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NABIN good health



A Creative & Colorful Expression of Navajo Beauty Kevina Donaghey WOTN 2007

“Congratulations” Class of 2017 • 6 Dr. Daisy Thompson Convocation speech • 8 NABIN: CHANGE LABS 2017 • 10 GOOD HEALTH WITH TEKAyLE • 18 WOTN models for 2018 • 20 model VTORA • 34 BLAST FROM THE PAST • 48 ARTIST: CHRISTIAN BIGWATER • 56 SUNRISE DANCE • 62

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Albuquerque Public School Indian Education Director Inspires 2017 UNM Native Graduates Convocation Speech by Dr. Daisy Thompson • May 10, 2017 I would like to thank (Dr. Greg Cajete and the American Indian Studies Department) for the invitation to this special event. I am honored to be here before such outstanding distinguished scholars. It is humbling to see many of you in the audience as I’ve read some of your work and I truly esteem your knowledge. Before I go further, I extend my greetings, Ya a teeh, and good evening to the graduating class of 2017 and friends, faculty, and families. And to establish relationship and kinship, I am of the Tobacco Red Streak into the Water clan and born for the salt clan. My maternal and paternal grandparents are of the Towering house clan. I was born in Winslow, AZ and raised in Teesto, AZ which is located southwest of Hopi). Many of you represent multiple families, tribes, and clans. We are all related through multiple ways; we are never alone because we have kinship through clan, tribe, or marriage. Here you are today celebrating your educational achievement. You possibly felt at times when you looked forward to your graduation day, that it seemed so far away, and that the work to get here was a huge challenge. Just the fact that you are here shows you possess the characteristics of strong values, identity, hard work, determination and resilience. As you go forth from this evening into different occupations, remember those who supported you and backed you to this point. Also remember the children and youth who look up to you in your homes and your communities. Remember to keep your identity strong by keeping your culture and languages strong. Let us not forget who we are as a people. Back in 1744 during 8 WOTN - JUNE 2017

the Treaty of Lancaster, Canas’sa’ tego explained that different nations had different conception of things in life, when he spoke of the White Man’s kind of education. He stated that some young people from his community went to colleges and were instructed in the Sciences. But when they came back to the community they were bad runners, ignorant of living in the woods, didn’t know how to build cabins, take a deer, kill an enemy, and were unable to bear cold or hunger. And said they were now unfit to be hunters, warriors, and counselors and had become good for nothing. That was the concept of book learning by our elders back then and some still have that belief today. In my past, my mother, used to view education as a waste of youthful years until she realized there was a connection between education and employment (a good job). Currently, the concept of warrior include leaders, doctors, lawyers, engineers, and those who have attained college degrees and hold good careers. I encourage you

to go forth with the same strong characteristics that got you to this point (strong values, identity, hard work, determination and resilience). As Native American people we’ve been put down and told we wouldn’t amount to much, we’ve been told that we have the highest dropout rate, the highest truancy and absenteeism rates, and the lowest academic achievement rates, and the lowest graduation rate. Our selfconfidence have been challenged and voices not considered, however, our spirits were never crushed and we never stayed down for long. We’ve continued our journeys by getting back up and shaking off the dust, striving forward and climbing further than the last time. As a five year old, I lived with my great grandmother in our hogan. There were two bags of ground corn that hung on both sides of our front doorway. On the right, hung the white corn and on the left, the yellow corn. She would awaken me at dawn to pray. With the bag of white corn in hand we would go outside and walk a short distance east of our hogan. We each took a handful of the ground corn, and stood praying (grandmother prayed and I listened and imitated). We repeated the same process in the evening facing west a few feet from the hogan with the bag of yellow corn. During those prayers, my grandmother prayed the word “Są’a naghái bik’e hózhóon” which later came to mean harmony, balance, wellness and well-being. I realized years later that she had been praying these attributes into her children, her family, and her community. I believe that someone prayed for you the characteristics you now possess just as my great grandmother did back then.

