Diné Filmmaker to Speak for CSAW, WT’s Distinguished Lecture Series 

April 12, 2021

Photo Courtesy of 1910 PR

CONTACT: Dr. Alex Hunt, 806-651-2457, [email protected], or Dr. Brian Ingrassia, DLS chair, 806-651-2470, [email protected]

CANYON, Texas — An award-winning Diné, or Navajo, filmmaker will discuss the importance of involving young leaders in sustaining a community in a jointly sponsored event at West Texas A&M University.

In “Mayors of Shiprock: Changing the Narrative with Community,” Ramona Emerson will discuss her documentary film “Mayors of Shiprock” at 7 p.m. April 15 via Zoom. Ticketholders also will receive temporary access to stream the film for free.

The event is part of both the Distinguished Lecture Series and the Center for the Study of the American West’s Garry L. Nall Lecture Series in Western Studies.

For this lecture, Emerson will discuss how a group of young people in the Diné community have stepped into leadership roles to solve social problems on their reservation. This topic emphasizes the importance of youth engagement and community sustainability, two issues central to Emerson’s story of becoming a successful filmmaker.

“I’m excited that CSAW is having Ramona Emerson as our latest Nall lecturer,” said Alex Hunt, CSAW director. “She represents the best kind of critical and creative thinking about issues facing her community, and many communities, in the American West.”

“To have a Diné filmmaker sharing her work and speaking to us is an exciting opportunity for our students, faculty and community,” said Dr. Emily Kinsky, head of the WT Department of Communication.

Tickets are free, but registration is required at bit.ly/CSAW-Emerson. After registering, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting on Zoom.

During her virtual visit, Emerson also will meet with WT Mass Media and Creative Writing students to discuss the filmmaking and publication process.

Emerson, who is originally from Tohatchi, N.M., earned her bachelor of arts in media arts from the University of New Mexico and her master of fine arts in creative writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. For more than 20 years, she has worked as a professional videographer, writer and editor, with her work being featured on eight films. She co-owns the Albuquerque production company Reel Indian Pictures with her husband, Kelly Byars.

The Distinguished Lecture Series and Nall Lecture Series are important aspects of WT’s goal to serve as a learner-centered university, part of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

About WTAMU’S Distinguished Lecture Series 

The Distinguished Lecture Series was created in 2007 to enhance education in the classroom by inviting people of national prominence to speak to WTAMU students and the community about important issues. For more information, visit wtamu.edu/about/events/distinguished-lecture-series.html.

About the Center for the Study of the American West   

CSAW formed in the fall of 2016 with a mission of fostering the study of the American West at WTAMU and building bridges between the university, the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum and the regional populace. CSAW seeks to promote the American West both as a culturally unique region and a product of broad historical forces. Through this endeavor, CSAW remains dedicated to cultivating a critical vision of region and place in a globalized era. For more information, contact [email protected] or 806-651-5238.

About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. With enrollment of more than 10,000, WT offers 60 undergraduate degree programs, 40 master’s degrees and two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 15 men’s and women’s athletics programs.




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