CROWNPOINT, NM – On April 25, 2019, Navajo Technical University will host the 2019 Diné Maker Nation Faire, a hands-on showcase that is part science fair, part crafts fair, and part interactive museum. The event’s theme is, “The Evolution of Diné Makers,” and will detail how the art of making has evolved for the Diné people relating to emergence story of their quest through the four worlds. The free event is open to the public that will include interactive workshops and competitions for attendees.
“We held a similar event at the previous 72nd Navajo Nation Fair, and received positive feedback when attendees were able to interact with our different programs and see first-hand the projects we’re working on at the university,” stated Daniel Vandever, communications director at NTU. “We’re going to host a similar event we held in Window Rock, but we’ll open up displays to the community and anyone wanting to showcase their talent for creating.”
During the Diné Maker Nation Faire, NTU had displays that included a mechanical bull rigged by Electrical Engineering graduate Hansen Tapaha and operated by NTU’s rodeo team. Other displays included: a healthy soil model created by NTU’s Land Grant program; a 3D printing demonstration by the Ke’yah Advanced Rural Manufacturing Alliance (KARMA) program; and a moccasin making display by Diné Culture, Language and Leadership graduate Kaye Mariano. The diverse forms of creating attracted a diverse interest from fair-goers, which according to Vandever, has been a part of a larger national phenomena known as the “maker movement.”
“The ‘maker movement’ is being spearheaded by tech enthusiasts, crafters, hobbyists, engineers, and innovators. It’s a celebration of their creativity and has led to annual gatherings of creators locally, nationally, and internationally,” explained Vandever, who has been working with students who attended the National Maker Faire in New York last year to bring the event to fruition. “Since the story of emergence, we’ve had been able to survive as Diné people because of our creativity and our ability to adapt and we want to celebrate that history.”
The Diné Maker Nation Fair’s layout is going to be partitioned into four sections according to the four worlds the Diné people had to pass through in order to arrive to modern times. The first world, the black world, will relate to the basic forms of making that were used for purposes of survival. Diné College’s Navajo Cultural Arts Program will be hosting display booths on silversmithing and weaving, and Brent Toadlena and his company Shkii’Bida’ Moccasins and Art will be demonstrating how to make moccasins. NTU’s Navajo Club will also be hosting a booth on language relating its use to the Navajo Code Talkers.
The blue world will represent trade and engineering skills developed with the introduction to the wage economy on the Navajo Nation. This section will feature booths involving the trade fields of welding, carpentry, and other forms of fabrication. NTU’s recently approved Welding program will showcase a variety sculptures they’ve created and NTU’s carpentry program will be hosting a contest on best assembling of a foot stool. Costume fabricator and cosplayer Kirk Tom of Farmington, NM will also be displaying costumes and props he’s made out of EVA foam. Tom’s company, Fearsome Studios, specializes in Star Wars costumes and props.
The yellow world will feature forms of making centered on the revitalization of identity and culture, and will showcase an eclectic set of booths ranging from an indigenous cooking demonstration by Diné College chef and NTU alumni Teri Ami to a green screen photo display by NTU’s New Media program. NTU’s university radio station 107.3 KCZY will also be on-site hosting a remote broadcast while displaying how radio shows are produced. Visitors will be able to get on air and contribute to the live remote broadcast.
The final world will relate the white or glittering world, and will feature 3D printers, solar cars, and metrology equipment. KARMA and NTU’s Fabrication Laboratory will have 3D printers running to showcase additive manufacturing. Industrial Engineering major Calsey Nez will showcase his 3D prints, laser scanning products, and shredder . Crownpoint Middle School will be on site to showcase a solar car they designed and St. Bonaventure School in Thoreau, NM will be showcasing a Chat Bot they created as part of KARMA’s Innoventure project last month.
In addition to the open Faire, workshops will be taking place throughout campus, including a composting workshop by NTU’s Land Grant program. NTU’s Culinary Arts program will be hosting an omelette making competition for attendees, and will award prizes for the top three competitors. Recruiters will also be on site for guided tours of campus.
For more information about the 2019 Diné Maker Nation Faire, please contact Daniel Vandever at email@example.com. If you are a maker and want to showcase a booth, space is free and tables and chairs are provided; however, you must have an interactive component to your booth whether it is a demonstration or a hands-on activity.