NTU Hosting Diné [Thinking] Space Event to Serve as Community Knowledge Sharing Forum

Navajo Technical University

Published April 12, 2017

CROWNPOINT, NEW MEXICO – On Thursday, April 13, Navajo Technical University will host a free community lecture series entitled Diné [Thinking] Space with the intent of creating an open forum that allows students, faculty, staff, and community members to engage in a day of workshop, demonstration, and various knowledge sharing activities aimed at community empowerment and education.

The event will begin with registration at 8:30 am in the NTU Student Union Building where participants will be provided with an event packet and be directed to the various activities occurring throughout campus. The day will start with a series of presentations and workshops including: a mural painting workshop hosted by Flagstaff-based artist Corey Begay; a presentation on the basics of animal husbandry and preventative medicine by the NTU Vet Hospital and Vet Tech program; and a meet and greet with notable Diné writers such as Sherwin Bitsui, Esther Belin, Luci Tapahonso, Rex Lee Jim, Hershman John, Orlando White, Irvin Morris, Lloyd Lee, Roberta John, Jaclyn Roessel, Jennifer Denetdale, and Navajo Nation Poet Laureate Laura Tohe.

After the meet and greet, the writers will then participate in a panel discussion in the NTU Multipurpose Building where they will discuss their thoughts and experiences with writing and the aesthetics of Diné culture reflected in their work. NTU’s School of Arts & Humanities will be sponsoring the panel discussion, as well as a poetry reading by Bitsui and a writing workshop conducted by Bitsui, Tohe, and Jim later in the day. The intent of each event is not only to provide insight into the perspective of some of the Navajo Nation’s more distinguished writers, but also introduce NTU’s new online literary journal, which the School of Arts & Humanities hopes to use as a hub for literary discussion that could be sustained beyond the Diné [Thinking] Space event.

Another presentation that will have a sustainability focus in regards to agriculture will be a spring gardening workshop hosted by NTU’s Extension Office. The workshop will take place at the NTU greenhouse and will cover topics like backyard gardening, composting, and irrigation, while running simultaneously with the Vet Hospital’s presentation on animal husbandry and preventative medicines. NTU will also host an afternoon gardening session conducted by gardener Franklin Elliot, who will take a bio-intensive approach to gardening with an emphasis on soil amendment.

Other presentations and workshops that will occur throughout the day will cover topics such as: the Navajo universe paralleled with NASA perspective; financial literacy and access to capital; 3D modeling and printing; an intro to building information modeling software; and an intimate presentation on murdered and missing indigenous women hosted by the Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women. NTU will also be welcoming back three graduates who will discuss their journey from NTU to their current professional field. The presenters will include: Environmental Science graduate and environmental specialist for the Office of Environmental Health Kristofferson Martin; Law Advocate graduate who is now practicing law on the Navajo Nation Cornelia Yazzie; and Culinary Arts graduate and Culinary Institute of America student Dexter Dale, who will discuss his culinary journey through a live cooking demonstration.

While the Diné [Thinking] Space event will have a knowledge sharing focus, it will also feature community friendly competitions that seek to bridge intergenerational disconnect. The main feature will be a Contest Song & Dance, which will run from noon until 5:00 pm at the Wellness Center. NTU will also be hosting a fry bread making contest and a robotics simulation competition. All events are free and open to the public and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers.

Diné [Thinking] Space is a free community event and is open to the general public. A grad fest and career fair will also be featured where participants can find opportunities for employment or pathways to higher education degree programs from various colleges and universities throughout the region. For more information about NTU’s Diné [Thinking] Space event please contact Daniel Vandever at dvandever@navajotech.edu.

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