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Navajo Library Tapes Filled With Thousands Of Hours Of Navajo Oral History

Published: Monday, January 2, 2017 - 1:32pm
Updated: Monday, January 2, 2017 - 2:14pm
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(Photo courtesy of Irving Nelson)
A drawer full of tapes in the Navajo Library in Window Rock.

Sitting in a filing cabinet in the Navajo Library in Window Rock, there are 300 reels of tape filled with thousands of hours of Navajo oral history.

The tapes were recorded in 1968 and spent much of the last several decades lost, according to Irving Nelson, Program Supervisor of the Navajo Library. They were found in an old jail cell in Fort Defiance, Nelson said, and the library acquired them soon after.

The tapes include documentation of what every day life was like on the Navajo Nation, as well as songs and sacred Navajo ceremonies.

The Show’s Lauren Gilger spoke with Nelson and Cronkite News reporter Claire Caulfield, who covered the story, about the tapes.

If you want to voice your support for the Navajo Nation Council to fund the digitization of these tapes, you can call the council or email them, Nelson said. Check out their website for more information.

The Show