Navajo Land

Production Date: 
There is a male narrator, unnamed
Run Time: 
Walter O. Gutlohn, Inc.

Establishing shot:
Named locations: Window Rock, Arizona
Major themes covered: Economic and social conditions on the Navajo Reservation.

Content Note: Judging on the completeness of this film, “Navajo Land” is likely the source footage for “Another to Conquer,” and “Golden West.” It is notable that the tone of the script of “Navajo Land” is very racist and condescending; “Golden West” is only slightly less so, as the narration of this film closely paraphrases the latter. “Another to Conquer” recycles some of the same footage for its introductory scenes, but abandons the condescending tone of the other movies. Of these, the two worst offenders, “Navajo Land” and “Golden West” are intended for a mainstream White audience. “Another to Conquer” which has a more respectful in tone is directed toward an American Indian audience.

See Another to Conquer: (

And Golden West: (

Native activities shown: Men on horseback rounding up free ranging horses; Woman weaving at a large loom; Women showing silver jewelry; Silversmith showing his work; Baby in a cradleboard; Men speaking with E. R. Fryer; Babies (newborns) in a hospital; Young women working at the Indian Hospital; Young children at a day school, reading; Women spinning wool; Young girl sewing; Silversmith working on a piece; Timber being cut down using two men and a large double-saw; Navajo men building a dam and creating an irrigation system; Men using horses and plow to work a small agricultural field; Young Navajo learning farming techniques at school; Round up of sheep; Sandpainting; Dances; Sandpaintings in a Navajo museum collection.

Individuals Named:  Kit Carson (mentioned by narrator), E. R. Fryer (Era Reeseman Fryer, Superintendent of the Navajo Reservation 1936-1942).

Native language spoken:  A translator for E.R. Fryer communicates, in the Navajo language, the Superintendent’s stock reduction plan for a gathering of 72 tribal members.

Audible:  Yes, but volume should be turned up.

Noteworthy elements:  The narration is interesting in conveying the techniques the United States government uses to assimilate the Navajos, however, the narrator often demeans Navajo living conditions and the traditional methods of raising horse, sheep, etc. 

Other notes:  There are several glitchy areas in the film-- the audio and the frames sometimes do not sync, or have unclear/incorrect transitions (especially within the first two minutes for narration; slow film is throughout the film).--Michelle Byer, 2011.

The sandpainting ('iikááh) shown in this film appears to be a depiction of the Hero Twins, Monster Slayer (Nayéé’ Neezghání) and Child-of-the-Water (Tóbájíshchíní). Both of the figures are shown wearing their signature flint armor (depicted as serrated edges along their torsos) and both appear to be holding lightning, another telltale feature (Bahti, 32-32). Also depicted in this sandpainting is the Rainbow spirit also known as Nááts’íílid, which forms a border running along three sides of the dry painting and serves as a ward from evil influences (Bahti, 22).

Bahti, M. A guide to Navajo sandpaintings.Tucson, AZ: Rio Nuevo Publishers,  2000.

--Mikel Stone, 2012