The Navajo Indian (1945)

A profile of Navajo/Diné social life, family structure, and culture. Activities shown: farming corn, sheep herding, preparing corn bread, children and family pets, weaving wool and yarn preparation, loom building, silversmithing, trading goods, and more.
Cultural Narrative: 

Narration in 2019 by Crystal Littleben, Program Coordinator for the Navajo Cultural Arts Program at the Diné College and Miss Navajo Nation 2017-2018. Facilitated by Rhiannon Sorrell, Instructor aand librarian at Diné College.

Language of narration is primarily English.


Wide shot of man on horseback and one on foot herding sheep on dirt path through dessert, plateaus in background; closer shot of man on foot shooing the sheep with a large woven scarf through a wire-fenced in pen into the open range, plateaus in background; head/shoulders shot of man with blue headscarf and short hair, plaid shirt and turquoise necklace speaking to someone off-screen and holding up a bow and arrows; head/shoulders shot of a woman in blue velveteen long-sleeved shirt, turquoise necklace bends over and tends to something off-screen; head/shoulders shot of a small boy in denim looking at camera with canvas bags in background; close-up profile of man with short hair looking and speaking; head/shoulders shot of another adolescent boy with a red head scarf and short hair, faded blue shirt, looking at something off-camera; medium wide shot of the man wearing a white hat and riding a plow pulled by two horses towards the camera and then shot changes to behind as he passes; wide shot of rows of corn (naadą́ą́ʼ) stalks at full height in fore- and back-ground, plateaus beyond; medium shot of the two men inspecting corn cobs they pull from a stalk; closer shot of one man inspecting a cob; medium shot of a woman's hands scraping fresh corn from a cob with a large knife onto a white blanket, piles of cobs and large full metal bowl of kernels; wider shot of same with a little boy from earlier sitting and watching nearby; wider shot of scene shows they are sitting beneath an open-air, but covered with branches entrance to the hogan; medium shot of another woman coming out, hunched over, of the hogan to give the other a large grinding metate (tsédaashjééʼ); the woman places the stone and a smaller, flat, pestle-like grinding tool or mano (tsédaashchʼíní) on the white blanket; medium shot of woman scooping a big handful of kernels from the bowl onto the metate and grinding it with the mano, the little boy looking on; closer shot of her hands working, turquoise bracelets on each wrist; medium shot of the boy and woman each opening up a corn husk; closer shot of her hands shaping the ground corn meal into a husk; medium shot of one man squatting, holding kindling, by a small fire with kettle on top; closer shot of the kettle and fire; medium close shot of a woman's hands moving cooked corn meal in husk packets from the ashes, shaking off the dust, and placing onto another pile; medium shot of two women, the little boy and a man with blue headband and white shirt sitting around white metal dishes and coffee pot inside the hogan, eating the cornbread; head/shoulder shot of man taking a bite; medium shots of the group eating, chatting and laughing; medium shot of a white puppy (łééchąą’í) sitting near a pile of wood; medium shot of the boy and puppy laying down and playing inside on a sheep-skin rug; exterior shot of the boy pushing the puppy's face and then body into a large food bowl; he succeeds and then stands up clapping, the puppy jumps out and runs off, the boy walks towards camera smiling; medium wide shot of the man with blue headscarf demonstrating use of a bow and arrows to the adolescent aged boy with red headscarf, piles of very large logs behind; closer shot of same; medium shot of same boy smiling and petting a lamb sitting on his lap; close up of lamb; close-up of the boys face; medium wide shot of the boy and lamb sitting on a rock; medium shot from behind of a woman weaving a rug on a loom (dah iistłʼǫ́) attached to a wall of large logs; closer shot of same; medium shot of a woman carding raw wool/aghaaʼ with metal brushes; closer shot of same, including rolling the wool off into a bunch; medium shot of the woman winding strands of wool fiber onto a spindle (or whirl, also bee adizí) she turns, and tugs the yarn; wide shot of a woman walking through brushy landscape winding a ball of red yarn, collecting it from where it's suspended in the shrubs; closer shots of same; close-up of a woven bowl with three balls of yarn in white, red and brown, the kneels of a woman kneeling next to it; medium wide shot of woman and man with blue headscarf tying together a wooden frame of a loom, flat on a canvas or animal skin rug; medium shot of the woman tying the top warp of yarn to the loom; closer shot of her hands typing more warps, many of them already done; medium shot of the loom standing up attached to a wall, the woman tightening the knot holding the tension bar in place, as another woman looks on; medium and closer shots of woman tying a heddle rod in place; medium shots of her weaving, sending the weft and weaving; close-up of men's hands inspecting a silver bracelet and placing a turquoise stone on it, filing the setting; close-up of a woman's hands, with painting finger nails, showing off a bracelet on her arm and then showing off the revolving center piece showing alternating stones; wide shot of the exterior of a hogan, two women and the small boy walking out, one with a rug, as a horse and buggy pull up, the man with the white had behind the reins; the three crawl into the wagon to sit down, wagon take off; wide shot of a brown rectangular trading post, camping trailer behind and two horses tied in front, the wagon pulls up, hillsides in background; medium shot of the group crawling down from the wagon, one woman taking the boy; medium shot of the group entering the building; medium shot of the man shaking hands with and speaking to the white man behind the glass counter, goods behind; the Navajo man places a large concho belt on the counter onto which the other places a large sack and write something down; wide shot of the wagon and group riding towards the camera, over dirt tracks through the landscape with plateaus in background; ends with a closer view of the group; end credit.

Additional notes:

There was a 1975 revised version with different narration.