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Navajo-France Association » Student programs

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Student programs

THREE FRENCH STUDENTS IN NAVAJO LAND // 08/29/2007

Matthieu, Varavouth et FX

The Navajo-France Association has been organizing cultural exchanges every year for four years now. The exchange are made between students from the multimedia French college HETIC and a school in the United States located in the middle of the Navajo reserve.

This year, it is François-Xavier, Matthieu and Varavouth who benefit from this single experience with Greyhills Academy High School, in the town of Tuba City in Arizona. During 5 weeks, they will share their knowledge with two classes of about fifteen Navajo pupils. They will also discover Arizona’s wonderful landscapes and the Navajo people culture …

You can already follow their adventures on their online diary:
http://www.navajo-france.com/exchange2007/

NEW STUDENTS AT TUBA CITY // August 12th, 2006

Harry and Remy

Two first-year students from HETIC college, Rémy and Harry, prepare to leave for 5 weeks for Tuba City, Arizona, from August 12th to September 16th, 2006.

They will be lodged in Greyhills Academy High School, where they will work with a group of Navajo Student on a website design project.

NAVAJO LAND TRIP’S DIARY

THE PICTURE GALLERY

THE WEBSITE ABOUT NAVAJO ARTS AND CRAFTS REALISED WITH NAVAJO STUDENTS

THREE STUDENTS AT DINEH COLLEGE // August 2005

Arnaud C, Ariane et Arnaud M

In August 2005, students from HETIC college, Ariane, Arnaud C et Arnaud M go to Dineh College, located at 1 hour of driving to the north from Window Rock, the Navajo capital.

During this trip, the students will teach a small group of students website creation.

At the same time, they will carry out an online diary about their experience in the Navajo reservation.

THE DIARY

THE WEBSITE WITH THE STUDENTS

AUGUST 2004 TRIP BALANCE // October 2004

august 2004

During their trip in Navajo Land, Marc, David and Lore wrote a diary in which they describe every day spent at Tuba City, Arizona.

DIARY

On top of that, they designed a website with Greyhills Academy High School’s students during their stay at Tuba City, Arizona.

THE WEBSITE MADE WITH THE STUDENTS

We just left the Navajo Nation and are on the Arizona state highway, between Window Rock and Monument Valley. Amid our search in this land for the everyday and its underlying reality, the president of the Navajo Nation, Joe Shirley, Jr., welcomes us with a warm and down-to-earth talk, describing the present state of his people. He also asks us to understand the important roles that the forces of the moon, the sun, and the spirit play among his people, as an appeal to the protection of the traditional knowledge that the medicine men hold.
Lore, Marc and David are three French students of multimedia and communications. They are getting ready to meet with a class of Navajo students to create an Internet website that will speak of their two cultures. My daughter Solenne and her friend Stella have decided to be a part of this adventure for the duration of their summer vacation. I am here for the eighth time in as many years, not just as a cultural ambassador for these shared exchanges, but also to make new discoveries amongst the most generous people of this Indian tribe.
The harsh climate we encountered this past August 2004 has formed the ancestral lands temperament of the Dineh people. Facing the challenges of both the local desert and the dry season, the members of this Indian community continue to proclaim the beauty of their philosophy and see the geographic heritage as the glue of their social identity. And they have organized themselves in a way that gives both profane and the sacred of their proper places.
The three generations of Navajo living today continue to keep alive what tradition and modern life have to give them. We can already see this in growing number of heraling gatherings – which are called “ceremonies” – that are an integral part of the life of the Navajo Nation. Participants gather around “hogans” – traditional structures made of freshly cut wood – and it is this scene that welcomes us as we make our way toward Tuba City.

We are now one hour away from Tuba City, and the car we are following belongs to Cora Maxx and Philip Harrison. Cora is an assistant to the president of the Navajo Nation, and was named to that position after the last tribal election.
Apart from her many activities in defense of the rights of the Navajo – such as with the Western Navajo Woman’s Condition, the Navajo Division of Health and San Francisco Peaks - she is also a member of ACIA, the Arizona Commission of Indian Affairs. A great activist and spokeswoman for her people, Cora works with legislative committees and federal and state agencies to see that the needs of her tribe are met.
Philip is the chief of another community, located at Shiprock, in the four corners areas of New Mexico. One of his duties is to lead the Committee for the Victims of Uranium, which he founded.

We are in the hogan, an octogonal structure with its entry facing east. A full moon accompanies nightfall, and songs ring out, their purpose both to heal and to mark the evolution of “the Way of the Beauty”. An unexpected bath of harmony reigns over the patient and all of those gathered in a circle around the room. The rhythm of the music is muffled and rapid. It expands and seems to go out to the bowels of the earth, as if the tonality of each individual was linked to it by an umbilical cord that had never been cut and continued to bring life to him.
There are people of all ages – men, women and children – and it is possible for each one of them to speak, to sing and to accompany themselves with a drum and a rattle. The hands of all the gathered are humbly opened toward the sky, ready to receive the sacred smoke from the embers the medicine man blesses at precise moments, through his prayers and the medical herbs that he carefully gathered previously, as custom requires. All are draped in a traditional garb of iridescent cloth that hides their street clothes.

As the medicine man explains to us:
“Know that there exists a strong relation between us and the spirits. Rituals and respect for all the cycles of life are integral parts of our identities. The growth in the numbers of Navajo who wish to preserve their traditions is proof of this, since all of them are aware that we have the responsibility to watch over our land. We are survivors. Which is to say that we are still alive!”

The first light of dawn arrives and it illuminates a spectacular landscape. Some leave the Hogan to say “Good morning” and give hugs to one another. “It’s magnificent, isn’t it ?” asks the medicine man as he embraces me. The morning spectacle is an averyday affair for the members of the Navajo tribe, but nobody seems to get tired of it. The ceremony lasted all night. A few cell phones begin to ring.

As the ceremony begins, there are 250,000 Navajo. In 2000, the census reported there were some 2,4 millions Native Americans in the United States (including Aleuntian Islanders and Inuit). This represents 0,9 percent of the entire US population. The United States is learning, at long last, how to honor these people: on September 21, 2004, in the heart of the federal capital, the doors of the National Museum of the American Indian opened, under the directions W. Richard West, a Cheyenne Indian.
During the past century, it was avowed public policy in the United States to support actions that worked toward “the total annihilation of tribal identity”. Today, we should look on this new step forward – the opening of the museum – as a turning point in the narrative, which no longer announces the twilight of the Indian, but rather his power.
Paris, September 21th, 2004
Lorenza Garcia / Navajo France Association President and Founder

WEB SITE PROJECT AT TUBA CITY // August 2004

Lore David and Marc

In August 2004, 3 students from HETIC college located in Paris’s outskirt, Lore, David and Marc leave Paris for Tuba City, a town in the south-west of the Navajo reservation, for four weeks. The purpose of this trip is to create a website about the Navajo people with a class from Greyhills Academy High School.

THE DIARY

THE WEBSITE WITH THE STUDENTS

In exchange for their assistance to the website’s design, they will be housed in a Navajo family during their whole stay. This project will also enable a first contact between the young generations of the two cultures.

• Objective : to create a website about Navajos made by Navajos themselves, trained and supervised by three pupils from HETIC
• Date: from August 9th to September 3rd, 2004
• Place: Tuba City/Greyhills Academy High School
• Logistic: provided lodging and food
• Required Skills: good level in English/ pedagogy/project management/TIC/graphics/video
• Demands: the three selected pupils are those which took part in the realisation of the ANF website.