Tuesday, July 5 – Sunday, July 10

Tuesday, July 5

Rushes are shown. Worth reflects on the success of the project thus far, and plans for future research. He writes,

In talks with John and with Dick during this week it has become increasingly clear to me that the major purpose of this project has been achieved. We have reached the stage in which we can say quite clearly that the Navajos are able to be taught to make films (B14FF29P253).

The researchers also discuss “the making of a film within a film,” which would serve as a behind-the-scenes look at the project. Worth recommends that Chalfen “consider this as his Practicum film” (B14FF29PP255-6).

Wednesday, July 6

The researchers and the Tsosie sisters return to Sam Yazzie’s hogan to film the sand painting ceremony for a second time, but Yazzie is unavailable. Worth and Chalfen begin to shoot footage for their behind the scenes film. Later, Al Clah is visited by his sister (B14FF29PP259-264).

Thursday, July 7

The Tsosie sisters film a new sand painting by Sam Yazzie, with Dick Chalfen as the patient. Mary Jane, still afraid to lie on her stomach and film her grandfather, instructs Maxine to do so:

When she saw that I wasn’t about to do the shooting for her she turned to Maxine and said, Maxine, all you have to do is lie down on the floor and shoot Sam’s face. Maxine took the camera and lay down on a sheep skin rug with her feet up against the hogan wall and put the camera to her eye. At first she started giggling as she looked through the viewfinder of the 3 inch lens, and then she started complaining that her eyelashes were getting in her way. This is the first time that Maxine has complained about using the camera. Then she said that her arm was getting tired, that it was shaking, that it was very difficult to photograph in this way…she got up took the camera off her hand and looking at us she said, “my God look at the way my hand is shaking and held out her hand to us. As far as I could see it was steady as a rock (B14FF29P267).

Maxine returns the camera to Mary Jane, who continues to film as before. Perplexed, Worth reflects,

Again, it is a question of deciding whether she is a poor photographer, whether she is just terrified of this situation, or whether the entire incident is seen by her in some system totally differently from the way it is seen by me. I am looking for process for connections for structure. I don’t have any idea what she is looking for (B14FF29P268).

Friday, July 8

Worth drives Mike, Johnny, and Susie to their filming sites. He writes that “the significant thing” about the day is that “I managed to broach the conversation with Susie about teaching her mother today.” He goes on,

I then said to her you know Susie I just had an interesting idea. What do you think would happen if you tried to teach your mother how to make a movie. Do you think that would be interesting for you and for your mother. She was quite shocked by this idea and asked me why I wanted her to do it. I explained to her that after all what I was interested in was teaching people to communicate through film. That I was teaching people who understood English, and that I really didn’t know if it were possible to teach people who didn’t understand English. Also I wasn’t sure if the way I was teaching was the best way to teach. And if I could watch someone else teaching the Navajo how to make movies in Navajo I might be able to learn something about how to teach people who come from a culture other than my own (B14FF29PP272-3).

Susie tells Worth that she will think about it and let him know in a few days. Worth, satisfied that Susie will agree, reflects, “I am so delighted that John had this idea” (B14FF29PP273).


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