Miss Navajo 2017-2018, Office of Miss Navajo Nation
I graduated with at B.A. in Psychology from of Northern Arizona University with a minor in Native American Studies. After my reign, I do plan to return to NCAP as the Project Coordinator to continue my work, educating our Navajo people about our cultural arts and language. But in the meantime - during my reign - I have been afforded the opportunity to bring my personal, professional, and educational experiences to the forefront through my pageant platform - improving the holistic well-being of Navajo communities through Navajo cultural arts, stories, and language. Before addressing some of my current and future reign projects, I wanted to take a moment to explain my understanding of Diné holistic well-being.
Preparing for the Miss Navajo Nation Pageant tested my abilities to follow this model and now I am implementing it as a pathway to holistic well-being for my reign. Starting in the east with our physical well-being, the Office of Miss Navajo Nation is building momentum as we continue working with and improving our emotional well-being in the south, mental well-being in the west, and spiritual well-being in the north.
The Miss Navajo 5K series shares their mission - that running can strengthen our Indigenous communities - and emphasizes that running can better themselves from physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual perspectives. The Diné women’s puberty ceremony, for example, challenges our young women to run towards the east every morning as an act of physical endurance, emotional balance, mental strength, and spiritual connection. The participants of the Miss Navajo 5K series are asked to face these same challenges during their runs. Even in the manner that the runs have been planned out took into account the holistic geography. Beginning in an Eastern location (Sanders), the runs will follow circular path around the Navajo Nation (Dilkon, Tuba City, Shiprock, Tsaile, and Fort Defiance). Following this model, younger generations can experience how our well-being is interconnected within this framework and helps us remain in balance with ourselves and the physical and spiritual worlds.
I first became aware of these components as I picked up the art of silversmithing when I joined NCAP. Taking workshops and classes, I had to connect to my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self in order to learn and practice with traditional stones, wool, tools, and designs. I found that when one was out of balance, I had difficulties concentrating, my designs wouldn't come quickly, and my work was rough and required extra filing. Some of my stressors included school pressures, family struggles, personal challenges, and even worrying about my puppies. Once I stopped avoiding my stressors and addressed those issues head on with the purpose of finding a solution, my work was directly impacted in a positive fashion. I gained confidence not only as silversmith but also as a Diné woman. While I understand that these pieces can be created without the cultural connections, I am seeking to better understand and support a holistic approach to the cultural arts.
In collaboration with the NCAP, the OMNN has created this Navajo Cultural Arts Holistic Well-Being Blog Series to showcase the importance of my platform. Over the next 6 weeks, we plan to release a blog that addresses one cultural arts emphasis and its holistic components each week. With help from the Diné College Psychology Bachelor of Arts Program, I have gained a PSY B.A. intern, Mr. Johnnie Bia, who has expressed an interest in learning more about Navajo Holistic Healing and the application of holistic healing in efforts that promote well-being. Mr. Bia will also be able to showcase the knowledge he learns through his hands on research by attending events hosted by Miss Navajo Nation and the NCAP. As a deliverable, Mr. Bia will share his experiences and newfound research through this Navajo Cultural Arts Holistic Well-Being Blog Series.
This summer, as our crops are growing, I will be conducting a Summer Weekend Workshop Series across the Navajo Nation with the NCAP to lead my community through holistic well-being model with cultural arts. More information will become available for these community-based workshops - Stay tuned!