Friday, February 27, 2015

2015 Navajo Oral History Project Begins

Eleven students and two faculty members from Winona State University (Winona, Minnesota) are getting ready for a summer documentary journalism course that takes place on the Navajo Nation, located in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico.

The WSU group met during the third week of February 2015 to begin paperwork and planning for the 2015 Navajo Oral History Project. This is the sixth year of the successful collaboration with Diné College, the tribal college of the Navajo Nation.

The WSU group will meet their Diné College counterparts via Interactive Television classes during the third week of May. Then, the WSU group travels to the Navajo Nation where they will spend three weeks learning together and working in teams with Diné College students on their documentary film projects.

Four student teams will do a service project for a Navajo elder (cleaning a garage, raking a garden, etc.) and then will interview the elder three times over two weeks. The students will photograph, video record, and audio record the interviews and will gather other video and photographs to complement their project. The teams will review all their source material and build 20-minute "Living History" films about each elder's life.

The class is designed to give students real-world experience in all facets of journalism, and help prepare them for career positions in the media after they graduate.

Each student will get copies of their completed films. Copies are also given to the elders and their families. The films will be archived at the Navajo Nation Museum and Library, and at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of the American Indian.

The Winona State University students who are participating, their majors, and their hometowns, are:
- Jordan Gerard, Journalism, Spring Grove, Minnesota
- Jacob Hilsabeck, Photojournalism, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
- Reagan Johnson, Transmedia, Columbus, Wisconsin
- Kacie Mann, Public Relations, Maple Grove, Minnesota
- Tobias Mann, Journalism, Thief River Falls, Minnesota
- Nathaniel Nelson, Journalism, Buffalo, Minnesota
- Taylor Nyman, Photography & Digital Imaging, Monroe Center, Illinois
- Casie Rafferty, Journalism, Winona, Minnesota
- Kim Schneider, Journalism, Roseville, Minnesota
- Samantha Stetzer, Journalism, Holmen, Wisconsin
- Ben Strand, Journalism, Burnsville, Minnesota

The two WSU faculty members of this project are:
- Tom Grier, professor of mass communication
- Robbie Christiano, director of development

During the class and field-work portion of the project, this blog will serve as a daily journal highlighting the activities of the student journalists in words and pictures.  In future updates to the blog, the students an faculty from Diné College will be introduced.