Grownup Navajo

Native American culture & teachings through a modern lens

Month: August, 2013

Dress to Inspire with Presence 4.0


I describe my personal style as “sophisticated kindergartner,” since I tend to wear clothes in fun, colored prints, tactile fabrics full of sheen and sparkle. Shoes are rarely practical as patent leather heels are donned at least twice a week and I am always wearing turquoise. While I tend to ignore the casual Friday memos, my style is one of a modern, girly Navajo woman who enjoys getting ready in the morning.

It is in the early morning hours between my rituals of running and prayer that I feel closest to the women in my life. I hear my late Nalí lady best in this time. While alive she would always stress how it was important to wear dresses and skirts. Of course, these lectures occurred often during my undergrad days at Arizona State and always when I was wearing jeans.

When my Nalí lady passed away so many people would approach me giving condolences often noting how she always dressed in her traditional skirt and looked very respectable. Her style was full of poise. She wore skirts everyday explaining it was the way we respected Mother Earth. It was by wearing a skirt that Mother Earth knew we were Navajo women. While she wasn’t the only lady in my life who dressed in this manner, I would consistently hear from her how important it was to do so.

As I begin my career I began to see the beauty of wearing skirts, especially dresses. They were effortless – no matching required, it was one seamless piece. To this day dresses and skirts are something I have embraced. They are delightfully feminine and I tend to make them mine with sparkly accessories and my signature turquoise ring.

As noted before in a previous post, I am part of a trio which blogs about Native style. This week we, Presence 4.0, are hosting a STYLE MIXER in Santa Fe, New Mexico just before the start of the Santa Fe Indian Market. We are delighted to provide a platform for people to come together, create new connections and form collaborations while conversing about the power of art and style. Should you find yourself in town join us Friday, August 16, 2013, 4-6pm at El Paseo Bar & Grill for the inaugural Presence 4.0 STYLE MIXER. I write this as I prepare to leave the desert for the week’s events, I am anxious about our event but certain of two things, the night will be memorable and I will be wearing a dress.

Notes of Gratitude

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To my dad’s dismay, one of my favorite genres of books is self-help. I find it oddly inspiring to read these books as a way to try to make myself better. My best friend consistently jokes when I reach a roadblock in my life, “Well I am sure you will find a way to fit it into one of your challenges.” This referencing my incessant 30 or 40 day plans:  vegetarian, vegan, more organized, the list goes on and on.

While my dad may not always appreciate my book selections, he is part of the reason why I am so quick to take up these types of tasks. My parents, when talking to me about my school performance,  would say, “We don’t care about the grades you get as long as you try your hardest and work smart.” This was inevitably met with a sigh on my part because I realized quickly, you can always improve and it’s this idea of doing more which reminds me of my Kinaaldá.

A main focus of the ceremony is the physical act of running. The girl is responsible for running early in the darkness of dawn and at noon. Running to the east, she runs farther than the previous run.  The run is symbolic of the importance to push yourself to be stronger.

This month I celebrate my 30th birthday. August is a special time as it reminds me to do very critical things – to give thanks and love more. My late Nalís, among so many things, taught me the importance of gratitude and love. They did so by showing me what it was to be generously thankful and love fully.

For this reason my birthday month challenge is #30for30notesofgratitude, meaning every day this month I am sending or hand-delivering a note of gratitude to someone who made an impact on my day.  I firmly believe it is through the practice of gratitude and loving one another abundantly we can change the world. What can be more profound or have greater impact than the giving of ourselves selflessly. My first few letters were to my grandparents thanking them for the lessons they instilled in my but most importantly, I thanked them for showing me the power of love through their love for one another.