Storytelling on a Navajo Reservation

Stretching across modern day Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, the Navajo Nation is the largest federally recognized tribe in the United States. With its own independent judicial system, law enforcement, social services, and educational trusts, this sovereign Indian nation also operates its own autonomous school system and colleges. FWB Fellows are based in a community school in Pueblo Pintada, New Mexico, working directly with Navajo youth to explore traditional Native American values and heritage through the filmmaking process.

Country Information

Program Overview

FILMMAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS works directly with Navajo students at the Tse’ Yi’ Gai High School in the Navajo Indian Reservation located in Pueblo Pintada, New Mexico. Together, FWB and the Navajo Nation utilize the filmmaking process to prepare students to be creative, knowledgeable, and productive members of a global society while maintaining their language and culture. Funds covering all airfare, housing, and food is provided for 1 academic year.

FILMMAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS works closely with the Gallup McKinley County Schools System in order to provide media and technology instruction to students at the Tse’ Yi’ Gai High School. Additionally, participants work directly with Navajo youth across the community to provide a challenging, positive learning environment in which they can explore the intersection of tradition and technology.  

Volunteers in the Navajo Nation program must:

  • NOTE: This program is limited to US-citizens only
  • Be eligible to work in the US
  • Be a native or native-level English speaker
  • Have a bachelor’s degree
  • Have at least 2 years of film-related and/or teaching experience
  • Be highly flexible, mature, and have a genuine interest in teaching

FILMMAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS has a rolling admissions process for all of our programs. However, we strongly encourage you to apply as early as possible to strengthen your chances of acceptance into your chosen program. All application materials including your personal statement, resume, references, and transcripts must be submitted by the application deadline.

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Host Organizations

Gallup-McKinley County Schools is a school district based in Gallup, New Mexico which serves students from Gallup and surrounding areas of McKinley County.
High schools
Crownpoint High School, Crownpoint
Gallup High School, Gallup
Miyamura High School, Gallup
Navajo Pine Middle/High School, Navajo
Ramah Middle/High School, Ramah
Thoreau High Middle/School, Thoreau
Tohatchi Middle/High School, Tohatchi
Tse’Yi’Gai Middle/High School, Pueblo Pintado
Middle schools
Chief Manuelito Middle School, Gallup
Crownpoint Middle School, Crownpoint
Gallup Middle School, Gallup
John F. Kennedy Middle School, Gallup
Thoreau Middle School, Thoreau

Travel & Housing

FILMMAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS and its partners secure a monthly stipend for all participants. This stipend will cover the cost of flights and housing for one academic year. Participants will live together in apartments or houses.

Living & Teaching in the Navajo Nation

FWB participants teach Navajo students in collaboration with Tse’Yi’Gai’s community and youth development projects.

Dates & Deadlines

  • Program Dates: August 2017 – May 2018
  • Priority Application Deadline: April 15th, 2017
  • Final Application Deadline: May 15th, 2017
  • Additional Timetables 

Health & Safety

Our number one priority is the health and safety of participating filmmakers. In-country orientation includes discussion of health and safety issues and practical information to enable participants to stay safe and well. Throughout the year, your host community will serve as a support system for you as you navigate a new country. Although most of the countries where FILMMAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS works do not have medical facilities comparable to those in the United States, we avoid placing volunteers at sites that do not have access to adequate medical care. All Navajo Nation volunteers are provided access to medical insurance through the existing school-wide insurance plan. 

Financial Details

The Navajo Nation Program is fully funded but is structured slightly differently than other traditional FWB programs. Instead of directly covering costs, FILMMAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS and its partner organizations secure a monthly salary for all participants that covers the total cost of flights, housing, food, and insurance. However, participants are required to submit a fully-refundable $1000 deposit that will be returned to them upon completion of their 1 year contract.

Ready to teach filmmaking to Navajo students on a Native American reservation?  Apply Now!