Vita of Gary Witherspoon

 

 

I.   PERSONAL DATA

 

         Name:        Gary Jay Witherspoon

 

         Birthdate:  July 27, 1943

 

         Home Address:    38909 Eatonville Cutoff Road

                 Eatonville, Wa. 98328

 

         Work Address:    American Indian Studies and Anthropology

                 Box 354305, C-514D Padelford

                 The University of Washington

                 Seattle, Washington 98195

 

         Telephone: 206-543-9082(office)

                 360-832-8414(home)

                 360-832-3256 (fax)

        

         Email:       gjspoon@u.washington.edu

        

Website:     wnhbulls.com

 

II.  EDUCATION

 

         Schools Attended Major Fields       Dates Degree Earned

 

         University of Chicago    Anthropology      1968-70      M.A., 1969

                                                                                    Ph.D., 1970

         Arizona State Univ.        Education           1966-68     

 

         Brigham Young Univ.    Political Science,   1964-66      B.S., 1966

                 History

                

         Ohio State Univ.            History               1960-62

 

 

 

 

 

 

III.  EMPLOYMENT

 

         Positions held              Years                         Institution

 

         Professor                     1987-         The University of Washington,

                                          present       Seattle, WA 98125

        

         Director, The Navajo       1982-87      Navajo Academy,

         Language Institute                                 Farmington, NM  87401

 

         Professor                     1975-82      University of Michigan

                                                           Ann Arbor, MI

 

         Associate Professor        1973-75      Weber State College

                                                           Ogden, UT

 

         Director                       1972-73      Borrego Pass

                                                           Community School

                                                           Crownpoint, NM

 

         Assistant Professor         1971-72      Yale University

                                                           New Haven, CT

 

         Assistant Professor         1970-71      Brigham Young University

                                                           Provo, Utah

 

         Instructor                     1970-71      Navajo Community College

                                                           Many Farms, AZ

 

         Assistant Director          1966-68      Rough Rock

                                                           Demonstration School

                                                           Chinle, AZ

 

         Teacher/Principal           1965-66      Houck Community

                                                           Pre-School Lupton, AZ

 

IV.  LANGUAGES

 

         Navajo (conversational and reading)

 

Some college level course work in the following languages:  German, Spanish & French.

           

V.  HONORS and AWARDS

 

1.  Language and Art in the Navajo Universe won several awards:

 

A.  James Mooney Award for the best manuscript of the year on a North American society (declined because of publication arrangement).

 

B.  University of Michigan Press Book of the Year Award.

 

C.  Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize as a Distinguished Work of Non-fiction.

 

2.  Second Place in the 1969 Stirling Award papers in culture and personality.

 

3.  U.S. Public Health Service Fellowship for advanced study in anthropology, University of Chicago (1968-70).

 

4.  Rackham Faculty Fellowhsip and Research Grant (1976-77).

 

5.  Planning Committee, Handbook of North American Indians, Smithsonian.

 

6.  Editor, Navajo Section, Volumn 10, Handbook of North American Indians, Smithsonian.

 

7.  John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for 1980.

 

8.  Royalty Fund Research Grant, University of Washington, 1993.

 

9.  Nominated for Distinguished Teacher Award, University of Washington, 2004-2005.

 

 

VI  PUBLICATIONS

 

Books

 

1995  Dynamic Symmetry and Holistic Asymmetry in Navajo and Western Art and Cosmology, co-authored with Glen Peterson, Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York, N.Y. (April, 1995)

        

1987  Navajo Weaving:  Art in its Cultural Context.  The Museum of Northern Arizona:  Flagstaff, Arizona.

 

1985  Diné Bizaad Bóhoo’aah I.  The Navajo Language Institute:  Farmington, New Mexico.

 

1977  Language and Art in the Navajo Universe.  University of Michigan Press:  Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

1975  Navajo Kinship and Marriage.  University of Chicago Press:  Chicago, Illinois

 

1969  Navajo Basic Course.  Co-authored with Robert Blair and Leon Simmons.  (This is a programmed guide for teaching coversational Navajo).  Brigham Young University Press:  Provo, Utah

 

1968  Black Mountain Boy.  Co-authored with Veda Carlson.  (This is a book for intermediate level children).  Navajo Curriculum Center:  Rough Rock, Arizona.

 

Articles

 

2005

“Emergence in Southwest Native Histories” a chapter in the Encyclopedia of American Indian Religions, University of California Press.

 

2001  “Sheep in Navajo Culture and Social Organization” was selected to be  in the centennial version of the American Anthropologist as an example of the best articles in the field of anthropology in the last quarter of the 20th century.

 

 

1995  “Word in the Navajo Universe” is the lead chapter in The Word: Studies in the Language of Religion and the Religious Meaning of Language, The University of Arizona Press.

 

1994  “Cultural Motifs in Navajo Weaving” in North American Indian Anthropology, Ray DeMallie and Alfonso Ortiz, eds. University of Oklahoma Press.

