This 1958 color film shows the Navajo Nation of the 1960s, with a postscript from the 1970s (:13). It’s “A Line on America” film presentation of “A People Between Two Worlds” (:50), produced by Francis and Helen Line. This largest Indian tribe lives on a reservation mostly in Arizona into New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado (1:18). Sheep provides resources and an income (1:50-2:08). Most of the 15 million acres are too barren, mountainous, or heavily forested (2:10-2:34). Only 4 acres in 1,000 have enough moisture for crops (2:41). Life revolves around the hogan home and ancient customs (2:48-3:42). Trading posts provide a place to barter (3:43-4:00), including pawning turquoise jewelry, worn regardless of the task (4:01-4:22). A baby is shown on a cradleboard (4:25-4:34). In spring, wind creates sandstorms (5:14-5:30). In summer, flash flooding destroys roads and bridges (5:32-5:49). The roads are hard on buckboard wheels (6:11). A woman weaves a colorful patterned rug (6:36-7:04). New resources include oil pumps, natural gas wells, and uranium mines. Processing plants built at the edge of the reservation provide jobs and royalty payments (7:05-8:15). Students attend school (8:20-8:30). Report cards are often signed by a parent’s thumbprint (8:30-8:40). In response, the US government built elementary (up to 6th grade) boarding schools where children live for 9 months, such as at Shiprock (8:43-9:40). The government also built experimental trailer schools on the reservation with non-Navajo teachers (9:50-11:20). A bathroom trailer provides new experiences of running water, flush toilets, and toothbrushes (11:31-11:50). Before class, a breakfast of cold cow’s milk and biscuits is served (11:53-12:22); a happy lamb is bottle-fed (12:26-12:37); and the Pledge of Allegiance is given (12:40-12:52). The school teaches about the US government; health; prayer before a lunch that uses knives and forks; and gives out vitamins (12:53-13:35). They learn to read, speak, and sing English (13:36-13:54). A member of the Navajo Tribal Council visits the school, driving what may be a 1955 GMC Suburban carrier pickup truck (13:57-14:07). He talks to the classroom in Navajo, explaining the coming changes (14:09-14:20). An old Navajo woman is shown (14:45). The Postscript and Forecast (16:52) shows power lines across the desert providing electricity (16:59-17:12). Other changes include coin-operated laundries (17:20), shopping center supermarkets (17:27), a 1974 Navajo newspaper (17:33), water towers (17:39), and factories (17:44). The film predicts a population of 200,000 Navajos by the 1980s (341,128 at the 2015 census). The traditional hogan house stands in contrast to modern frame structures in housing communities (18:1-18:42). Roads are being paved and interstate highways built (18:51-19:00). The Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River provides new water resources via Lake Powell (19:23). Rainbow Natural Bridge and others (19:33-1944) provide tourist income. The Great Seal of the Navajo Tribe represents its new tribal government, often called the Navajo Nation (19:47-20:00). Strip mining for coal and power plant pollution bring issues (20:15-20:45). Public schools have been built, including the Rough Rock Demonstration School and a community college, both run by the Navajo (20:48-21:39).
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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD, 2k and 4k. For more information visit http://www.PeriscopeFilm.com