The Navajo Moves Into The Electronic Age (ca.1968)

Survey of modern conveniences and amenities to be found on the reservation, including Navajo/Diné-owned businesses, boarding schools, soldiers and Boy Scouts, art classes, public ceremonies, and the newly opened General Dynamics Navajo Facility.
Cultural Narrative: 

Narrated by Michael Parrish from the Diné Policy Institute, Diné College, in 2019. Facilitated by Rhiannon Sorrell, Instructor and librarian at Diné College. Listen to him introducing himself here.

Language of narration is primarily English. There is also a related lesson plan developed and written by Rhiannon Sorrell.


Camera zooms out from aerial shot of a hogan and another shelter, then a canyon before cutting to a desert landscape and sky/clouds; then rock formation in silhouette against the sky at dusk; legs and desert boots stopping at a fire, nighttime; silhouette in profile of a young Navajo man raising a bow and flaming arrow; missile shooting in same direction from a ship as dusk, camera follows it up into the sky; opening credit with title and illustration of Navajo symbol; Canyon de Chelly walls, caves and Anasazi/Ancestral Pueblo ruins (Mummy Cave?), views of the dwellings and canyon cliff sides; pictographs of animals and other graphics on canyon walls; a pictograph horse, other animals and people some perhaps with guns; Gerald Nailor's mural (Navajo Nation Council Chamber) that shows vignettes of Navajo activities and with U.S military soldiers, including the signing of what may be the Treaty of Bosque Redondo, and a Navajo man with a sign "Reorganization Act 1932";  the mural and walls; an oil derrick drilling; an oil refinery at dusk; interior of Navajo Nation Council Chamber with men seated in rows of metal tanker desks, blackboards around the room (with murals), people on raised platform in front; series of of men speaking and smoking, listening, writing; room;  older be-speckled man (Raymond Nakai?), Navajo Tribal Chairman, at desk on platform; a be-speckled woman (Annie Dodge Wauneka) reading from papers in her hands;  a service vehicle with "U.S. Indian Service Road" on the side, the tire; road clearing trucks driving past camera; a car pulling up to the U.S. Department of Health, Education, Welfare, Public Health Service Indian Health Hospital; the sign up to some windows; a hospital/azeeʼálʼį́ room, a nurse tends to a patient's sheet; sign on Many Farms School (U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs) building; white road sign with "Greasewood Brdg. [Boarding] School, 23 Miles" and an arrow pointing left, brushy field behind; brown sign hanging from a building, "Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs Toyei School, 3/12 Miles" and an arrow pointing right; red sign with two posts and boards, "Kinlichee Boarding School, Bureau of Indian Affairs"; a group of yellow buildings, open brush on all sides; car pulling into Shiprock Boarding School (New Mexico) driveway, ends on sign for administration office; girl climbing up a metal pole; playground as a woman watches over five little boys playing near a swing set with a ball, buildings behind, the boys run off; interior  a woman teacher standing before a semi-circle of small children, the fall behind has pictures and the words "English is our ____"; a few children each standing up to respond to the teacher; extreme the teacher speaking; the teacher spreading her arms out and the children standing in a line doing same as they walk around flapping them like birds;  a male teacher pointing to words (about science) on a chalkboard at the front of a classroom; adolescent students (8th graders) in rows of desks reading books and writing; girl's face smiling and then working; a young man getting into the driver's seat of a car, people in back seat; the front of the car with yellow "Student Driver" sign as he backs up onto road and drives off past a building (a high school?); interiors of a classroom with college students working at desks and at the board, female professor in front; female student holding up her hand; her joining two male students at the board; close-up from behind of her writing "leisure" onto a word diagram on the board; Navajo Nation Council Chamber again, people seated at desks and up front, a man is standing and reading from documents; another speaking; man speaking; a man in profile, another behind, reading; a man reading papers, his cowboy hat on the desk; aerial shot of Navajo Mine; sign "Navajo Mine, Utah Construction & Mining Co.", piles rock behind; sign that reads "Navajo Tribal Utilities Authority -- Utilities for the Navajo Nation"; extreme a refinery next to a body of water, smoke billowing; power lines and transformers