American Folklife Center collections from Arizona demonstrate the diversity of its expressive culture. Among the collections documenting the rich culture and history of the Grand Canyon State are recordings of Native American songs by Williard Rhodes (AFC 1941/039), Margaret Valiant Recordings for the Farm Security Administration Collection (AFC 1939/017) made in 1939, and the Fresh Produce Workers In Arizona : Archie Green Fellows Project, 2015-2016 (AFC 2015/028).
Throughout the American Folklife Center's Arizona's collections cultural heritage can be found documented through interviews and oral histories, as those collected in the American English Dialect Recordings: The Center for Applied Linguistics (AFC 1986/022). The collection contains 118 hours of recordings documenting North American English Dialects and includes recordings from forty-three states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and parts of Canada. They were made from 1941 to 1984, with the bulk being recorded between 1968 and 1982. The survey's documentation covers social aspects of English language usage in different regions of the United States. It reveals distinctions in speech related to gender, race, social class, education, age, literacy, ethnic background, and occupational group (including the specialized jargon or vocabulary of various occupations). The oral history interviews are a rich resource on many topics, such as storytelling and family histories; descriptions of holiday celebrations, traditional farming, schools, education, health care, and the uses of traditional medicines; and discussions of race relations, politics, and natural disasters such as floods. Included are linguistic interviews, oral histories, and excerpts from public speeches, among other oral traditions.
For example, listen to the recording below with a 32 year old Arizona resident, which is a 30 minute interview on health care among Navajo communities and family traditions.
The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.
Watch the performance of World Champion hoop dancer and traditional healer Jones Benally, his daughter Jeneda, his son Clayson, and his three young grandchildren form the Jones Benally Family Dancers at the Library's Coolidge Auditorium on September 10, 2019. Navajo dance is a sacred tradition encompassing a wide variety of forms, all of which aim to heal the body, mind, or spirit. When presented outside the Navajo community, these dances are modified for public viewing, but they retain their deep capacity to move hearts and minds. The family sings, chants, plays traditional rhythm instruments, and performs a repertoire of over 20 dances, including traditional forms such as basket dance, eagle dance, feather dance, and corn grinding.