21st Diné Studies Conference Video Library

The 21st Diné Studies Conference proudly presents video recordings from our presenters covering topics on the Navajo Treaty, Law, Politics, Media, Literature, Education, Language, Identity, History, Culture, Knowledge, Workshops, Poetry, and more. We recorded many of the wonderful conversations and workshops. We want to make all the knowledge gathered at these conferences available and accessible to all. We hope you enjoy these videos and please give us feedback

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Opening Keynote: Our Nation’s College: The Future of the Tribally Controlled Colleges Act

Dr. Charles Monty Roessel, President, Diné College

In the keynote address, I will discuss the rise of the Tribally Controlled Schools Act and its meaning for the Navajo Nation. I will announce the revitalization of the Navajo Community College press and its significance for the future of Diné Research.

Keynote: “Our Diné children, language and culture are sacred: Diné bizaad bee hahóózhd”

Dr. Audra Platero, Principal, Tséhootsooí Diné Bi’ Ólta’, Window Rock Unified School District

Biography: Dr. Platero is Bitter Water, born for the Mexican Clan, adopted by the Tangle People Clan. Her maternal grandfather’s clan is Big Water, and her paternal grandfather’s clan is the One Who Walks Around. She is originally from Many Farms, Arizona. Dr. Platero was trained specifically to be an Immersion teacher from Diné College and Arizona State University. She has taught and worked in the immersion setting for the past 16 years. She supports and advocates for our Diné language and culture so that our children can have a sense of identity and self.

Lunch Keynote: Developing a Navajo Educational Media Guide: A Community Perspective

Shawna L. Begay, Ph.D. (Diné)

The findings in this study will serve to inform the development of a Navajo Educational Media Guide that is to provide guidelines for a potential Navajo Educational Media Show that teaches the Navajo language and culture to pre-school aged children (4-6 years old). Implications from this study suggest that more research in needed around Indigenous Educational Media and the development of culturally relevant media for Indigenous populations in the area of Indigenous language rejuvenation.

Biography: Dr. Begay from Window Rock, AZ is the co-creator, producer, and director of Diné Bí Ná’álkid Time-A Navajo puppet language TV show. Dr. Begay earned her Ph.D. in Educational Technology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her dissertation was entitled, “Developing a Navajo Educational Media Guide: A Community Perspective.” Her research explores the learning objectives a media show would have if it was created for pre-school aged Navajo children. She also holds a Master of Arts in Film production from Chapman University. Dr. Begay is originally from Window Rock, Arizona and currently works for Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.

Keynote: The Role of Law in the Navajo Nation Since the Treaty of 1868

Mr. Paul Spruhan, J.D.

What is the role of law in Navajo society since 1868? The Treaty created the original Navajo Reservation, and the Nation’s political territory has expanded significantly since that time. The Nation’s legal system has evolved since the Treaty as well, to a government split between three branches and a robust court system, though with no organic document like a constitution to define the roles of the three Branches. This structure co-exists with traditional legal principles originating from the Journey Narrative and other sources. This presentation will discuss how law affects, or not, Navajo society, and will reflect on a non-Navajo attorney’s experience in the current Navajo legal system. Ultimately, the presentation will discuss how Navajos can continue to develop a Navajo-specific legal system, and how education on that legal system in the Nation’s schools can inform the Navajo populace on how the law affects their daily lives.

Biography: Paul Spruhan is Assistant Attorney General of the Litigation Unit at the Navajo Nation Department of Justice in Window Rock, Arizona. He received his A.B. in 1995 and his A.M. in 1996 from the University of Chicago. He received his J.D. in 2000 from the University of New Mexico. He has several Indian law articles published in law reviews, including A Legal History of Blood Quantum in Federal Indian Law to 1935, 51 South Dakota Law Review 1 (2006). His latest article, CDIB: The Role of the Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood in Defining Native American Identity, was published by the American Indian Law Journal in May, 2018. He also teaches Indian law topics for Barbri, Inc. and the Tulsa Law School Masters of Jurisprudence in Indian Law Program. He and his wife, Bidtah Becker, have two children and live in Fort Defiance on the Navajo Nation.

Treaty, Politics and Law 

Session One

Naltsoos Sani: A Legal History of the Navajo Treaty of 1868

Paul Spruhan, J.D., Assistant Attorney General, Navajo Department of Justice

Navajo Nationalism, 1940s-1960s

Paul C. Rosier, Ph.D., Mary M. Birle Chair in American History, Villanova University

Session Two

Reflections on the Navajo Treaty of 1868—Scholarship, Community Remembrances, and International Human Rights

Jennifer Denetdale, Ph.D.(Diné), Associate Professor, Department of American Studies, University of New Mexico

Exploiting the Fifth World: Navajo Land and Economic Development

Ezra Roser, J.D., Law Professor, American University Washington College of Law

Long Walk:  Healing for Today

Philip J. Chmielewski, Ph.D., Professor and Sir Thomas More Chair of Engineering Ethics, Loyola Marymount University


