NCAP Intern - Student Affairs Project for Success Internship Program
Hello my name is Kimberly Jake and I am from Ramah, NM. I am in my third semester of my Business Administration BA program at Diné College. So how did I end up becoming an intern at the NCAP? I happened to see a Student Affair Project for Success Internship Program's flyer advertising for students hires. I figured I’d give it a shot and see what happens. I interviewed and after an unbearable wait for a call back, I received a phone call telling me I was hired. I was pretty excited because I had no knowledge of what the NCAP was, where it was located, or what
N - C - A - P stood for 😂
My first day with the NCAP, I got to meet Crystal Littleben, project coordinator, and Sheryl Benally, program assistant. Later on during the week I got to meet Dr. Christine M. Ami who is the Program Manager. Dr. Ami covered my duties, expectations, and let me know it was a learning environment - I didn't realize how learning it would become 😁. When were introducing ourselves to one another I learned that Sheryl started out as an intern as well and that made me feel even more comfortable. I knew that there was room to grown in the program. After my first week, I felt as if I could feed off all their positive energies and I have to say I am glad that Student Affairs Project for Success Internship Program had placed me with NCAP, which I now know stands for the Navajo Cultural Arts Program 😂. All in all I was ready to learn something new and be a part of this awesome team.
I want to go back to Dr. Ami's comment about being a hands on learning opportunity for a moment!
In my first week of being an intern I helped out with NCAP's First Fridays at DC Libraries. February's event “Ribbon Pillowcase Workshop” was in Shiprock, NM at the Sen. John Pinto Library, South campus at Diné College. I set up the sewing machines, laid out materials, fabric glue, scissors, ribbons, and irons, and greeted participants as they walked in. Sheryl had asked me if I wanted to join in. I was hesitant at first because I had never sewn in my life nor had I ever used a sewing machine. I was intimidated for sure! 😥 The participants there were experienced and had been sharing their stories of how they learned to sew and what they had created. I toughened up and got my materials together. To my surprise I did not think I had to pick matching colors; I just assumed it was just done randomly ... but it was not. You get to be the creator of how your masterpiece will turn out. It’s the little things that mattered to bring my pillow out.
After I cut out 18x18 material, it was time to tackle the sewing. Boy was I scared to use the sewing machine because I did not want to break it or mess up the threading. The workshop leader Andrea Sekayumptewa was very kind, helpful, and patience. And thats what I have taken from from this ribbon pillow workshop - PATIENCE and POSITIVITY. I learned that it takes you put a lot of patience and good thoughts and energy into work like this. I notice this when I first started you could see that I was in a rush and my sewing was a bit all over the place. I was getting annoyed with how it was turning out, but after I took a break than came back to my sewing I came back with a positive attitude and better energy. After that break I started to realize and notice that my sewing was becoming straighter and I was getting more acquainted and comfortable with the sewing machine.
Being a part of the “Ribbon Pillowcase Workshop” making was an awesome experience. I am pleased to say that I feel more comfortable with using a sewing machine. When I showed my family members my finished ribbon pillowcase, they were surprised that I had the patience to do it. They gave me compliments and started telling me they wanted me to start making other things such as a ribbon shirt or skirt. It is a great feeling knowing that I accomplished making a pillow cause because at first
I wasn't so sure what I had gotten myself into. I didn't want to mess up the pillow. I'm glad everything turned out great. Who knows... I just might invest in a sewing machine and make my own creations!
I am have lots of fun working with the NCAP and I am excited for our upcoming events in silversmith work, basket making, weaving, and moccasin making. I am looking forward to learning more about how traditional Navajo cultural arts intertwine with modern living, the stories, the teachings and also the skills of how one comes up with so many beautiful pieces.
NCAP Intern - Student Affairs Project for Success Internship Program
Upon my first day with NCAP I met the program assistant Sheryl, who was very nice and also very busy. Despite her schedule, she set aside time to make me feel welcomed. When she introduced herself, I found out that she started with NCAP as an intern too! Sheryl let me know about the in's and out's of the Program as well as the current major project we were working on. It just so happened that the time I had joined the NCAP team was during the last week of preparations for the “Celebrating Cultural Arts Teaching: Silversmithing with Wilson Aronilth Jr.” exhibit opening. I have never had the opportunity to be apart of a big event like the exhibit before. It’s a different experience to be the person “behind the scenes”.
Now that the Navajo Cultural Arts Exhibit is in full swing, I’m learning about silversmithing. Which seems funny for me because my brother is a silversmith. Prior to the exhibit I wasn’t curious enough to ask my brother about it. Now I want to know more and, as part of my job, I have too! Here is where I am working out the kinks to my people skills. Everyday I practice my public speaking because, as part of the exhibit, I get the opportunity to give tours to visitors. My supervisor, Christine walked me through how to engage with visitors and gave me the backstories to each artisan’s work. She made it look so easy - the stories just rolled off her tongue. My confidence and body language didn't come off as natural the first time around but I have seen progression in myself and I intend to keep it that way.
I’m enjoying my internship with NCAP. I work with a great team and I’m honored to be apart of something that has so much cultural value behind it. I’m positive I will take away many skills that will have major benefits as a student, and in my future profession. I’m looking forward to upcoming events that NCAP has in store and completing the rest of my internship.
PS - The "Celebrating Cultural Arts Teaching: Silversmithing with Wilson" Exhibit just got extended to April 13th!!! Stop by for a tour and an application for our 4th Navajo Cultural Arts Certificate Cohort. Just ask for Jazzmine!
