GALLUP, NEW MEXICO –
A group of Navajo organizers and activists have begun to share their stories with a local, Navajo filmmaker. Using culturally relevant methods appropriate for this indigenous community, the stories are told in small, private circles as compared to open, public Truth Telling hearings. Some stories will be told and filmed in outdoor settings or in sacred spaces, such as the Navajo hogan. As more stories are collected, this community will determine a location and setting to share the stories with the community and engage in dialogue leading to action. In addition, this community has asked the Truth Telling Project to create a Theme on the Commons for Indigenous Issues from where other topics facing Native communities can emerge, such as environmental racism (uranium toxicity), domestic violence, racism, colonialism, police violence, homelessness, alcoholism, learned helplessness, education, and poverty on reservation land. Already we have learned other Navajo youth in colleges outside the community have expressed interest in bring Truth Telling to their campuses.
In addition to facilitating Truth Telling, Melinda met with a former colleague who
teaches at an alternative high school in Gallup. Rosanne Groger invited an interested cohort of teachers who are committed to empowering young Navajo voices to a presentation on how to use “It’s Time to Listen: An Online Learning Commons.” Following a walk through of the Commons, Melinda was invited to return at the end of the day to talk about how an after school group entitled, “Youth Empowerment” could also listen to the testimonies to integrate visual and performance art into their own truth telling. We will follow up and connect these youth to the efforts already underway with Anna Rondon.