We drove in to Crownpoint late Sunday evening, dragging in the inclement weather is synonymous with the season's spring winds and cool rains. We checked into the Navajo Technical College Culinary Arts and Hospitality Center and got ready for our adventure awaiting us here in the Land of Enchantment.
Our first day of shooting started early with landscapes of the campus and a visit to the honorable Dr. Elmer Guy, Navajo Technical College president and Fund board member. He shared with us the campus' recent accomplishments, including the two-year college's success and the recent AIHEC conference competitions. This building houses the financial aid, president's office and other tribal entities, and it is properly named the Empowerment Building. Here, we met some of our contacts including Tom Davis, Dean of Instruction.
Mr. Davis has an unique experience in the tribal college system with a resumé that includes helping found the College of Menominee nation and assisting Dr. Robert Martin in rejuvenating the academic accreditation of Tohono O'odham Community College in Arizona. Currently, he evinces the knowledge of the programs here on campus and fittingly so. He gave us a brief, fulfilling tour of the campus' highlighted programs. With a thorough knowledge of every classroom we walked into, we were fortunate to get Martin's experienced viewpoint of this unique oasis of technology instruction that is beyond many four-year mainstream colleges in the setting of a small tribal college on the Navajo Nation reservation.
After all, how many times do you come across a server that has 256 gigabytes of RAM and sophisticated scanner technology that can scan and "print" a 3-D model or create a virtual rendering of a cave that you can fly through with the aid of red and blues paper glasses? All of this is housed in a remote location without a restaurant, yet Navajo Tech does have a culinary arts program in the curriculum. We'll report and share a little more about that later, so please stay tuned.
We had time to visit with the students and faculty on campus at the library, at the bus stop, around the dorms, in the dining hall and Jaime even managed to play some hoops in the multi-purpose room of the dining facility late Monday evening. The skies have been overcast and occasionally sending down a few drops of moisture, but it has been a great, welcoming trip so far.
Being here and seeing/hearing the stories first-hand has really given us an idea of an education experience for Native students can really be at a tribal college. As we move further along on this adventure on reservations and tribal college campuses, we can only hope for more great students to interview and encounter(the more the merrier if you have any suggestions at SIPI, IAIA, Salish, OLC, Sinte Gleska, NWIC, or College of Menominee Nation, let us know in the comments section of this blog). Time will tell if the weather wants to cooperate a little more with our mission, too. So long, until Santa Fe. Please enjoy the Vlog, video blog, we put together for you.