at dusk; a car parked next to a building, camera closes in on a red sign "Navajo Housing Authority", snow on ground; sign "Navajo Tribe -- The Navajo Times -- Navajo Land Claim" and an arrow pointing right; red metals above a door that read "The Navajo Legal Aid Service" and "Real Property Management"; interior of a woman seated at a desk as another approaches and sits; one (identified as a nutritionist) hands the other a pamphlet; interior of two men and a woman sitting around a desk, one pointing something out on a pad of paper to the others; the woman gestures and then points to something on the paper; drive-by shot of trees, snow on the ground; tree; pile of cut lumber rolling off a truck; interior of a log moving on a runner, a man in a hard hat seated on a platform running a machine; his face looking around; a man in hard hat running a machine that slices lumber into boards; his face with protective face guard; close-up profile of another man gesturing; a man moving cut timber onto a moving belt; from below of a stack of boards lowered by a forklift; a lumber yard, stacked boards; sign reading "Navajo Pine, Enterprise of the Navajo Tribe, Carpaco Lumber Yard"; aerial shots of lumber yard?; then aerials of another facility, canyons in the distance; aerial and General Dynamics Pomona Navajo Facility (voice changes to recording of Raymond Nakai giving a speech); "General Dynamics Pomona Navajo Facility" sign on building; a seated elder woman;  a group standing along side a white pick-up truck; a group of men in suits (likely General Dynamics), three huddled in middle, two being introduced;  three Navajo Boy Scouts walking down the sidewalk past others;  two Navajo men in hats leaning against a car; back to scouts raising a flag on a flagpole, the American flag rises; General Dynamics and Nakai smiling and cutting a ribbon with a giant scissors, other men in suits alongside; the audience seated in folding chairs, inside the facility; Navajo audience members; Nakai addressing the audience from the long podium decorated with rugs and red/white/blue ribbons, suited men and a beauty queen in a sash seated alongside; Annie Dodge Wauneka seated, listening; a row of men (including Nakai?) looking at papers in hand; work stations behind the audience towards the front; three Navajo people in center of the room divvying up white and black feathers, surrounded by audience; three seated Navajo women, then of a group of standing men in suits, including Nakai, looking at a piece of paper; a group of Navajo men looking down at something; patch on a uniform "Navajo Tribe Ranger", partial of his face; boy scouts looking at men in working stations wearing General Dynamics uniforms; a woman at a work stations (soldering?); man working with metal fitting, then of a woman placing colorful electrical wires into place, then of another soldering metal piece; two sets of hands configuring a board of wires; components, small and some that are tree-like in configuration; same women soldering; two hands moving a component with wires and inspecting under a microscope, then pull back to see his face; hands inspecting and clipping wires, then of the person's face; hands tying wires in place; exterior hands working a loom (dah iistłʼǫ́), then the woman's face; fade to men's hands assembling a component; rows of bent metal rods displayed on a table, then crossfade to display of concho belts; Navajo silversmith's (béésh łigaii ííłʼíní) hands working a silver buckle, Navajo man soldering wires into place; a Navajo man and white older man walking and stopping to look at a large hogan, walking towards it; superimposed shots of buildings, a car driving, a person sitting outside a hogan, a horse and rider, General Dynamics workers, a boy beating a drum, a "Navajo Arts & Crafts Guild" sign and building, two men doing a ceremonial dance next to the one who drums, hands creating a sand painting, Navajo man's face, wearing a suit; two Navajo men seated at a desk looking over architectural drawings, they get up to look at a framed map on the wall, as one points, aerial shot of an industrial facility, of a refinery; kids seated in a modern living room floor looking at a television set; one of the girls;  her and a boy walking into a modern kitchen as a woman hands them plates and cutlery; young man in a football helmet;  a football game;  Navajo cheerleader cheering; three boys playing on a barrel bucking bronco simulator; one of the boys laughing, then another who smiles at the camera; end credit: "General Dynamics."


Read Raymond Nakai's November 13, 1967, dedication speech here. (Courtesy of Northern Arizona University Libraries).

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