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Visiting professor to speak on oral histories and the Navajo Nation

Dr. Jennifer Nez DenetdaleDr. Jennifer Nez Denetdale, associate professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico will visit at Fort Lewis College as part of the FLC Native American Center Speaker Series. In addition to meeting with students, Dr. Denetdale will offer a public presentation at 7 p.m. in the Center of Southwest Studies Lyceum on Tuesday, November 15, 2011. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Within the context of modern national formations, Dr. Denetdale’s presentation at FLC will explore the uses of oral tradition to foment and foster a Navajo national consciousness. As this lecture will demonstrate, oral histories and tradition have been deployed in different ways, including uses within Navajo kin relations, by American historians, and Navajo nationalists. Further, photographs of Navajos have been significant to reclaiming distinctive Navajo cultural values.

Jennifer Nez Denetdale is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and originally from Tohatchi, New Mexico. She is the author of Reclaiming Diné History: The Legacies of Chief Manuelito and Juanita (Univ. of Arizona Press, 2007), two Navajo histories for young adults, and numerous essays. Professor Denetdale is the first Diné to be awarded a doctorate in history, which she received in 1999 from Northern Arizona University.

She serves on the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission. Most recently, she was guest curator for the exhibit “Hastiin Ch’ilhajíní dóó Diné bi Naat’áanii Bahane’: Chief Manuelito and Navajo Leaders,” now showing at the Navajo Nation Museum. Her research interests have included the uses of oral tradition to create Diné histories and examinations of Navajo Long Walk stories and memory. Currently, she is researching and writing on formations of tribal nations, gender, and the politics of tradition.

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