In honor of Native American Heritage Month, the CCSD Equity Council is touring all three locations in Newcomb, Shiprock and Kirtland to bring positive awareness and cultural identity to the surrounding communities.
Students representing the Equity Council from all four high schools will speak to their classmates and community this November. With Shiprock High School being its first destination, students spoke about the significance of the traditional belt and skirt, and awareness of missing indigenous women.
“We want to pass our Native American culture to our peers so it may get passed down from generation to generation,” said Danika Eve Silas Begay, a student from Shiprock High School. Students from the CCSD dual language program also joined the Equity Council.
Louis Lorenzo Tohonnie Yazzie presented first by telling the significance of the skirt and its relationship to the turkey. “My family has always had a deep connection with cultural roots. With the help of the Dual Language program, my family taught me to reconnect with my roots,” Louis said. They mentioned the skirt is separated into three tiers to resemble the first three sacred worlds, which are black, blue, and yellow. The three tiers can also represent the Tsii’yeel, as the length of your hair should fold three times. Then Danika spoke of the sash belt and its design similarities with the bullsnake story.
Danika Eve Silas Begay explaining the designs of the sash belt with the help of Louis Lorenzo Tohonnie Yazzie in Shiprock High School
Lastly, students Eli Secody and Deidre Penn worked together to provide statistics on missing indigenous women in the state and country. “I was shocked to see the numbers. It made me want to take a stand,” Eli responded when asked about the team’s research.
The equity council has made it clear that to preserve Navajo tradition, students and the community should refer to grandma’s teachings. So the equity council is asking others to post photos of their traditional attire and use the hashtag #formygrandma. “Let us keep our traditions alive. Wear it proud because now you know the story behind grandmothers’ traditional teachings,” said Donovan Russell, Equity Supervisor for CCSD, as he closed the event with final words.
Students from the Dual Language program standing together for a group photo with the hashtag #ForMyGrandma
The Equity Council would like to invite the general public to the last two events on Friday, November 11 at 9 a.m. in Newcomb High School and finish in Kirtland Central High School on November 18 at 10 a.m.