Words & Places

Natives sitting on rock surfaceThrough a unique blend of imagery and sound, this website captures the complex oral traditions of Native American communities in the American Southwest. Songs are sung and stories told within the landscapes which inspired them. The tapes explore a world in which words and place possess symbolic and time-honored significance. Native oral tradition generates a history separate and distinct from the written history of the West.

In the late 1970s, videotapes were produced at the University of Arizona in cooperation with KUAT-TV and funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Intended for instructional use, the tapes were tested successfully in college courses across the country. The programs were produced with the permission, cooperation and support of the Indian communities they record. They are now made available through this website to an international audience. 

Each program presents one American Indian singer, storyteller or author performing from his/her repertoire in a natural setting in the community. The speakers also talk about the relation of their oral tradition to their native communities. Five programs are recorded in native Indian languages with English captions so that students have an opportunity to experience the beauty and complexity of these languages.

Begin visiting the different sections described on the left page.

To discuss the history of this project, ask questions about the content, or explore rights and permissions, please send an email message to Dr. Larry Evers, Chair, UA Department of English. For any comments about the website and accessing the video.

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