To retrieve my Indian spirit I began reaching back to my early years with my great grandmother, reviewed research literature related to cultural relevant pedagogy, and read books and research by Indigenous writers and researchers such as those here. I encourage you to not forget your roots and foundations as a Native American. Our children and grandchildren need us to teach them the cultural values and our rich heritage that identifies us. Let not lose our gifts of languages and our cultural possession. These are what identifies us to the greater world, it is the center of who we are as a nation of proud people. Let not our children be ashamed of who they are and where they come from. A number of years ago, the realization dawned on me that throughout the course of my education and career my Indian eyes had closed and along with it my connection to my cultural foundation. With closed Indian eyes, I no longer strove to teach from the heart nor advocated, nor sought use of cultural teachings. I had abandoned my cultural responsibility because I had been westernized, institutionalized and colonized. The realization bothered me. To retrieve my Indian spirit I began reaching back to my early years with my great grandmother, reviewed research literature related to cultural relevant pedagogy, and read books and research by Indigenous writers and researchers such as those here. The search revealed that my greatgrandmother had instilled a firm foundation of cultural responsibility and that my Indian heart and spirit were never lost, they only had to be reopened.

define what we meant when we said “sociocultural” learning. There was reflection back to my early years of education and thought about how I learned to read and write. Ways of how I learned English while maintaining my Native language and thought about the methods my teachers (i.e., father, elders, great grandmother and mother) used to teach me. It has been many years now when my colleagues and I started on this path. Education now has a new meaning to me and I realize the much work that still needs to be done. There is a need for research and information on methodologies that will help teachers increase knowledge about delivery of instruction and methods that are effective with our Native American children. There is a need for advocacy, appropriate leadership and teachers who are equipped to truly help our children. As we build up young men and women in our educational institutions they too will reap benefits and realize that education will extend opportunities beyond their wildest imaginations and provide substantive careers.

on course without giving up. With mastery comes self-confidence, which is an attitude of standing up within one’s self and saying “I can do this.” It is the inner motivation and drive that helps us reach our goals.

In closing, I would like to share four values that are dear to us as Native people. These are also known as “Są’a naghái bik’e hózhóon” by the Navajo people. These include belonging, mastery, generosity, and independence.

Daisy Thompson, Ph.D. Indian Education Director 6400 Uptown Blvd. NE., Suite 460W Albuquerque, NM 87110

I realized I did not want to be a brown-skinned educator advocating westernized methodologies in teaching and learning of Native American children. A renewed journey began for us in the delivery of education that was responsive to the Native American child’s learning style and we began to

Belonging is K’e, which brings relatives, closeness and feelings of wellbeing, being loved and accepted. This is what we desire. We feel “belonging” when we are greeted and welcomed and befriended.

Independence is taking risks, having choices and the desire to try something new. Responsibility is gained when we are given the opportunity to make decisions whether if it was right or wrong (big or small). Generosity is the need to give and share with others our time, attention, caring for someone, giving recognition, and giving of material things. And finally one last thing to you my brothers and sisters. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Congratulations to the class of 2017 and to everyone.

PH: 505-884-6392 FAX: 505-872-8849 Email: Thompson_dai@aps.edu

Mastery is when we succeed. Through persistence and staying JUNE 2017 - WOTN 9


The Native American Business Incubator Network (NABIN) and Catapult Design brought Change Labs 2017 to the Western Navajo Agency on June 2nd and 3rd at the Tuba City High School Pavilion. Change Labs brings together change makers, thought leaders, and artists for a day of learning, collaboration, and creating. Workshop leaders from across the country as well as local social change leaders teach participants new methods and tools for launching a business or a project capable of solving social problems in reservation communities. Change Labs aims to create the right mix of people who are working toward creating change by implementing fresh ideas utilizing technology, efficiency, innovation, and traditional knowledge. This year Change Labs incorporated the Innovation Challenge and a three-hour workshop on “Mapping the Navajo Entrepreneurial Journey.� In the workshop, the participants identified and categorized a variety of barriers Navajo entrepreneurs face when starting a business on the Navajo Nation as well as generated ideas for possible solutions to overcome the most prominent barriers. The discussion started at Change Labs continues to evolve as the environment changes and new opportunities arise.

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Shayla Yellowhair gives her pitch for the Innovation Challenge. JUNE 2017 - WOTN 11

Cynthia Frank gives her pitch for the Innovation Challenge.

INNOVATION CHALLENGE In January, NABIN and Catapult Design launched the Innovation Challenge to identify Native entrepreneurs with business ideas to improve life in Native American communities. At Change Labs the six finalists completed the final round of the Innovation Challenge by pitching their business idea to a panel of judges. All six finalists are awarded one year of business incubation from the NABIN program. The top three finalists also won $5,000 cash to launch their business. Over the next year, NABIN will work with each business to start, launch, and prepare for growth. Starting a business on the Navajo Nation is tough, but there are great opportunities to provide products and services to our communities and build a great business. For more information and to connect with Change Labs initiatives please see the website at www.catapultlabs.org.

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Sage Bond wraps up Change 2017 with her soulful song.

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David Lehr explains business opportunities in franchising.

Daniel Vandever discusses using the clan system to identify your brand.

