Navajo Indians (1939)

Major themes briefly covered: Daily life, rug weaving, social life, courtship, wedding customs, sheepherding, preparing food, harvesting corn, carding and spinning wool, rug weaving, trade, silversmithing, social dances, and constructing a hogan.
Cultural Narrative: 

Narration #1 by Natasha Goldtooth, student at Diné College in 2019. Facilitated by Rhiannon Sorrell, Instructor & Librarian at Diné College.

Language of narration primarily English.


Narration #2 by Lorencita and Tyrell Willie, students at Diné College in 2019. Facilitated by Rhiannon Sorrell, Instructor and librarian at Diné College.

Language of narration primarily English, with some Diné Bizaad.


Wide shot of three people on horseback right on foothills of giant rocky plateaus; four Navajo men riding towards the camera, plateaus in background; another of them passing R-L past camera; a young man identified as Toska on his horse, black button-up shirt and hat; a young female shepherd identified as Alnaba standing with her sheep (dibé) and goat herd, plateaus behind; the girl; back to Toska, smiling, and another rider;  Alnaba smiling; back to Toska; back to Alnaba; Alnaba and another little girl, identified as her sister, herding; herding into a three-wall coral at the edge of a cliff; wide shot from below the cliff where the herd is standing;  a hogan on cleared land, smoke coming out the top; interior of two women seated on the floor, one is slicing fat off a raw piece of mutton while the other flours a piece of meat in a metal bowl; a little girl seated on the floor holding a doll, a baby strapped into a cradleboard, and their father in button-down shirt and headscarf mending a leather saddle; Alnaba seated on floor next to metal pots and bowls, flipping and stretching bread dough into a flat disk between her hands; her hands placing the dough into a cast iron skillet over a wire grid on an open fire adjacent to a metal heating stove; Toska pulling cobs of corn (naadą́ą́ʼ) in a field, hills behind; walking over to place them in a large pile; Toska and a woman shucking a large pile of corn from their husks as a horse and wagon pull up alongside; a man with short hair, button-up shirt and headscarf on a horse speaking to them in Navajo (Diné, dubbed); back to Tosk and the woman shucking; interior shot of Alnaba, seated, spinning strands of wool onto a spindle (bee adizí) while her little sister cards raw wool/aghaaʼ, scraping it with big spiked paddles; closer views of the carding and spinning and stretching/twisting into finer yarn; Alnaba smiling at her sister; Alnaba weaving at a loom (dah iistłʼǫ́), inside, with her sister next to her working winding a ball of wool; closers view of weaving action; through the loom from behind, showing Alnaba's face as she works; Alnaba at the counter in a trading post piling her arms with fabric, a small white bag, a can of baking powder and a block of coffee from disembodied hands; back to from behind the loom; hogan and another open-air sun shelter (Chaha’oh), hillside behind, Toska rides up on horseback;  Toska squatting down and addressing a silversmith (béésh łigaii ííłʼíní) working outside, another man seated against the hogan behind;  the smith's face and then his hands working on a small horseshoe pendant; Toska smiling; Toska being handed the completed squash-blossom design silver necklace, smiling; Toska unfolds a blanket and a deerskin and hands it to the smith who looks them over; Alnaba loosening the straps on a cradleboard and picks up the baby from it; evening shot of a group walking in a circle, wagon and horses nearby, plateaus in background (music dubbed over); four Navajo men singing, one beating a small drum (dubbed); a group of women of various ages sitting on ground, wrapped in blankets; Alnaba and another girl;  Toska and two other boys riding up on horseback, stopping in area with parked wagons and dismount, walk off; back to group of women, focus on Alnaba smiling; Toska, smiling and other two looking; back to Alnaba and other girl who get up; the girls walking through dancing couples toward the boys; walking up to Toska in a group of awaiting boys; Toska and Alnaba walk away together; the dancing pairs; Toska and Alnaba dancing in the circle; closer shots of them and dancing feet; Alnaba's mother's hogan and hillsides/plateau in background panning over to a new hogan being built: men sawing wood, chopping, placing wooden logs; her father pointing and addressing the other men in Navajo (Diné Bizaad, dubbed);  men working; many people arriving on foot, in wagons and on horseback to Alnaba's mother's hogan; two men retrieving white sacks of flour from a wagon and walking off, then of two men lifting a side/quarter of beef out of a wagon; the people entering the hogan, some with gifts, men and horses outside; interior three women slicing the large quarter of beef, placing dough into skillet and pouring from a kettle, as a man sits and watches; back to people and a dogs entering the hogan;  a woman pouring corn pollen (táádidíín) mush from a tin can into a woven bowl; a group of men, seated, looking in same direction as a woman bends over placing bowls of and other containers in front; Alnaba holding out half of a hollow-ed gourd that another pours water into with a clay pitcher; Toska washing his hands as Alnaba pours water from the gourd over;  a group of women and girls watching, a little girl smiling; Toska holding up the gourd as a woman pours in water; pouring them over Alnaba's hands as she washes; the group of women looking on, metal dishes and containers in front; Alnaba's father sitting across from Toska, addressing them in Navajo (Diné, dubbed); Toska's face, then looking left; Alnaba's face; Toska picking up pollen mush with his fingers and eating it, smiling; Alnaba doing same; their hands picking mush from the part of the bowl facing east; alternating shots of them eating and looking at each other; their hands each picking meal from the center of the bowl; men looking on and then the men in front begin to serve the meal placed before them, handing back food to those behind; back to the group of when doing the same, dipping metal cups into a bucket of coffee; wagons of people pulling away from the hogan, dogs following; end credit.

Toska, Alnaba

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