December is one of my favorite months. In Navajo, the translation is “abundance of cold air”. Much of my connection to my home depends on my involvement in our traditional ceremonies. In Hai or winter, is the time we hold our Yeíbíchéí ceremonies, an extensive healing ceremony held over a week’s period. There are many parts of this ceremony which allow for people to come together in support of the patient. It is always a goal of mine to attend this ceremony every winter as it is such an empowering moment of connecting to my culture and community.
Writing Grownup Navajo is not only about sharing Navajo culture but is also a process of me continuing to restore the balance or hozhó in my life while away from my homeland. At the beginning of December I had the chance to meet and visit with relatives as we came together to support a family friend for whom the Yeíbíchéí was being held. It helped me start the month centered and connected to shíké’ (my family).
Yá’at’eeh Niłch’itsoh! (Happy December!) is a new monthly feature, I aim to share new projects, products, articles and other interesting tidbits I am finding inspiring, exciting or important. Look forward to seeing a list of four things each month I think you should take in and enjoy.
READ. Arizona State University recently released a study the State of Indian Country Arizona Vol. 1. In this study, new facts about American Indian communities have been shared painting a picture of the land I love. I continuously tell people, this state is one which is unique in the sophistication, progress and dynamics of tribal nations and while many of these successes are outlined in this report so are the challenges.
GIVE. Whisper n Thunder is a 501(c)3 dedicated to the empowering American Indians through education, awareness and opportunity. A key program of WnT is the EREZ Fund an assistance program for American Indians who are suffering from weather related emergencies. In the winter, the efforts are focused on providing heat subsidies to families who are in every case freezing in the Dakotas. Learn more and give here.
SHOP. As co-founder of the blog presence 4.0, I am excited to share a new partnership we created with the Beyond Buckskin Boutique. P4xBBB provides a curated selection of styled looks for BBB which are then available for purchase. I encourage you to visit BBB to see the many beautiful pieces of Native made art, fashion and jewelry on the site.
LOVE. Grownup Navajo is delighted to share a new line of jewelry launched by fellow presence 4.0 co-founder Nanibaa Beck. Aligning with GN’s Naaltsoos Project, Beck’s Notabove Jewelry is grounded in promoting the use of Native languages using the skills and talent of a long-trained jeweler’s daughter. Her secondary project in collaboration with Navajo artist Jeff Slim interprets Navajo cultural stories in a style showcasing Slim’s signature geometric style. Her designs are fresh and all hand cut something surely many will enjoy wearing. Check out Notabove Jewelry on Beck’s recently launched blog here.