Grownup Navajo

the Kinaalda through a modern lens

Month: June, 2014

Yá’at’eeh Ya’iishjááshchilí!

GN sun

A near holiday in my world is the Summer Solstice. Approaching quickly, June 21, it’s the half way point of the calendar year – the longest day – full of the most sunshine. I find this day a perennial reminder of the need to stay connected to the natural world, a feat in the city.

A long standing tradition of mine is to celebrate both the winter and the summer solstice. The Summer Solstice serves as a special cause to gather friends and celebrate. Despite being domestically disabled (read: cooking is not my strong point) I revel in the opportunity to host friends and entertain. Over the years my lady loves and friends have joined in game night, sunrise hikes and pool parties all celebrating the joy of spending another season together.

June or Ya’iishjááshchilí means, “asking permission to plant early crops”. As Diné we are meant to prepare, pray and begin to plant the summer’s crops. It’s a cycle “always becoming” meaning we are continually focused on bettering ourselves, our practices. We have many stories of the important lessons the Sun has given us what better time, in the sunlight of summer, to note its brilliance and our necessity as “five fingered-people” for its warmth.

This month’s special “summer do” list is all meant to help to align, re-focus and make our life a little bit brighter…

MAKE. Tomorrow, June 18, has been declared National Maker Day. A day meant to encourage and celebrate the innovators and incredible creative who have contributed to the dynamism of our world. Why not set aside time today to make something…even if it’s just your bed, it’s a start.

GET TESTED. June is home to HIV/AIDS Testing Day June 27 and Native Health, a Phoenix non-profit, is hosting a screenings locally on select days this month. Take some time to practice some safe self-care.

VENTURE. Make plans this month to spend some ample time outside. Happening in Concho, Arizona June 19-22 and 26-29, is the Lavender Festival. Held on the Red Rock Ranch and Farms, this Arizona business, grows several different varieties. Summer is the perfect time to enjoy an event or festival.

BREATHE. Take a moment on Saturday to breathe in the sunshine, whether in the morning or at dusk what better reminder to understand our place in this world and focus on finding balance than the most center point of the year.

To Shízhe’e’ With Love

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Even after thirty years, I still fall in love with shízhe’e’ (my dad). He is a person who has inspired my vision and encouraged me consistently not to be content with mediocrity. As his Dad taught us to fight – for love and our people – my dad taught me to be brave. Whether it is bravery to say what is unpopular or bravery to feed my creative soul. I have been blessed to have a man in my life that has shown me the power of my own strength.

It was my dad who tied my hair when I began each of my Kinaaldás, wrapping my hair with all his and my mom’s hopes for my life. My ceremonies are the greatest gifts my parents have given me. As the ceremony instilled in me a deep connection to my faith as a Diné woman and certifying my place in this world and allegiance to shíDiné (my people).

Existing in a world which is always changing, today I send a special note of love, light and gratitude to a wonderful man who continues to inspire me to be better and for whom I would certainly not be the woman I am. Ahé’hee’ Dad for reminding my best is always enough and I can always do more. Happy Father’s Day today but know I am never without your lessons and words. I love you.