 

1992  “Navajo Semiotical Geometry” in Art in Small Scale Scieties.Richard Anderson and Karen Field, eds. Prentice-Hall.

 

1986  “Art in the Navajo Universe”.  Journal of Navajo Studies.    The Navajo Community College:  Tsaile, Arizona

 

1983a         “Navajo Social Organization.”  Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 10:524-535.  Smithsonian Institute.

 

1983b        “Language and Reality in Navajo World View.”  Handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 10:570-578.   Smithsonian Institute.

 

1981  “Relativism in Ethnographic Theory and Practice.”   A chapter in The Scientist and the Irrational, Hans Peter Duerr, ed., Published in German by the Peter DeRidder Press:  The Netherlands.

 

1981  “Silver and Turquoise in the Navajo Universe.”  The Fred Harvey Collection of Silverwork, Heard Museum Publications: Phoenix, Arizona.

 

1980a         “Self-expression and Self-esteem in Navajo Weaving.”  Plateau: Journal of the Museum of Northern Arizona, 52:28-33.

 

1980b        “Beautifying the World through Art.”  Suntracts:  Journal of American Indian Art and Literature.  This article has been reprinted in the following two books:  North American Indian Art and Literature, University of Arizona Press; and Essays on North American Indian Art, Peek Publications:  New York.

 

1980c         “Language in Culture and Culture in Language.”  International Journal of American Linguistics, 46:1-14.

 

1978  “Language and Art in the Navajo Universe.”  LSA Magazine, Vol. I No. 4, pp. 10-11, 18-20.

 

1977  “Are Universal Theoretical Models Possible?”  Michigan Discussions in Anthropology 2:29-45.

 

1976  “Kinship and Human Procreative Processes.”  Michigan Discussions in Anthropology 2:253-45.

 

1975a         “The Central Concepts in Navajo World View (II),” Linguistics:  An International Review  161:69-88.

 

1975b        “Navajo K’é Terminology.”  Navajo Language Review  2:1-27.

 

1974a         “The Central Concepts in Navajo World View (I).”  Linguistics:  An International Review (January).  Reprinted in Festschirft for Carl Voegelin.  Peter DeRidder Press:  The Netherlands.

 

1974b        “Henry Chee Dodge.”  A biography for the American Dictionary of Biography.

 

1973  “Sheep in Navajo Culture and Social Organization.”  American Anthropologist  75:1441-1448.

 

1971  “Navajo Categories of Objects at Rest.”  American Anthropologist 73:110-125.  (This article has been reprinted in Symbolic Anthropology:  A Reader in the Study of Symbols and Meanings, Columbia University Press [1977])

 

 

1970a         “The Role of the Social Scientist in Indian Affairs.”  Journal of American Indian Affairs (Fall) 1:18-23.

 

1970b        “A New Look at Navajo Social Organization.”  American Anthropologist  72:55-65.

 

1968  “The Navajo Curriculum Center.”  Journal of American Indian Education (Spring).

 

1967  “A Knowledgeable and Interested Community” (Chapter 15) and “The First Six Months of Decisions and Activity”  (Chapter 16) in Navajo Education at Rough Rock.

 

Films Produced: 

 

2005     Sense and Essense:  Four Views.  This is a 30 minute video of an

art exhibit by the same name at the Beasely Fine Arts Gallery, Northern Arizona University.  This video is being used in classes at UW and at Yavapai College

 

2004    Dine Weaving  This is a 40 minute broadcast quality DVD used in several schools and universities regarding.  It was in the Stars in the Desert Film Festival in 2004 and is in the Heard Museum Film Festival in 2005.

 

2004     The Mounain Creation Song  (This is an animated version of the mountain creation song recorded by me in 1969, but the visual animation has just been added to it.  I have not released it to general public use yet because it is a ceremonial song and I want to make sure some Navajos do not find it objectionable.  I have sent it to family members of the person who sang if for me when it was recorded.  This person is no longer alive.  The family has been very supportive of the idea and the animated presentation.  They are using it to teach the song to their children.  I have used it in my classes at UW.)

 

2002   Emergence (this video is used in instruction in Indian Studies in my classes at the UW, in classes at Dine College and at the University of Arizona

 

1987  The Children of Changing Woman.  Produced by David Baxter the Museum of Northern Arizona.

 

1983   Seasons of a Navajo Family.  Produced by Peace River films for KAET TV, Phoenix, Arizona.

 

1972   Navajo Girl produced with Robert Young for the Zerox Corporation’s secondary curriculum project.

 

1970  The Long Walk of the Navajo for Education.  Produced by KQED educational TV, San Francisco, California.

Public Lectures

 

1995   Understanding Indigenous Stories of Genesis.  Colgate University

 

1992   “Athabaskan Aesthetics” Lecture at Institute of American Indian Art, Sante Fe, NM

 

1977  “Anthropology:  An Interpretive Art or a Hard Science?”  A series of six public lectures delivered at the Rackham Auditorium, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

Book Reviews

 

2003   A Place to be Navajo by Teresa McCarty for the Southwest Journal of Anthropology.

 

1992   The Nightway by James Faris for the American Anthropologist

 

1980  Art in Society:  Studies in Style, Culture, and Aesthetics.  Micahel Greehaigh and Vincent McGraw, eds. for the American Ethnologist  (December).

