WSU-Navajo Oral History 2013-MacDonald InterviewWinona State University will premiere student-made documentaries featuring the life stories of five Navajo elders at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, in the auditorium of WSU’s Science Laboratory Center.

Fourteen students from the mass communication department collaborated with seven students from Diné College, the tribal college of the Navajo Nation, to conduct research, interview, photograph and video record Navajo elders over an 18-day period in May-June 2013. These students, participating in the 2013 Navajo Oral History project, wrote, edited and produced documentary films that will be archived at the Navajo Nation Museum and Library, as well as at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

The reception and premiere event is free and open to the public. The premiere will include comments from faculty and students from WSU and Diné College. Light refreshments will be served.

The documentaries are part of a collaborative project that has been led by mass communication professor Tom Grier and graduate student Robbie Christiano of Winona State and professor Miranda Haskie of Diné College for the past five years.

This year’s films focus on Jake Livingston, a Navajo-Zuni Silversmith from Sanders, Ariz.; Peter McDonald, a Navajo Code Talker during World War II, from Tuba City, Ariz.; Nita Nez, a traditional Navajo rug weaver from Round Rock, Ariz.; Della Toadlena, a retired Diné College English professor from Chinle, Ariz.; and Baje Whitethorne Sr., a world-renowned artist from Flagstaff, Ariz.

Winona State students involved in the 2013 Navajo Oral History Project are: Madison Duncan (Winona, Minn.); Shiloh Gulbranson (Lindstrom, Minn.); Brett Gustafson (Rochester, Minn.); Whitney Harlos (Rochester, Minn.); Tom Hays (Chaska, Minn.); Laura Humes (Mahtomedi, Minn.); Jolene Kuisle (Rochester, Minn.); Adam Maciejczak (Lake City, Minn.); Cara Mannino (Rochester, Minn.); Elise Nelson (Rushford, Minn.); Skylar Ogren (Winona, Minn.); Nik Strand (Blaine, Minn.); Darin Strohmenger (Cedarburg, Wis.); and Danielle Wieczorek (Andover, Minn.).

DVD copies of the student-produced films will be available for sale for $20 each with all proceeds going to a scholarship fund at Diné College

For more information, contact Dr. Tom Grier via email: