Barbara is the Project Director of the Southern Nevada Jewish Heritage Project of the Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries. She has served as SOHA Secretary and Newsletter Editor since 2015.
Oral Historian, UNLV Oral History Research Center
Expertise: Collecting and organizing oral histories, Preserving family history, Las Vegas history
Barbara Tabach believes in the power of the human story and the value of collecting the voices that tell the stories. She is project manager and coordinator for the Oral History Research Center at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
She collects oral histories and serves a leading role in the creation of two digital projects in UNLV Libraries’ Special Collections:
Barbara received her bachelor’s degree in education from Drake University and did master’s studies in journalism at Iowa State University. She serves on the board of the Southwest Oral History Association.
“Since its founding in 1970, the Baylor University Institute for Oral History (BUIOH) has collected over 6000 interviews. The Institute has created transcripts of almost all interviews in the collection, and nearly 4000 of these transcripts are available to researchers and the public in our online collection as fully text-searchable PDFs. New draft transcripts of in-process projects are added monthly as work progresses.
In the fall of 2013, BUIOH began uploading audio files to accompany the transcripts already present in the online collection. This process is expected to continue through the end of the decade. Until then, many digital audio files may not be found online, but do exist on our private preservation server. To request access to an audio recording that is not online, send a request to BUIOH@Baylor.edu . Be sure to provide complete information about the name of the interviewee and the date of the interview.”
Congratulations to Farina King, SOHA 2nd VP, for her recent book publication!
The Earth Memory Compass: Diné Landscapes and Education in the Twentieth Century
The Diné, or Navajo, have their own ways of knowing and being in the world, a cultural identity linked to their homelands through ancestral memory. The Earth Memory Compasstraces this tradition as it is imparted from generation to generation, and as it has been transformed, and often obscured, by modern modes of education. An autoethnography of sorts, the book follows Farina King’s search for her own Diné identity as she investigates the interconnections among Navajo students, their people, and Diné Bikéyah—or Navajo lands—across the twentieth century.
In her exploration of how historical changes in education have reshaped Diné identity and community, King draws on the insights of ethnohistory, cultural history, and Navajo language. At the center of her study is the Diné idea of the Four Directions, in which each of the cardinal directions takes its meaning from a sacred mountain and its accompanying element: East, for instance, is Sis Naajin (Blanca Peak) and white shell; West, Dook’o’oosłííd (San Francisco Peaks) and abalone; North, Dibé Nitsaa (Hesperus Peak) and black jet; South, Tsoodził (Mount Taylor) and turquoise. King elaborates on the meanings and teachings of the mountains and directions throughout her book to illuminate how Navajos have embedded memories in landmarks to serve as a compass for their people—a compass threatened by the dislocation and disconnection of Diné students from their land, communities, and Navajo ways of learning.
“Farina King’s study offers a passionate and thoughtful account of how the Diné, by holding on to their sacred ways of knowing and living, have withstood the long ordeal of educational colonialism. Beautifully written, bold in conception, and packed with intimate stories, this is a must-read for those interested in how indigenous peoples might maintain or rediscover ancestral identities.”
—David W. Adams, author of Education for Extinction: American Indians and the Boarding School Experience, 1875–1928 and Three Roads to Magdalena: Coming of Age in a Southwest Borderland, 1890–1990
“In engaging and readable prose, Farina King has produced a compelling autoethnography wherein she introduces readers to the concept of the Earth Memory Compass in order to get academics and laypeople alike to rethink the history of twentieth-century Diné educational experiences. In the process, she helps readers think about land, knowledge, and collective identity creation in ways that will help subsequent generations of scholars forge new work.”
—Erika Bsumek, author of Indian-Made: Navajo Culture in the Marketplace, 1868–1940
Critical to this story is how inextricably Indigenous education and experience is intertwined with American dynamics of power and history. As environmental catastrophes and struggles over resources sever the connections among peoplehood, land, and water, Kings book holds out hope that the teachings, guidance, and knowledge of an earth memory compass still have the power to bring the people and the earth together.
