1864, a young Navajo woman living in Black Mesa, Ariz., fought to
protect her family from the efforts of the U.S. Army and scout Kit
Carson to remove them from their land and send them to Ft. Sumner,
hundred and forty-five years later, another young Navajo woman walked
in the footsteps of Yellow Woman, her great-great-great-grandmother.
Manybeads Tso is a 14-year-old freshman at the Flagstaff Arts and
Leadership Academy. Home-schooled until she enrolled in FALA, Camille
used the skills she learned from an Outta Your Backpack Media Native
American youth workshop to make a 27-minute docudrama, "In
the Footsteps of Yellow Woman."
tells the story of Yellow Woman by interviewing her grandmother
in Black Mesa and reenacting Yellow Woman's struggle to avoid relocation.
story begins with Yellow Woman at about age 14, hiding her baby
daughter in a tree while she fled on horseback to lead the soldiers
away from her family. When it was safe, she returned to find her
daughter safe in the tree where she had placed her.
her efforts to remain strong for her family, the soldiers eventually
caught up to Yellow Woman. Even though she was pregnant, the soldiers
shot her and beat her, leaving her for dead.
lost her baby, but Yellow Woman lived. Eventually, she gave up her
struggle and joined with other members of the tribe for the infamous
Long Walk of the Navajos to Ft. Sumner.
in 1864, the Navajo people walked 634 miles to Ft. Sumner. It took
them two months to reach the fort and about 3,000 Navajos died either
on the march or at the fort. Many Navajo elders and babies were
lost crossing the Rio Grande River.
Navajos' confinement at Ft. Sumner ended in 1868 when the U.S. government
allowed them to return home.
screened her film for freshman and sophomores at Northpoint Expeditionary
Learning Academy in Prescott on Sept. 25.
film fit perfectly with what the students are studying: The freshmen
are learning about displaced people and the sophomores are researching
Sidney Faughn said he had learned about the Navajo Long Walk in
the eighth grade. He said Camille's film was "powerful. It
brought the story to life."
much as possible, Camille filmed "on locations where the events
happened," she said. A trip to the Rio Grande was out of the
question, so Camille substituted a river near Grand Falls in Northern
said she spent about a year working on the film.
never really think about your ancestors. Yellow Woman just wanted
to protect her family and land," Camille said. "The fact
is, she was probably about my age and the main caretaker of her
recruited members of her family, all descendents of Yellow Woman,
to help her make costumes, direct, film, act, sing and edit.
started as a class project ended in an incredible journey to learn
the history of her family, especially Yellow Woman.
began working with the Outta Your Backpack Indigenous Youth media
literacy collective when she was 9 years old. She is currently its
youngest youth mentor.
Outta Your Backpack Media (OYBMedia)