PeggyScott-Interview 4811The life stories of four Navajo elders are featured in student-made documentary films to be premiered at Winona State University at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10, in the auditorium of the Science Laboratory Center.

Eleven WSU mass communication students collaborated with six students from Diné College, the tribal college of the Navajo Nation, to research, interview, photograph and video record Navajo elders over a 19-day period in May-June 2015. The students, participating in the 2015 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 documentaries were part of a collaborative project led by Dr. Tom Grier and Robbie Christiano of WSU and Dr. Miranda Haskie of Diné College. The WSU students stayed at Diné College’s main campus in Tsaile, Ariz., while working on their projects. This is the sixth year of the Navajo Oral History Project.

Student teams completed service projects for the elders and interviewed the elders several times. They also interviewed family members and did background research while on the Navajo Nation.

This year’s films focus on Louva Dahozy a community leader, educator and broadcaster from Ft. Defiance, Ariz.; Tony Goldtooth Sr., a Navajo language and culture professor from Shiprock, N.M.; Peggy Scott, a retired teacher and community activist from Chinle, Ariz., and Bill Toledo, a Navajo Code Talker during World War II, from Torreon, N.M.

The premiere will include comments from faculty and students from both WSU and Diné College. Light refreshments will be served before the presentation of the films.

The reception and premiere event is free and open to the public.

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 at

The Winona State University students involved in the 2015 Navajo Oral History Project are Jordan Gerard (Spring Grove, Minn.), Jacob Hilsabeck (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.), Reagan Johnson (Randolph, Wis.) Kacie Mann (Maple Grove, Minn.), Tobias Mann (Thief River Falls, Minn.), Nate Nelson (Corvallis, Ore.), Taylor Nyman (Monroe Center, Ill.), Casie Rafferty (Winona, Minn.), Kim Schneider (Roseville, Minn.), Samantha Stetzer (Holmen, Wis.) and Ben Strand (Burnsville, Minn.)

The Diné College students involved in the 2015 Navajo Oral History Project are Kyle Brown (Lukachukai, Ariz.), Kaitlyn Haskie (Lukachukai, Ariz.), Anna Shepherd (Chilchinbeto, Ariz.), Brandon Tayah (Chinle, Ariz.), Stephanie Tsosie (Low Mountain, Ariz.) and Shelly Wheeler (Lukachukai, Ariz.)

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Andrea Northam

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