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Change Labs participants share innovative ideas with each other.

NABIN is led by a group of individuals who see that powerful and meaningful change

is possible if Native entrepreneurs are nurtured in a supportive environment. The team recognizes that people who receive developmental support will experience higher rates of success and greater upward mobility,

Natasha is the Program Manager for the Grand Canyon Trust’s Native American Business Program, where she launched the Native American Business Incubator Network in 2012. She is also the Associate Director of the Colorado Plateau Foundation, which provides grants to strengthen Native-led organizations dedicated to sustaining land, water and cultures on the Colorado Plateau. Natasha formerly was legislative staff assistant for the Navajo Nation Office of the Speaker.

Adrian is the Incubator Coordinator. She joined the Grand Canyon’s Trust Native America Program in the spring of 2014 to provide marketing support for NABIN. Prior to working with the Trust. Adrian co-founded the Navajo Women’s Energy Project and helped establish the non-profit organization, Eagle Energy, on the Navajo Nation. From 2013 to 2015, she worked in communities in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah to make affordable solar technology available to people without grid access.

Jessica is NABIN’s lead Business Counselor. A business consultant with over ten years’ experience, she is a Certified Small Business Counselor with the Small Business Development Center at Northland Pioneer College. She has served as adjunct faculty in the Small Business Management department of Northland Pioneer College, and worked as a Procurement Specialist for the National Indian Enterprise Development Procurement Assistance Center.


NABIN is guided by a vision of a vibrant economy for Native people in Northern Arizona, where innovation and creativity merge with culture and tradition. The program seeks to guide fledging entrepreneurs to their full potential by nurturing their ideas and igniting their ambitions.

The Native American Business Incubator Network aims to provide direct services to entrepreneurs by increasing capacity and by providing organizational training associated with principals of social entrepreneurship. Overall, NABIN seeks to play a role in the construction of a network for entrepreneurship that will serve to solve problems and build healthy economies for future generations. By meeting challenges head-on, and by encouraging local markets across the Colorado Plateau, NABIN hopes to invigorate artisans and entrepreneurs to strive for an economy that is ecologically cognizant and compatible with Native culture. [ For more info about NABIN, visit www.nativeincubator.org ]

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Many young girls look at photos of beautiful women and wonder how they could look like a model. To find out, WOTN asked one of the lovely ladies who will be featured in the 2018 Women of the Navajo Calendar. By Bonnie Kline 18 WOTN - JUNE 2017

When Tekayle Bitsilly was growing up in the Chinle area, she had her share of compliments, but says she still had a low self-image. This was especially so after her son was born. People would tell Tekayle that she “bounced back so quick” after her pregnancy, but she was not happy with her body. She admired an ­­­­­­­­­­aunt who looked quite fit at age 40. Tekayle told her, “You look amazing, even after two kids, how do you do it?” Her Aunt told her about a friend who was featured on the WOTN calendar and encouraged Tekayle to strive for it. With modeling as a goal and her aunt as an inspiration, Tekayle told herself, “Okay, I can look better.” She started to improve her body. For many people, that would involve losing weight, but Tekayle didn’t want to look any thinner; she just wanted to look more toned. Consistency and Focus in Working Out At the time, Tekayle was working 12-hour shifts and going to college, so she didn’t have much time to exercise. Luckily, there was a gym at the Dine’ College in Tsaile, Arizona that she could go to immediately after class. It became a habit and after three months Tekayle saw some definition in her quadrupeds. Still frustrated with her progress, Tekayle asked a friend at the gym what she was doing wrong. He helped her set up a workout plan and suggested she drop the cardio; Tekayle had been running nearly every day, a carryover from her high-school track and field days. Running kept her fit, but too slender, at least in her own opinion. She followed the advice and has concentrated instead on weights, working her way up to lifting 195 pounds. Consistency in exercising is one secret to her success. It has become so engrained that she drives two hours for a 45-minute workout. Since she has so little time, she stays focused, rather than wasting time looking at her phone or taking selfies. Understanding Food Tekayle also started caring about what she ate. As a child she loved hot Cheetos; if her grandparents would get them, she could eat a whole bag every other day. Luckily, she has never liked soda or chocolate. Lately, she has been taking a nutrition class online and learning about which foods help a body function. She now reads the back labels on her food and takes supplements such as protein and BCA (Branch Chain Amino Acids) when working out.