Published in Cooperation with the William P. Clements Center for Southwest Studies, Southern Methodist University
About the Author
Farina King is assistant professor of history and affiliate of the Cherokee and Indigenous Studies Department at Northeastern State University, Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Congratulations to Juan Coronado, SOHA Co-President, for his recent book publication! His book, I’m Not Gonna Die in This Damn Place: Manliness, Identity, and Survival of the Mexican American Vietnam Prisoners of War (Latinos in the United States), was officially published by Michigan State University in March 2018. Learn more about the book and order your copy at http://msupress.org/books/book/?id=50-1D0446B#.WwSzKO4vzIV.
Check out the positive review of the book in Publishers Weekly. Others have also praised his work that features oral histories of Mexican American POWs and Chicano Vietnam War experiences and stories:
From the start, and by design, the story of America’s Vietnam prisoners of war was disciplined into an official version. By focusing attention on the Mexican American Vietnam POWs, Juan David Coronado not only identifies how their shared cultural heritage affected their lives before, during, and after captivity, but also shows us just how diverse even a small group of prisoners could actually be. A welcome contribution to our understanding of American POW history. –Craig Howes, Director, Center for Biographical Research, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and author, Voices of the Vietnam POWs: Witnesses to Their Fight
Juan David Coronado has written a superb and important examination of Chicano prisoners of war in Vietnam; the firstaccount experiences reflected in the work add to this enlightening academic read.
–Charley Trujillo, author of Dogs from Illusion, American Book Award winner for Soldados, and codirector of the companion document
This Flackback Friday is from the 2017 Oral History Association meeting in Minnesota. Join the Oral History Association from October 10-14, 2018 at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Registration is open for the conference. Click here for more information.
1888 Center CHAPTERS: Dr. Kristine Dennehy + Dr. Ester E. Hernández September 16, 5:00
Dr. Kristine Dennehy is a history professor at California State University Fullerton, with a specialization in Japanese and Korean history. A Connecticut native, Dr. Dennehy majored in Japanese language at Georgetown University, completed her M.A. in Asian Studies at Sophia University in Tokyo, and received her Ph.D. in history at UCLA (2002) with a dissertation entitled “Memories of Colonial Korea in Postwar Japan.” In 2008-09, Dr. Dennehy served Historical Adviser for an oral history project interviewing over 80 Japanese-American veterans who had served in the Military Intelligence Service during the Allied Occupation of Japan (1945-1952) as interpreters and translators. She is a lifetime member of the Orange County Historical Society and the Fullerton Sister City Association and regularly presents her work to local and international audiences, including the Fullerton Public Library Town & Gown Series and the Asian Association of World Historians.
Dr. Ester E. Hernández earned her Ph.D. in Social Science at UC Irvine and is a professor Chicana/o Latina/o Studies at CalStateLA. She has published on Salvadoran migration and remittances in social science journals such as the Journal of American Ethnic History and Economy & Society. She received a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship, 2003-2004, CSULA on the theme of “Families and Belonging in the Multi-ethnic Metropolis.” Born in El Salvador, she serves on the board of directors of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA) and is the co-editor of the anthology U.S. Central Americans: Reconstructing Memories, Struggles and Communities of Resistance (University of Arizona Press) about 1.5 and second generation Centroamericanas/os and U.S. Central Americans. Her current research is linked to immigrant rights, economic development and cultures of memory among children of immigrants.
SEPTEMBER 16 All events begin at 5:00 pm with free admission to the public
1888 Center, 115 North Orange Street, Orange, California 92866
CHAPTERS is a five-part 1888 Center Podcast series dedicated to stories surrounding the exclusion, forced removal, and internment of Japanese-Americans. The program also parallels a narrative thread through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
CHAPTERS is supported by the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program administered by the California State Library.