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New coordinator of Preservation & Technology selected

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Nation selects new Preservation and Technology Center coordinator

By Don Decker, YAN News      07/09/18

Chasen Ross, YAN member was named the new coordinator of the Preservation and Technology Center (P&TC). The P&TC is located in the cultural center where craft displays, historical archives and special collections are stored.

Chasen Ross, Nation member, was selected as the new Preservation and Technology Center coordinator for the Nation. Mr. Ross comes from a long line of Apache historians, language specialists and tribal leaders. He holds several college degrees in the area for which he was selected.

Mr. Ross is replacing the late Judy Piner who was the director for several years.

Mr. Ross is the son of Lillian Raven Ross of Camp Verde and the grandson of the late Rebecca Smith Pavatea who led the need to preserve the Apache language for many years. Rebecca started the beginnings of the language revitalization program for the Yavapai-Apache community and this program has become the core of the cultural center’s activities.

Mr. Ross’s great grandparents are the late Tom and Lilly Smith.

With a comprehensive educational background, Mr. Ross said he is ready to assume the responsibilities of archiving the culture and language of the Yavapai and Apache people for the Nation.

Mr. Ross graduated from Central High School in Phoenix and enrolled in Phoenix College where he first majored in Psychology. Subsequent to that, he switched his major to fine arts with courses in music, media arts and graduated with an Associate of Arts in Fine Arts. While at Phoenix College, he completed course work in sound recording and engineering. In addition, he completed classes in music theory and completing his liberal arts studies requirements.

Mr. Ross is a proficient guitar player learning on his own and then moving up to studying classical guitar while at Phoenix College. His favorite past-time now is playing heavy metal riffs on his electric guitar.

After Phoenix College, he enrolled at Arizona State University on the west campus in Glendale where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mixed Media.

“They had a program there that was in my area of concentration in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance and that’s where I got into filmmaking, editing, cinematography, directing and doing some score work (musical themes to accompany motion pictures). I got my hands pretty deep in the mix there,” said Mr. Ross.

After Arizona State University and a brief break for a year, Mr. Ross enrolled at the newly established Zaki Gordon Film School in Sedona in 2007 to study ‘narrative film-making’ in a one year program.

He received a Masters Certification in Narrative Filmmaking at the Sedona.

And if that wasn’t enough, Mr. Ross returned to Tempe in the Phoenix area where he enrolled in the Conservatory for Recording Arts and Sciences, one of the top schools in the Nation for sounding recording for record and film industry.

“It was a very fast-paced 30-week program and 30 weeks seemed like it took forever. Literally, there were no days off. You’re in school 6 days a week learning all aspects of recording engineer. The school is considered very prestigious and if you graduate from there, you’ve really done something,” said Mr. Ross about his intensive training.

In addition to his classroom training, Mr. Ross was also required to perform over 300 plus hours of internships to complete his sound recording school requirements. “After you complete the program, the internship shows that you know your area of expertise,” he added.

If there was penance to be performed for learning the trade of sound mixing and recording, the 300+hour internship was the ultimate sacrifice for Mr. Ross.

To meet his internship requirements, he volunteered in small clubs around Tempe to mix their sounds for rock-n-roll bands and atmospheric music.

“If there was a show going on, I would call up and assist in setting up the microphones, working with the sound mixing for the performances and call up various recording studios for volunteer work,” said Mr. Ross.

With all of these experiences and education, Mr. Ross is ready.

He wants to create enthusiasm for children to learn the language by getting them out of the classroom and using a style that is more conducive to learning. Mr. Ross has a vision for his new role as the keeper of traditional languages and culture of the Yavapai and Apache.

“What I’d like to do in one of the areas of my focus is to hone in bridging the gaps between our elders and our youth in passing our language. I think I can do that via the technology that we have here, to make it less of a classroom environment for the children.  I think that’s where a lot of the adversity to learning a language and culture comes from—it’s done too much in a classroom environment,” he said.

This will require more hands-on experiences for children and Mr. Ross pointed out a language learning activity that involves an immersion process where elders communicate only in their respective languages to communicate with new language learners during these language classes.

This activity could revolve around a cooking class where the directions and questions are asked only in the native language according to Mr. Ross. “So, the elder will not speak one word of English but only in the respective language Yavapai or Apache.” he said.

“If you can make this fun, make it creative with more hands-on, and because of technology—the kids want to get their hands-on cameras, the computers and that’s the avenue of learning now,” said Mr. Ross.

Mr. Ross worked closely with the late Judie Piner for about 5 years at the Nation’s P&TC on a part-time basis. Recently, with a contract with the Nation, he has undertaken the task of downloading raw recordings of council meetings from 1999 to 2012 and transferred them to CD archives which has taken him over a year.

With just 25 tapes left of the some 1500 tapes he transferred to CDs, Mr. Ross will finally assume his full-time role as coordinator of the P&TC for the Nation which will enhance the overall objectives of his department.

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