A Posting by Jovita Lee, NCAP Work Study Intern
Hello, again! It’s me, Jovita the work study intern for the Navajo Cultural Arts Program. This semester has been filled with tons of rewarding experiences and new opportunities for me. I learned not only how to organize, promote and host lectures and workshops…but I, Jovita Lee, wove a rug and a horse cinch! Yup … you heard that right! As part of my work study – I got some ridiculously awesome time in front of the NCAP looms. I had a whole bunch of teachers that helped me meet one of my work study objectives. The Spider Rock Girls taught me stories about the struggles and realities associated with weaving as a means of financial income. It was so surprising to me that they started at a young age. During their workshop I really got a feel of warping my own loom, spinning 3ply edge cords, and utilizing the weaving tools.
I sat in on Ilene Naegle’s cohort weaving class and she showed me how to spin the 2ply. I really enjoyed that because we made wool bracelet to help us make the spinning process easier. When I had time, I spent some of my days in NHC 101C, outside of the NCAP office, working on my rug. Diné College employees would walk by and check on my progress. I was always excited to let them know that that was my first rug. And its true – never did I think I would be weaving a whole rug and now I’m doing the impossible. It also gave me time to meet with some NCAP students and see their work. They are great artists, creative and funny, and just easy to get along with. So, if you see Ilene, Paula Begay, Kirena Clah, or Heather Williams stop and ask them about their projects. They are some down to earth souls that I enjoyed meeting and weaving with.
In addition to my hands on experiences at the loom, I attended the Navajo Cultural Week at the Naschitti Elementary School. I really enjoyed this experience because it was a community I was familiar with. Not only was it on my side of the mountain, but also because this is where my mother is originally from. I helped the Emerging Artisans set up in the library of the Naschitti Elementary School. It is a new building and despite the coldness, the stories being shared to the elementary students warmed up the room with smiles. This is where I first met the other NCAP students, the silversmiths and moccasin makers.
The Emerging artisans demonstrated to students ranging in age from 4 years old to 10 years old. While some kids were being….well kids…. For the most part the students were curious and wanting to touch the finished projects. I was able to see some of my own little relatives and watch how excited they got about these demos. The event was successful, filled with learning, and hands experiences for these students.
I learned some other practical skills during my work study….like how to transport a loom in a car…. #weaversproblems. I was asked to take my loom home so I could finish it up faster. I had to figure out how to fit the loom in my car, so I rig it where my trunk wouldn’t close. Driving past members of Wheatfields and Crystal was an experience that I will not forget anytime soon. Heads turned as I drove by and the tried to figure out what was in my trunk. Their faces made me chuckle. First time I ever did anything like that. I also became extremely aware of weather patterns. Let’s just say …. Driving with your trunk open makes way for major drafts.
In the end, working with NCAP I had the opportunity to meet all kinds of Diné College employees. From security guards, to instructors, community members, and students, I got the chance to see how our College functions on another level. Most impressive was the growth of cultural art skills – not only of the Emerging Artisans – but also of my own weaving skills.
Finishing my projects was the best feeling ever. I’ve never in my life felt so accomplish starting from nothing then learning how to roll wool to spending the evenings finishing my weavings. All this, in addition to being a full time student earning her BA degree and having my fulltime parenting responsibilities, I made my declaration of being super woman when I was done. My first ever rug - completed. My first ever horse cinch - completed. My first semester as a NCAP work study intern – completed. I’ll remember these experiences forever. I would like to thank the NCAP program for that. I hope next semester I am working with them again for more joyous fun filled opportunities. Who knows- maybe I’ll pick up silversmithing next semester ;)
A posting by Jovita Lee, NCAP Work Study Intern
Hello, my name is Jovita Lee. I am Diné College student pursuing my B.A. degree in Business Administration and as a student of the college, I recently was hired by the Navajo Cultural Arts Program (NCAP) as a work-study intern. When I received my assignment I made my way to NHC 101C, where the NCAP main office is located, to meet the grant manager, Christine Ami. I walked in and there were three ladies walking in circles around a table, unraveling yarn in to small balls. I did not know what to expect. But once I stepped in to the room of giggling ladies, who kinda looked like kittens chasing after balls of yarn, there was no turning back.
Christine told me to read up on the program through Facebook, Instagram and website to try to understand a little more about NCAP. The program missions statement states “The Navajo Cultural Arts Program (NCAP) intends to enhance and revitalize traditional Navajo cultural arts practices while providing opportunities for Navajo cultural arts knowledge holders and master artisans to share their unique skills in a multigenerational setting.” In order to do this…the program has 6 projects: a certificate program, a lecture series, a workshop series, an internship program, and a traveling exhibit. Through these projects NCAP provides their participants with the ability to learn unique traditional teachings, which I believe is core to our history and culture.
So as it turns out, the yarn I saw the ladies working on when I first walked into the NCAP office – not yarn… they were skeins of wool that were being prepared for the Emerging Artisans in NCAP weaving cohort. Now I take skeins home to roll. This has given my family big expectations. Every week I bring home a new bin of wool and now they are waiting for a finished product in the form of a giant colorful rug. I do have in-laws that weave but I have never taken the time to learn. I might have to sign up for one of the NCAP weaving workshops. There is one taking place on October 25th with the Spider Rock Girls so look out, family! ~ Jovita is going to come home with a mini weaving!!
Rolling wool is not all that I do. I do a lot of recruitment and I have tons of opportunity to meet all sorts of people. At the Navajo Nation Fair and Shiprock Fair I passed out flyers and NCAP goodies for the Dine College booth. These experiences have taught me how to better my communication skills with local community members and border town residents as I encouraged them to reconnect with their cultural arts. Working with the grant manager has also been very great. Christine is a super sweet lady with plenty of knowledge and I believe that I can get tons of experience and knowledge with NCAP and use those with my future endeavors.
So far this work-study experience has been great. It makes me want to take more NCAP and BASET classes so that I can put my B.A. teachings into real world experiences. I am looking forward to rest of the semester with the NCAP.