 

1971  Blessingway by Leland Wyman in the American Anthropologist.

 

Film Reviews

 

1973  The Navajos:  Fight for Survival.  A BBC Production.  Reviewed for the American Anthropologist.

 

Research Reports

 

1986  "The Navajo Area Dropout Study", co-authored with Paul Platero and Betsy Brandt.   Conducted for the Navajo Division of Education, Navajo Nation, Window Rock, Arizona.

 

1988  "Land and Livestock in Navajo Society and Culture", for the United States District Court for Arizona in regards to the law suit of the Hopi Tribe against the Navajo Tribe regarding the 1934 Reservation boundaries.

 

 

VIII.  ADMINISTRATIVE EXPERIENCE

 

1.      Assistant Director, 1966-68, Rough Rock Demonstration School.

 

         2.      Director, 1972-73, Borrego Pass School.

 

3.      Chairman, 1976-78, Graduate Program, University of Michigan.

 

         4.      Athletic Director, Navajo Academy, 1983-84.

 

         5.      Director, Navajo Language Institute, 1984-87.

 

IX.  Brief Biographical Sketch

 

         Gary Witherspoon was born in 1943 at Baltimore, Ohio.  In 1962 while attending Ohio State University as a history major, he was called to serve a two-year LDS mission in the Southwest Indian Mission.  He spent the next two years on the Navajo Reservation working with Navajo elders and learning to speak the Navajo language.

 

         After graduating from BYU, he became a Head Start teacher at Houck, Arizona in the ONEO program on the Navajo Reservation.  When the Rough Rock Demonstration School was started in 1966, Witherspoon went to work there, serving initially as Director of Community/School Relations and later as Director of the Navajo Culture Curriculum Center.  Later, he taught at the Navajo Community College, started the Borrego Pass Contract School, and headed the Navajo Language Institute at the Navajo Academy in Farmington, NM.

 

         Amidst 15 years residence and work on the Navajo Reservation, Gary has also been active in several areas and institutions of Higher Education.  His academic pursuits led to work on an MA in Indian Education at ASU and an MA and Ph. D. in Anthropology at the University of Chicago.  Witherspoon has taught at Yale University, the University of Michigan, and is currently Professor of Anthropology and American Indian Studies and anthropology at the University of Washington, Seattle, Wa.  He has been at UW since 1987.

 

         Professor Witherspoon has published extensively.  His publications include six books and more than 25 professional articles.  His most noted publication, Language and Art in the Navajo Universe, won several awards and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.  Language and Art in the Navajo Universe was listed by the New York Review of Books as one of the top 100 books published in the field of anthropology in the 20th century.  His latest work is titled Dynamic Symmetry and Holistic Asymmetry in Navajo and Western Art and Culture.

 

         Gary Witherspoon is married to the former Nellie Nabahe of Naschitti, NM.  They have five children and 15 grandchildren.  With his wife Nellie, he is also a rancher.  They own Witherspooons’ Nizhoni Herefords, a registered Hereford Ranch.  The genetically superior stock they have developed over the last 30 years have not only been in demand throughout North America, but have also been shipped to numerous countries in South America, Africa, Europe and Australia.

 

In 2001, one of Gary’s articles in the American Anthropologist in 1973 was selected for the 100th year special edition of the American Anthropologist as one of the best and most representative articles in the first 100 year history of the American Anthropologist, the principal journal of the American Anthropological Association.

 

Gary has worked on four previous ethnographic films:  The first was “The Long Walk for Education” in 1968, the second was “Navajo Girl” in 1973, the third was “The Seasons of a Navajo” in 1983, and the fourth was “The Children of Changing Woman” in 1987.   In the last few years, he bas been working with friends and colleagues in producing a number of videos for educational purposes.

 

2002   Emergence in Southwest Native Histories (this video is used in instruction in Indian Studies in my classes at the UW, in classes at Dine College and at the University of Arizona.

 

2004     The Mountain Creation Song  (This is an animated version of the mountain creation song recorded by me in 1969, but the visual animation has just been added to it.  I have not released it to general public use yet because it is a ceremonial song and I want to make sure some Navajos do not find it objectionable.  I have sent it to family members of the person who sang if for me when it was recorded.  This person is no longer alive.  The family has been very supportive of the idea and the animated presentation.  They are using it to teach the song to their children.  I have used it in my classes at UW.)

 

2004    Dine Weaving  This is a 40 minute broadcast quality DVD used in several schools and universities regarding.  It was in the Stars in the Desert Film Festival in 2004 and is in the Heard Museum Film Festival in 2005.

 

2005     Sense and Essense:  Four Views.  This is a 30 minute video of an

art exhibit by the same name at the Beasely Fine Arts Gallery, Northern Arizona University.  This video is being used in classes at UW and at Yavapai College