Indigenous lecture by Manuelito Wheeler, Navajo Nation Museum director

Manuelito Wheeler / Photo by Don James

Manuelito Wheeler, director of the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona, is the featured speaker in the spring 2016 Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community, presenting "Navajo Identity through Global Projects." The lecture is free of charge and open to the public.

Born and raised on the Navajo Nation, Manuelito Wheeler has been Director of the Navajo Nation Museum since 2008. He has worked with staff at the museum to see the completion of numerous exhibits which are 100 percent Native-built from concept, curation, and creation. Along with this, he has lead his team (of 8) in creating innovative projects which influence and preserve Navajo culture.

In the pursuit of native language preservation, the Navajo Nation Museum has partnered with major motion picture studios like Lucasfilm Ltd., Walt Disney Pictures and Deluxe Studios to dub popular movies into the Navajo language. The first collaboration resulted in a Navajo-language dub of the ever-popular science fiction film, Star Wars. Currently the museum is completing a Navajo-language dub of Disney's classic animation film Finding Nemo.

Under Wheeler's direction, the Navajo Nation Museum has also worked with world renowned artist Ai Weiwei, partnering him with Navajo artist Bert Benally to create a site-specific installation piece in a remote canyon on the Navajo Nation.

Wheeler attended Arizona State University from 1988-2003 where he earned bachelor's in art history. He is married to Jennifer Wheeler, PhD (Arizona State University) and they have two sons Waunekanez (currently attending Arizona State University) and Hataaliinez.

The Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community at Arizona State University addresses topics and issues across disciplines in the arts, humanities, sciences, and politics. Underscoring Indigenous American experiences and perspectives, this series seeks to create and celebrate knowledge that evolves from an inclusive Indigenous worldview and that is applicable to all walks of life.

ASU sponsors include: American Indian Policy Institute; American Indian Studies Program; Department of English; School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies; Indian Legal Program in the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law; Labriola National American Indian Data Center; School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation. The Heard Museum is our community partner.

Kristen LaRue
Heard Museum