Desert People

Lou Volpicelli
Joseph Hurley
Production Date: 
Daniel Wilson
Frank Buxton
Run Time: 
Discovery '65 in association with National Education Association

Associate Director: Michael Ream
Executive Producer: Jules Power
Associate Producer: George Charles
Production assistant: William Hilliker, Jr.
Music: John Winters
Technical Supervisor: Len Bottom
Engineering Supervisor: Earl Mehaffey
Technical Director: Chuck Ciegelsky
Video: Jim Doyas
Audio: Corky Hendrick
Graphic Arts: Hy Blay
Technical Facilities Furnished by: KTVK-TV, Phoenix, Arizona
Establishing shot: Narrator Frank Buxton stands in front of a desert background, his full body in frame. Behind him there are creosote and palo verde. The camera then pulls back and switches to the Comobabi Mountains. The mountains dwarf the narrator, and also show several saguaro and other desert vegetation.  
Named locations: Pima County, Arizona; Tucson, Arizona; Ajo, Arizona; Kohlrabi Mountains, Arizona; Sells-Papago Indian Reservation, Sells, Arizona;  (phonetic spelling) Papago Village; Santa Rosa Ranch School, Arizona; Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona;
Major themes covered: Daily life of the Tohono O'odham (Papago); Immersing the Tohono O'odham (Papago) in American culture
Native activities shown: Members of the village sitting and talking (though this seems directed); boys playing with each other and village dogs; Women weaving baskets; Children attending school; Children petting animals brought to a nature class by the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum; Women making traditional communal dinner in the center of the village; an oral story being told by an elder; a festive dance (its origins are Mexican); men shaking traditional rattles and singing in Papago;
Individuals Named: Frank Lopez, the ceremonial leader of the Tohono O'odham (Papago) village; Angelo Miguel and his two sons, John and Clement, one of the oldest families in the village; Mrs. Miguel, Angelo's wife and mother of John and Clement; Mr. Philip Premi, school teacher; Matilda Carillo, cook at Santa Rosa Ranch School, and sister-in-law of Angelo Miguel; Hal Gras, of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum; Marlene, a girl in the nature class who touches a gopher snake held by Hal Gras of the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum; Louise, a girl in the nature class who writes 'snake' on the blackboard; Esther, girl who writes coyote on the blackboard; Mrs. Luciana, aunt of Angelo Miguel, cooking with other women; Juan Miguel, an oral storyteller and elder;
Native language spoken: Yes. The students teach the narrator how to say snake/coyote in Papago; there are also oral stories told; singing at a festival;
Audible? Yes. Good narration quality and Papago (O'odham) language quality.
Noteworthy elements: The narrator of the film actually enters the village and interviews individuals, which allows the audience to hear speech patterns of the Tohono O'odham (Papago), and the native ways in which they explain things (in example, how they make adobe houses). A calendar stick and an oral story is also told in the film, and partially summarized by the narrator.
Other notes: At one point in the film (4m 17s) the frames jump, distorting the narration and the frames. Some of the interviews are staged.