie who showed up early to see the WSU Group off.

On the way to the airport, the group stopped by the Chester and Mike Nez home in Albuquerque to visit with Chester, who is the last of the Original 29 Navajo Code Talkers.  The group that has worked for the past few weeks on a documentary about Chester's  life and service wanted a chance to visit him one more time and to say "Hagonee'" to Chester and his family.  They plan to see him again in early October for the reception and premiere of his film, and the films of the other Navajo elders studied this summer.


The WSU group was then taken to the airport where one rental van was returned and all their gear was transferred to the one large van returning to Minnesota. The students were dropped at the airport terminal to meet their planes. Prof. Tom Grier and Teaching Assistant Robbie Christiano began the long drive home. 

The whole group-- both WSU and Diné College students-- will meet again via ITV on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week to look at drafts and to finalize their documentary films. 

The professional way in which these student journalists worked with each other in small groups over the past several weeks virtually ensures the documentaries will be well-done and will tell the life stories of some amazing Navajo elders.