A Posting by Sue Begay, Emerging Artisan
One trip that our NCAC cohort took recently was to Tuba City, Arizona. Tuba City is on the western portion of the Navajo Nation and is also home to one of the Diné College sites. The trip itself was educational. As part of our NIS 185 - Navajo Cultural Arts Business Systems class, we headed out to Tuba City to learn about the Navajo Shoe Game (keshjéé’), why we play it (which is only during the winter), and how ceremonial games are significant to our professions (hence the trip as part of our NIS185 class). Mr. Thomas Yellowhair, Mr. Avery Denny, and Mr. James McKenzie patiently taught us stories, songs, and rules of the shoe game. All of the teachers were eager to teach so much so that we also learned how to play the Navajo stick game called tsi’ dil’. And unlike keshjéé’, tsi’ dil’ can played anytime of the year.
Our trip to Tuba City brought the NCAC students closer with each other and closer to the NCAP mission of intergenerational teachings. For me, the most important part is that we got to know the individuals in our emphasis groups on a more personal basis. While we have class together, it was really nice to travel, eat, and share in another area of the cultural arts together.
Once again – I can always count on my cultural arts to help me meet new people and learn great activities. This is why I take my projects with me everywhere I go whenever possible. I treat my art work like one of my children – talking with them, feeding them, caring for them (never leaving them in a hot vehicle). They will keep you company and you will never feel alone.