Session Three

Author Meets Critic Session: Landscapes of Power by Dana Powell

Panelists: Dana E. Powell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Appalachian State University; Jennifer Denetdale, Ph.D. (Diné) Associate Professor, Department of American Studies, University of New Mexico; Earl Tulley (Diné), and Sandra Yellowhorse (Diné), Doctoral Student, University of Auckland, Venaya Yazzie (Diné) Moderator: Andrew Curley, Ph.D. (Diné), Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, UNC - Chapel Hill

Session Four

Getting A Diné Leader to Congress: Trials and Tribulations of Navajo Congressional Contenders and possibilities for our future

Panelists: Derrick Watchman - Arizona (Diné), Jack Jackson, Jr. - Arizona (Diné), Wenona Benally, J.D. - Arizona (Diné), and current congressional contender, James Singer - Utah (Diné). Moderator: Wendy S. Greyeyes, Ph.D. (Diné), Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico


Session Five

Influencing policy solutions: Navajo Nation Human Trafficking White Paper

Presenters: Honorable Nathaniel Brown (Navajo Nation Council Delegate), Honorable Amber Kanazbah Crotty (Navajo Nation Council Delegate), Kathleen Finn and Carla Fredericks - University of Colorado-Boulder American Indian Law Clinic;  Eric Gale - Navajo Department of Family Services;  Melissa Clyde - Casey Family Programs

Media and Literature

Session Six

Photography in the Hweéldi Era

Panelists: Rapheal Begay, Curator and photographer, Maxwell Museum, University of New Mexico; Devorah Romanek, Curator, Maxwell Museum, University of New Mexico; Hannah Abelbeck, Digital Archivist, Palace of the Governors, New Mexico History Museum, Santa Fe, NM. Moderator: Jennifer Denetdale, Ph.D.(Diné) Associate Professor, Department of American Studies, University of New Mexico.

Session Seven

Dine Literatures: Past and Future Perspectives of Dine Literature and Nation-Building through Writing

Panelists: Lemanuel Loley, Navajo Technical University; Orlando White, Diné College; Dr. Laura Tohe, Arizona State University; Byron Aspaas; Sherwin Bitsui; and Esther Belin. Moderator:  Jake Skeets (Diné).

Session Eight

Poetry Reading of New and Selected Works of Luci Tapahonso

Luci Tapahonso (Diné), Professor Emerita of Diné and English Literature (University of New Mexico 2016)  

Session Nine

 Shásh Jaa’: Bears Ears (25 min short)

Angelo Baca (Diné/Hopi), Doctoral Student, Department of Anthropology, Culture and Media Documentary Program, New York University 

Cultural Grit: The Story of K-Town Youth

Wendy S. Greyeyes, Ph.D. (Diné), Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico

Hondo Louis (Diné), Assistant Professor, Navajo Technical University

Crossroads 2020

Brian Cowdon

Education and Language

Session Ten

Development and Growth of Parent Leaders via the Indian Education Committee

Panelists: Katie Joe, Brenda Begay, Myrtle CauAugust, and Carleen Benally. Moderator: Carmen Moffett (Diné).

Session Eleven

Understanding Intergenerational Trauma for Indigenous Communities

LeManuel Lee Bitsóí, Ed.D. (Diné), Chief Diversity Officer/Research Professor, Stony Brook University, New York

A Century-Plus of Sheepherding on Black Mesa: An Ethnoarchaeological Study of Navajo Pastoralism

Wade Campbell (Diné), Doctoral Candidate, Anthropology, Harvard University

From Naaltsoos Sani to Now: Dismantling the Effects of Disciplinary Policy from our Navajo Schools to Navajo Imprisonment

Delores Greyeyes, Ph.D. (Diné), Program Director, Department of Corrections, Navajo Nation and Wendy S. Greyeyes, Ph.D. (Diné), Assistant Professor, Department of Native American Studies, University of New Mexico   


Session Twelve

Reflecting upon Diné College – 50th Anniversary of the First Tribally Controlled College

Miranda Haskie, Ed.D. (Diné), Faculty, Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Diné College

Navajo students’ decision-making factors that influence access and persistence in doctoral education

Colin Ben (Diné), Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Utah

Indigenous Knowledge System and Decolonizing Methodology Interwoven Into Higher Education Experience: Autoethnography

Frank Sage, Ph.D. (Diné), Director, Diné Policy Institute, Diné College

Session Thirteen

Ripple Effects: Intergenerational Ties of Diné Boarding school experiences, Stories and memories

Panelists: Tiffany Lee, Ph.D. (Diné/Oglala Lakota), Natahnee Winder (Tsaidüka (Duckwater Shoshone, Diné, Cui Ui Ticutta, Pyramid Lake Paiute and Nuucic (Southern Ute))); Farina King (Diné); Sandra Yellowhorse (Diné). Moderator: Miranda Haskie, Ed.D. (Diné), Faculty, Social and Behavioral Sciences Department, Diné College

Session Fourteen

Diné doctoral students designing dissertation research that enforces tribal nation building.  