Although she doesn’t deprive herself of something she really wants, Tekayle limits the quantity. Plus, she now eats plenty of vegetables and stays away from fatty foods such as fry bread. Being a good example for her five-year-old son, Koen, helps remind Tekayle and her fiancé Kevin to eat healthy. Koen has picked up some other healthful habits; at a young age, he started copying his parents by lifting two-pound weights and he loves doing pushups - 20 at a time. Eating right and lifting weights is helping Tekayla achieve her goals: her weight has increased from 117 pounds to 123 pounds; she nicely fills out a size-one pair of jeans; she started her modeling career with Thunderbird Supplies; and – as she set out to do – Tekayla has been chosen for the 2018 Women of the Navajo Calendar. JUNE 2017 - WOTN 19

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Quimayousie navajo/hopi

Native Model, 22 YO 5’ 7” • 122 # Dilkon, Arizona

Photography by Rona Yazzie 34 WOTN - JUNE 2017

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Cheyenne haudley Yazza • Red rock, NM marlinda • Chinle, Az FASHION BY: FAshiion By:NAVAJO NavajoSPIRIT Spirit

www.rosettelaw.com www.pacepacific.com 1-602-437-8729

www.thunderbirdsupply.com www.thunderbirdsupply.com

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daylight savings

martin Luther King Day

election day


New Year’s Day

veteran’s Day

black friday

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By Bonnie Kline

While others will appreciate the artistic abilities of Christian Bigwater, Navajos will “get” his message, and recognize elements of daily life and familiar places.

“Pledge Allegiance to the Ach’ii” His paintings include red cliffs, horses, sheep, people and casinos. The symbolism in his artwork has meanings beyond what some people will recognize. For example “At the expense of 7” features elderly people spending their limited income at a slot machine showing “lucky sevens.” It is a subtle reference to the “Seven Deadly Sins.”

curvaceous cedars, horses, sheep and strong blue skies stamped themselves in his memory. They can be found in his paintings such as “Canyon de Chelly,” “Rain or Shine in Monument Valley,” “Hope, Peace, Chaos”and “His Name was Bah.” His first exposure to art was watching his father create clay figures resembling the horses and cows they often saw.

Christian loves to see the reaction of fellow Navajos to one of his favorite paintings. It resembles an American flag, but instead of a blue field of stars in the top left corner, it features a blue bird - the logo from the flour sacks they have been buying at trading posts for decades. The white stripes are ears of corn, end-to-end. But, it is the red stripes that cause a double take and amused chuckles. Viewers ask increduously, is that “achii?” referring to a mutton delicacy somewhat like sausage. Christian calls the piece “I Pledge Allegiance to the Achii.”

A teacher in high school, Mr. Merlin Yazzi, encouraged his interest through Art 1, Art 2 and Art 3 classes. Christian continued on through Art 4 and Art 5, classes that he suspects the teacher may have created with him in mind. Christian’s interest in art was further fueled when he won a first place ribbon in an art contest, and even more when his teacher took a silver bracelet he had created to the Heard Museum and came with cash, saying “It sold!”

Some artists have a recognizable style and subject matter – many variations on the same theme. Christian Bigwater moves from one medium to another, using whatever technique he is interested in at that moment. The subject is whatever inspires him. He is an artist in search of a challenge, and once he has mastered it, he moves on to something new, from oil paints to computer generated art to silversmithing to music. But one thing that permeates his art is his tie to the Navajo reservation and his heritage. He was born of the Kinlicheeni (Red House-Zia) Clan, for the Totsonii (Big Water) Clan, and grew up at Canyon de Chelly. Images of sheer canyon walls,

After that, Christian went on to get a B.S. Degree in Marketing Administration from Northern Arizona University, which has helped in promoting his artwork. It also helps that he designs websites for himself and others. What has helped him the most, though, is the helpful advice of other artists, particularly at art shows. Christian’s art has been in shows at the Navajo National Museum, the Gallup Indian Ceremonial, Gallup Arts Crawl, Santa Fe, and Los Angeles. It has also been on display at the Gallup Coffee Shop and can be found on his Facebook page and at his website: www.christianbigwater.com. Or, look for him at the art shows. You’ll need to look closely though, because Christian Bigwater’s art is constantly evolving. And, it just may have some deeper meaning. JUNE 2017 - WOTN 57

CHRISTIAN BIGWATER www.christianbigwater.com

“Paint Warrior Horse Blu #2”

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CHRISTIAN BIGWATER www.christianbigwater.com

“Self Portrait #1”

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CHRISTIAN BIGWATER www.christianbigwater.com

Ahesdebah Bia • Warrior Woman 1906-2000

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CHRISTIAN BIGWATER www.christianbigwater.com

“Rain or Shine in Monument Valley”

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