Bilagáanaa niliigo’ dóó Kinyaa’áanii yásh’chíín. Bilagáanaa dabicheii dóó Tsinaajinii dabinálí. Ákót’éego diné asdzáá nilí. Farina King is “Bilagáanaa” (Euro-American), born for “Kinyaa’áanii” (the Towering House Clan) of the Diné (Navajo). Her mother is of English-American descent from Michigan, and her father is Navajo from the Gallup, New Mexico checkerboard region of Diné Bikéyah (Navajoland). Her maternal grandfather was European-American, and her paternal grandfather was “Tsinaajinii” (Black-streaked Woods People Clan) of the Diné. Farina was born in Tuba City, Arizona and lived on the Navajo reservation as a small child, until her family moved to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area where her father worked for the Indian Health Services.
During the 2016-2017 academic year, Farina was The David J. Weber Fellow for the Study of Southwestern America at the Clements Center for Southwest Studies of Southern Methodist University. She earned her Ph.D. in U.S. History at Arizona State University in 2016. Her first book, The Earth Memory Compass: Diné Landscapes and Education in the Twentieth Century, was published by the University Press of Kansas in October 2018.
She was the Charles Eastman Dissertation Fellow (2015-2016) at Dartmouth College. She received her M.A. in African History from the University of Wisconsin and a B.A. from Brigham Young University with a double major in History and French Studies. She has studied several languages including French, Portuguese, Yoruba, Wolof, and Navajo, and she plans to learn more languages in the future.
Her main area of research is colonial and post-colonial Indigenous Studies, primarily Indigenous experiences of colonial and distant education. Farina has written and presented about Indigenous Mormon experiences in the twentieth century, drawing from some interviews that she conducted for the Latter-day Saint Native American Oral History Project at the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies. Her research traces the changes in Navajo educational experiences through the twentieth century, using a hybrid approach of the Diné Four Directions. Her greatest inspirations are her family, especially her children. Other than learning different languages and having fun with her family, Farina loves to sing, dance, and travel.
Learn about the Clements Center through this past newsletter (click link). See also this coverage of “Why Standing Rock Matters” forum that Farina helped to organize: Clements Center Spring 2017 Newsletter (click link).