Sihasin in the Time of the Little Winds

Mask up relatives & be well!

Sihasin is one of my favorite words in Diné bizaad. It means “reflection” as in the act of reflecting. Innately as Diné, we are instructed to make space for this necessary action. As a life-long journaler, I love being in this state innately. There is so much I learn about myself, the projects I am working on and the relationships I participate when I am huddled over my journal. As I scribble away, taking note of how I am feeling or if there is something particular I want to look back on, I am filled with the sensation of accomplishment.

I appreciate this phase of our Diné  perspective because it reminds us that while it is important for us to create and make with intention, we have to close the cycle too. We have to look back and recognize what the lessons, significance from the previous experience(s) we want to bring forward with us. It also challenges us to think about what we could do better the next time. 

During this month of “the little winds or small slice of air”, I am thankful for health, the support and care of my partner as we continue to navigate this working from home, co-parenting life. (What a wild ride!!) I am thankful for the technology that my family has been weaving into our routine that keeps us connected. It has been a helpful healing balm in these cold months away from home.

In the spirit of sihasin, I wanted to share some of the work that I have been blessed to be a part of this fall. I hope you find inspiration and maybe even joy in some of them.


At the top of my accomplishments this fall was the celebration of the completion of my certified personal coaching program. I graduated from the Coaching for Equity and Transformation program with Leadership That Works! As one member of an all BIPOC cohort based here in New Mexico, my life has transformed. I learned alongside relatives whose lives as community organizers, non-profit executive directors, artists and activists continually inspired and nourished me. I have been coaching for three-months now, working with exclusively QTBIPOC folx across the country. I am so grateful for this unfolding journey. If you are interested in working with me, you can email me via the contact us page on our site and I can send you some information. 

In this piece for Edible New Mexico, I share about the importance of kinship and relationality for Native communities during this pandemic. 

This past week the blog Girl Soup invited me to share some work as part of their amplification of Indigenous voices. You can read my post about the power of Diné Joy and how it is lighting my way in this season. 

As part of Native American Heritage Month and in my role as Director of Decolonized Futures and Radical Dreams at the Department of Arts & Culture, we released a #HonorNativeLand Virtual Acknowledgment Pack. In it you will find virtual backgrounds for your next zoom meeting, social media slides to share about the importance of renewing your commitment to the practice of land acknowledgment. You can download this pack as well as our extensive Honor Native Land Toolkit here.

Connected to this work, if you are new to the importance of Land Acknowledgments, check out a talk I gave recently with Social Impact Studios

On our Grownup Navajo YouTube Channel you will find our latest posts that cover everything from post-election care, thoughts about the meditations I have been holding about my life during our pandemic and the Diné New Year’s importance. You can always subscribe to make sure you don’t miss a video. 


In the coming months, we’ll be sharing new work and projects. We continue to be appreciative for the love and support of this community.

This work runs on tasty gowééh usually sipped cold as I have been chasing a toddler around our home. If you are compelled to support this project, you can BUY ME A COFFEE by contributing here

Nonetheless, ahé’hee always for your love of our work!!

Naahi∤ii is K’é. In Solidarity with Black Lives Matter.

GN Black Lives Matter

Grownup Navajo is a community founded upon Diné teachings and philosophies. We believe in the inherent wisdom of our ancestors’ and beliefs given to us by the Diyin Diné’é. Foundational to these is the concept of K’é. An ideology, philosophy which translates into “kinship”. 

K’é is a practice of how we relate to each other through our clan system. A practice which embraces each other as Bilá ashląądíí – “five-fingered people”. It is in this spirit of interconnectedness to others that Grownup Navajo vehemently condemns the police violence and murder of our Black relatives. We mourn the loss of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and George Floyd. We ache alongside Black/African-American/African folx protesting in cities across this country. 

K’é is Black. K’é is African-American, African, Afro-Indigenous, Black-Indigenous. And “k’é does not discriminate*.” 

 As Black scholar Ibram X. Kendi shares, “No one becomes “not racist,” despite a tendency by Americans to identify themselves that way. We can only strive to be “antiracist” on a daily basis, to continually rededicating ourselves to the lifelong task of overcoming our country’s racist heritage.” 

As Diné we believe we walk a Corn Pollen Path. A  path that aligns us with our highest purpose, challenging us to walk in faith and action of our Diné teachings. I believe this path is one that is also anti-racist. This path demands from us to act in K’e’, radical love and defense of our relatives who face oppression and racialized violence. 

As we move forward, Grownup Navajo also commits to uplifting the humanity of our Black/Diné relatives and other Black-Indigenous/Afro-Indigenous community members. We have allowed anti-blackness to live in our Native communities far too long. 