Panelists: Crystal Tulley-Cordova, Diné, Doctoral Candidate, Geology, University of Utah; Sharon Singer, Diné, Doctoral Candidate, Navajo Nation Ph.D. Program, Arizona State University; Ranalda Tsosie, Diné, Doctoral Student, Individual Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program, University of Montana. Moderator: Colin Ben (Diné), Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Policy, University of Utah

History and Identity

Session Fifteen

Diné Third Gender Identifiers: Advocating Towards Social & Educational Policies

Andy Nez (Diné), Education Specialist, Office of Educational Research and Statistics, Department of Diné Education

Traditional and Contemporary Navajo Identity

Lloyd Lee, Ph.D.(Diné), Associate Professor, Department of Native American Studies, University of New Mexico   

Hozhoogo Na’adah: A Navajo balancing Construct

Herbert John Benally, Ph.D. (Diné), School of Diné Studies and Education, Diné College

Session Sixteen

Mapping the Patriarchal Norm of Misrecognition: Exposing Consequences for Diné Woolgrowers and Weavers

Kathy M’Closkey, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology, University of Windsor, Canada

Navajo Masculine Performance/Expression in the 21st Century

Lloyd Lee, Ph.D.(Diné), Associate Professor, Department of Native American Studies, University of New Mexico   

Session Seventeen

Be Matriarch, Not Feminist: Perpetuating Diné Asdzaá

Venaya Yazzie (Diné), Huerfano, New Mexico  

Navajo Patriarchy in a 21st Century World

Lloyd Lee, Ph.D.(Diné), Associate Professor, Department of Native American Studies, University of New Mexico   

Unsettling Borders: Criminalization of Indigenous peoples in the borderlands

Sierra Edd, Graduate Student (Diné), Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Session Eighteen

Second Generation Diné Relocatees: Experiencing and Coping with Land Loss, Cultural Dispossession, and Displacement

Aresta Tsosie-Paddock, Ph.D. (Diné), Assistant Professor, American Indian Studies, University of Arizona

What do fences represent on Navajo Nation?

Kelsey Dayle John, Ph.D. (Diné), Doctoral Candidate, Syracuse University


Session Nineteen 

Teaching Diné and Indigenous Studies to Non-Native College Students: Experiments in Decolonial Thinking

Dana E. Powell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Appalachian State University

Changes in Navajo Ethnography Over the Past 25 Years

Kimberly J. Marshall, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Oklahoma

Help Us Transition Home

Charlinda Haudley (Diné) Doctoral Candidate, Center for the Study of Higher Education, University of Arizona

Nicholas Wilson (Diné), Doctoral Student, Center for the Study of Higher Education, University of Arizona

Cultural Knowledge

Session Twenty

Turquoise Trot: Navajo cultural Arts program (NCAP) Emerging Cultural Artisan Showcase

Brent Toadlena: Moccasin Making;  

Heather Williams: Cinch Weaving;  

Aaron Begay: Sashbelt Weaving;  

Delia Wauneka: Silversmithing; 

Waycee Harvey: Basket Making. 

Moderator: Chris Ami, Ph.D. (Diné)

Session Twenty-One

Cultivating Diné Learning Spaces through Workshops

Panelists: Sam Slater, Navajo Cultural Arts Program Alumni, Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary List College; Crystal Littleben, 2017 Miss Navajo Nation; Roberto Nutlouis, Black Mesa Water Coalition and Zefren M., Historical Weaver

Session Twenty-Two

Nat’oh Ba Hane: How Tobacco Saved the World from Destruction and Healed the People

Avery Denny (Diné), Adrian Lerma (Diné), and Michael Lerma (P'urhépecha)


Diné Cultural Activities

Session Twenty - Three

Workshop: Miniature Moccasin Making (Limit to 7)

Classroom 300, 3rd Floor, Ned Hathathli Center

Sam Slater (Diné), Alumni, Navajo Cultural Arts Program


Session Twenty - Four

Workshop: Leading with Fire: Silversmithing Workshop (Limit to 5)

Silversmith Building

Crystal Littleben (Diné), 2017 Miss Navajo Nation

Session Twenty - Five

pRESENTATION: Navajo Language and Culture revitalization

Ruth and Bob Roessel Archival Center

James McKenzie (Diné)

Session Twenty - Six


R.C. Gorman Room, 2nd Floor of the Kinya'áanii Library

Chris Ami, Ph.D. (Diné) or Rhianna Sorrell (Diné)


Session Twenty - Seven

Workshop: A Hozhójií (Blessing Way) Ceremonial Song

Classroom 500A, Ned Hathathli Center

Homer Hubbell (Diné) and Lorene Legah (Diné)


Updated 05/05/2019. Questions can be directed to dine.studies@gmail.com