So, people don't want to talk about the long walk...

That's okay!! And that's totally normal. Some people don't know about the Long Walk: maybe they were never told about it, maybe it's too painful for their families to talk about. Whatever the reason, it's okay if they don't want to. This also is an important part of the story-- the resistance to talk about it, and the not knowing about it.

what to do next?

First of all, keep recording. Try to ask them WHY... This might feel uncomfortable, but if you feel safe in your experience, be a little persistent. Come from a place of curiosity.

You can acknowledge that it feels uncomfortable. Be yourself! You could say something like: "I know this is hard stuff to talk about. I am so grateful that you are sharing your time and perspective with me."

Switch to another question. Maybe they have some thoughts on the Navajo Nation Treaty of 1868 instead. Maybe you ask them about what it's like to be Navajo today and what does that identity mean to them. What are they proud of in the history of their family?

If they really, really won't talk with you-- once you leave, try recording your own audio diary about the experience. When you are alone in your car or your room, turn on the recorder and talk about what that feels like, why do you think they won't talk, how does that relate to this larger story about history and memory and resilience?


This is also super normal! Part of this is because you are asking them questions that make them feel very vulnerable, or make them question their past, and their family.

If you feel like what they are saying could be important for the story and you can find a moment to comfortably say something like, "I understand how hard this is. What you are saying is so interesting and important. May I please turn on the recorder again to continue our conversation?"

If that doesn't feel comfortable, share in the conversation with them. See if you can ask another question and turn the recorder back on. Maybe a little later they will feel more comfortable. Maybe they won't. It's all okay.