Our Workshop in Tohono O’odham

Our audio / video recording workshop at Baboquivari High School in Tohono O’odham was characterized by brilliant and attentive students, several amazing singers and guitarists, a discussion about border militarization in the community, and a pretty ferocious lightning storm.

On the first day, we showed the students the basics of microphones and cameras.  They were all eager to learn, some of the already experienced with the technology.  Everybody had a chance to try out the equipment, as it was important that everyone be comfortable with it going into the next phase of the workshop.


That night, a lightning storm knocked out power for the entire nation! That lasted for the next two days. Luckily our schedule was flexible, so we could stay for a delayed follow-up session three days later.

That is when the magic really began.  Warren Mattias, a student at Baboquivari and a powerful traditional singer to boot, allowed us to record two round dance songs, one of which can be heard here! Then, teacher Amy Juan recorded a song called Wipismel Ñe’e, which we used in a video on border militarization that we made in collaboration with Indigenous Rising Media.


As the workshop went on, students asked if they would be able to keep and use the recording gear. We said yes, of course. That is the point.  Now, those materials – microphones, a field recorder, mic cables, and mic stands – are available for students to “check out” and record with in their homes, with friends and relatives.

I am sure that we’ll be hearing great things coming out of Tohono O’odham Nation in the years to come. To everyone who supported us getting there, thank you for making the experience possible! You can donate here to make sure that we can do amazing things like this indefinitely.


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