Sunday, June 26 – Monday, July 4

Sunday, June 26

Worth returns from his trip to First Mesa, Zuni, Ramah, and El Morro (B14FF29PP219-221).

Monday, June 27

Rushes are shown, and Sam Yazzie visits to watch them along with the students. Worth comments on the rushes,

There were too many pans – too much motion – but when I asked about it at the discussion some agreed that too much motion made it hard to see, but some said that they liked all that motion. I suspect they all like it because they all do it. My question it leads the brighter ones to suspect that it’s something to criticize. This business of asking leading questions is something that I haven’t solved. Some of these people are so bright that they know that if I ask a question I am asking it because I expect them to find fault with it. They seem to pick up the cues very quickly. In reference to motion, however, I genuinely feel that this is something quite basic to their way of seeing the world (B14FF29P222)

Tuesday, June 28

The class watches rushes. Worth is especially impressed with Johnny Nelson’s footage, and considers him as a potential member of the Navajo Film Unit. He writes,

 Johnny is turning out to be the best filmmaker of the bunch, and one of the nicest workers in film that I’ve ever seen at a beginning level. He plans everything – and executes what he plans, but not rigidly; and he lets the ideas flow when he’s on location. He has an exquisite sense of story in a dramatic mode – primitive and unsubtle at present – but it must be remembered that I am deliberately withholding any sort of teaching in what could be considered taste symbolic use of images, or style. He is developing these things himself and is at this point so good or better than most makers of standard educational or documentary films that it is a shock (B14FF29PP227-8).

Wednesday, June 29

Worth and Clah accompany the Tsosie sisters to Sam Yazzie’s hogan. They plan to film his performance of a sand painting ceremony. Worth, frustrated that Mary Jane is not capturing many moments that he considers important, begins to instruct her. Eventually, Mary Jane asks him to take a particular shot for her, which he does. Afterward, he continues to instruct her. He describes the situation,

I said, “Mary Jane can you see his face from the way you have the camera pointed now.” She said, “no.” I then said to her what do you think you could do in order to see his face. She turned to me and thought for a moment and then said, “I could ask him to look up.” I said to her do you think that you would see his face if he looked up as if he were working. She said, well, no he wouldn’t be able to work if he was looking up. I said, well is there any other thing you can do. She thought for about almost half a minute and then said, well I suppose I could kneel down. She tried to kneel down but it seemed to be extremely difficult for her (not physically). Then she said to me would you take a shot of him lying down the way you were with my camera and she handed me the camera. I looked at her, torn myself between wanting to do the shot and yet not wanting to do it for her, and she said to me almost without pause, “I would be ascared to do that.” I said, what do you mean. She said, I would be afraid to get down on my belly like that.

Wanting to get this shot so much I took her camera, got down on the floor and made a close up of his face and his hands (B14FF29PP235-6).

Thursday, June 30

A community Squaw Dance begins (B14FF29P239).

Worth tells Adair about what had happened at the sand painting ceremony the day before. Adair becomes upset, feeling that Worth’s decision has compromised the validity of the project. Worth writes,

Sometime before dinner I had another talk with John about the Tsosie girl incident. John was quite angry about this, and said…I feel that you will be very very much criticized for this piece of behavior and that so will we all. Although I felt bad about helping them, I couldn’t really agree with John all the way. We talked about this some more and John said he could very well understand the conflict that I was in. Being a teacher and being a researcher (B14FF29P243).

Worth concludes that he will try to make the best of his mistake:

But since it had been done I thought that I might just as well try to make the best of it and try to use it in some experimental way…Here was a situation in which I had deliberately given them one way of doing things. If they did it this way a second time you could say that it was compatible with their cognitive structure, and that it was possible for them to learn it. If, however in a second situation they didn’t seem to show that they were doing it this way it was all the more evidence therefore that this was a way that was fairly alien to them. It seemed to me that this was a very nice little experiment to conduct, and one that we had talked about in Philadelphia with Actenberg and Chalfen (B14FF29PP243-4).

Friday, July 1

The Squaw Dance continues. Worth runs errands. He writes,

It seemed like a holiday weekend with a lot having happened the previous week. People had gone to the squaw dance the previous night, Susie having gotten only 1 hour sleep. I was really anxious to get away for a 3 day weekend. Susie said she didn’t have much to do and would like to leave at 12. I spent most of the afternoon making out the pay, signing checks and packing. At 3:30 nothing was happening and we decided to give everybody the day off (B14FF29P247).

Saturday, July 2 – Monday, July 4

Worth spends the weekend traveling with his family and participating in a Fourth of July celebration in Pine Springs. He writes,

After dinner Griswold had a fourth of July celebration. I never thought that I would have a fourth of July celebration with the Navajo Indians. It was the strangest thing to see a little Indian kid playing with sparklers (B14FF29P249).


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