CHAPTER Combine the talents of about 20 Hardrock Chapter
youths with two soon-to-be sophomores from MIT, and the Web site
creation possibilities are wondrous.
Bershteyn and Kaia Dekker came to the Navajo Nation this summer
straight from the famed engineering school's hallowed grounds in
Cambridge, Mass., to help Carol Halberstadt, a fellow easterner
from Newton, Mass., improve her Churro wool-buying coop's Web site,
www. migrations.com. The successful wool buy was held June 20-21
with 3,500 pounds of wool bought.
Bershteyn and Dekker also had another set of plans in mind when
they came out to Hardrock to live with Halberstadt in a spacious
hogan. They entailed installing MIT's donation of a dozen PC-type
computers at the chapter, then training youths how to create simple
yet rewarding Web work. The two collegians have also been offering
adults from the area one-on-one computer literacy tutorials. The
lessons have been as simple as how to open a program.
have been a few minor glitches along the way, as is often the case
when high tech has to travel a few thousand miles. With the sweltering
heat this summer has brought to the Navajo Nation, it's more critical
than ever that computers stay cool or they can have a "meltdown"
fast. The computer room at the chapter was dangerously hot for a
time, but a large air conditioner was ordered to keep the hard drives
the computers are drawing so much power, they're having to rewire
the chapter," Bershteyn said.
of the first of about 20 students to complete a Web site in just
a few days was 9-year-old Tara Simonson. That didn't surprise Tara's
mom, Lorraine Herder, who said her daughter always takes education
seriously, even when it's supposed to be a fun summer project.
how she is," Herder said. "Even at home, she (Tara) is
reading all the time, a real bookworm. She gets her homework done
before everybody else. She's real responsible at a young age."
the MIT sophs' guidance, the Hardrock students have used art images,
such as scanned family photographs, and a simple text editor program
to write Hyper Text Markup Language, or HTML, for Web site design.
On her opening Web page, the letters that spell "Tara Simonson"
glow with fiery embers all around them, a moving motif called Animated
GIF (Graphics Interface Format).
Web site design lingo and its mathematical side may take an MIT
engineering expert to understand. But the Hardrock students have
kept their Web creations down to earth, through their family ties,
hobbies, pets and even their goals in life. Above her name, Tara
has placed a photo of her grandma, 96-year-old Alice Nez. And next
to the photo arranged vertically are her four clans, starting with
her mom's Chishi, or Chiricahua Apache and her father's clan, Tl'izilani,
the Many Goats Clan.
Simonsons and Herders are a farm-oriented Navajo family living about
10 miles north of the Hardrock Chapter House, which is reflected
in Tara's Web site. They own horses, Churro sheep, dogs and a pair
of pigs that offered up some new piglets a few weeks ago. They also
raise corn and pick fruit from their apple and peach trees.
don't know much what a 'Web page' is, but these little ones, they're
learning," Hardrock Chapter President Percy Deal said.
praised Bershteyn and Dekker for helping the chapter with its computer
literacy, saying "It takes a special people willing to come
out here. They could have stayed in Boston."
technology and all it can do even for remote Navajo chapters is
starting to take hold on the Navajo Nation, albeit slowly, Deal
said. The chapter's Community Health Representatives can use the
Internet capability on site to send their reports to Window Rock.
There is also a plan to connect a telemedicine link with the Indian
Health Service hospital in Tuba City.
how well the Hardrock Chapter folks have taken to their tech push,
Bershteyn and Dekker may return again to do more assistance in the
future. Students like Simonson have been that prospect inviting
(Tara) is very intense and focused, with a lot of maturity,"
students are not actually having their Web sites entered into the
World Wide Web, not yet, anyway. That's for safety reasons. There
may be a chance that their sites may be accessible to other students
as part of a local linkup.