The Navajo Moves into the Electronic Age

Production Date: 
There is an unnamed male narrator
Run Time: 
General Dynamics

Establishing shot: Camera zooms out from aerial shot of a hogan and then pans a  canyon before cutting to an extreme long shot of a desert landscape.
Named locations: New Mexico, U.S. Department of Health, Education, Welfare, Public Health Service Indian Health Hospital [sign], Many Farms School, U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs [sign], Greasewood Boarding School [sign], Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs Toyei School [sign], Kinlichee Boarding School, Bureau of Indian Affairs [sign], Navajo Mine [sign]. Navajo Tribal Utilities Authority [sign], Navajo Housing Authority [sign], The Navajo Tribe, The Navajo Times [sign], Navajo Land Claim [sign], The Navajo Legal Aid Service [sign], Real Property Management [sign], Navajo Pine, Enterprise of the Navajo Tribe [sign], General Dynamics Pomona Navajo Facility [sign], Arizona.
Major themes covered: Modern techniques and amenities available on the reservation, Navajo Tribal ventures and their significance.
Native activities shown: Young woman put an arrow in the fire to light the tip before shooting it into the darkness; Pictographs on canyon walls; Drawings of Navajo history are shown while the narrator briefly discusses Navajo history; Oil being drilled on the Navajo reservation; Navajo council meeting taking place; Navajo man speaking, in Navajo, at a council meeting; Elder woman speaking, in Navajo, at a council meeting; Navajo nurse tending to a patient; Children playing at a boarding school; Children learning English during preschool program at school; Children practicing English; Navajo teacher of 8th grade teaching; Navajo man getting into a student driver car and practicing driving; Navajo high school classes being taught; Navajo men learning in adult education classes; Navajo man working at logging company; Man working with lumber at factory; Navajos listening to Nakai's speech; Navajo soldiers in uniform raising American flag; Traditional Navajo ceremony; Young children working on art projects; Navajo Tribe Ranger; Navajo boys in scout uniforms; Employees working and welding components; General Dynamics workers making electronics; Woman weaving at a loom; Navajo hogan; Silversmithing; Dancing; Sandpainting; Playing football.

Individuals Named: Raymond Nakai, Chairman of Tribal Council. Raymond Nakai (1918-2005) was the Navajo Tribal Chairman from 1963-1971. During his time as Chairman, Nakai worked on many initiatives designed to promote Navajo Education, develop the Navajo economy and strengthen the tribal government. Nakai’s papers, including speeches and correspondence are archived at Northern Arizona University Special Collections department; collection number NAU.MS.386 and NAU.PH.2006.16 (retrieved from;query=;brand=default).

Annie Dodge Wauneka is filmed giving a speech at Navajo Tribal Council (00:03:40) and listening to the dedication speech given at the General Dynamics dedication ceremony (00:09:43). The AIFG film “The Search for America” has an interview with Wauneka (

Annie Dodge Wauneka (1910-1997) was the daughter of Henry Chee Dodge, the first elected chairman of the Navajo Tribal Council. Wauneka, an important politician in her own right, became the first woman to serve on the Navajo Tribal Council in 1951 and served three consecutive terms in this position. She is perhaps best known for her lifesaving work as the head of the Navajo Tribal Health Committee. In 1963, Annie Dodge Wauneka received a Presedetial Medal of Freedom for these efforts.

Native language spoken: Navajo is spoken at Tribal Council meeting

Audible:Good quality Navajo and English narration
Noteworthy elements: Discussion on the economic impact of electronics employment

Other notes: For another corporate public relation film with a modernization theme, see: Journey: The Navajos Look Ahead.  Standard Oil of New Jersey sponsored this film about the oil industry on Navajo land (

The Search for America (part 2) focuses on Navajo Tribal government and contains interviews with Tribal Chairman, Paul Jones, Chairman of the Tribal Health Committee, Annie Wauneka, and Executive Secretary, Jay Maurice McCabe. (

The following Navajo social services and tribal businesses are shown in a montage in this film:  Navajo Mine, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, Navajo Housing Authority, The Navajo Times, Navajo Land Claim, The Navajo Legal Aid Service, Real Property Management, Navajo Forrest Products Industry, Navajo Pine.

The text for Raymond Nakai’s November 13, 1967 General Dynamics dedication speech can be found online in the digital archives held at Northern Arizona University: (

Anasazi ruins and petroglyphs erroneously attributed to “early Navajo civilization” (00:01:37).

See also: Suarez, D. M.  American Indian Biographies. Pasadena: Salem Press, 2005: 534-536. Retrieved from:

--Mikel Stone, 2012