One of the ways we begin this work is to connect and amplify language that is more inclusive and respectful when we talk about our Black/Diné kin. Friend of Grownup Navajo, Radmilla Cody has been a proponent of using the term: Naahi∤ii. In reaching out to Radmilla for this post, she shared the following. Naahi∤ii was passed down to her by a Diné practitioner  when she inquired about a more positive, respectful and empowering term to identify those who she is born for, the African Americans. The following is the description as shared by her:

Na(a) – those who have come across.

Hi∤ – dark, calm, have overcome, preserved and we have come to like 

ii – oneness. 

Systemic racism is an intersecting threat to our society. It impacts Black, Brown, Indigenous, Immigrant and other Communities of Color, folx with differing abilities, sexualities and genders. While each of these experiences bring pain and trauma – we feel it is vital as allies to call out the injustices impacting our Black relatives. We believe BLACK LIVES MATTER. We have faith that when Liberation comes for our Naahi∤ii kin, it will come for us all, too. 

 * Quote by Radmilla Cody


A small offering of resources to help us on our anti-racist journeys forward:

Ways You Can Support Minneapolis Folx: 

Ways to support Black folx: 

  • Amplify Black voices – read, share and support blogs, videos, op-eds. 
  • Purchase from Black-owned business.
  • Locate and donate to a bail out fund for protestors arrested in the latest demonstrations.
  • Pay for the Black culture you consume – I recently became a patron of the Nap Ministry. Ask your fave writers/musicians how you can support their work and also, take it upon yourself to investigate how to support. 
  • Follow alongside the Movement for Black Lives week of actions. 
  • I also want to lift up donating to the K’é Infoshop. It is a space Radmilla co-founded and they have lots of education programs. Currently, they are providing mutual aid to Diné navigating COVID. 
  • Educate yourself…see below!

To encourage the journey of learning and growing on this anti-racist, here are a list of resources: 

Learn more about the roots of policing and its connection to slavery here:

Learn why folx are protesting during the pandemic. Read this:

We want to lift up the many Black women who often go unnamed as victims of racialized violence committed by police. #sayhername: 

You can take action for Breonna Taylor:

Anti-Racist Resources:*DxXs7K_umbRHlS1kzEln3g


For White allies: 

Resources created by Girls Night In: 

A reading list for White people: 

If you are wondering how to bring this consciousness to work. Here is a helpful article to start from Career Contessa: 


Racism is a public health crisis – here are some wellness tools to help too. 

Mental Health Month Resources from SHINE 

Racial Healing Handbook 

Lastly – the work of being anti-racism means doing a lot of learning. You will likely make mistakes – here is a great video about the power of making a meaningful apology:


Special interest links to resource guides: 

Art Museum Teaching: 

Statement from Museums & Race with action steps for Museums: 

Changing Womxn Collective Resource Guide: 


Spring Awakening


Since my son was born, I have held a deep, omnipresent longing for rest. Usually, this is a feeling I can sense as soon as my eyes peel open. Today was different. I woke to my playful babe, smiling and poking at my breast ready to be nourished at dawn. His twinkling eyes and loving smile greeted me with blissful joy. We laid in our cocoon. Snuggling and kissing one another with gentle pecks. Waking up to him each day is an indescribable blessing.


As we greeted the day and slowly left our bubble, I was bombarded with the frenzy of fear engulfing the world at the state of the pandemic. This week has been one full of heaviness as we carry the worry about family members and friends. I have been working to hold concerns and maintain commitment to nurturing this beautiful soul.


As my husband and I run our own businesses and organizations, what is clear is how privileged we are to get to spend time with our son. What is new for us lately is our son is a walking, running baby ready to explore the world. At times keeping up with emails and him is a challenge. If I am being honest, often it is easier to manage the unpredictability of client emails than it is to be ready for what our love bug will dare to climb, eat and want beyond his wingspan.


In all, I am thankful for the gift of being home with him. Thankful we get to share our days. Blessed to know he will see his parents dive passionately into their work for community and culture. On days like today, where I feel so vulnerable, it is hard to not have a space to hide from my love bug’s watchful eye as I process.


As we played on our living room floor, I pretended to be the horsey as my love pretended to be the rodeo star riding into the arena for his event, I was overcome by emotion. It was all consuming, the desire, need and want to keep his precious self safe. Being a parent I often hold my humanity and my son’s purity and connection to the Holy Ones in hand and heart.


I am regularly consumed by the immense responsibility to this being. All the ways I need to keep him safe pour into my mind. While my son rode his “horse”, he realized my face changed. Tears streaming down my cheeks he leaned close to my face and kissed my lips. Then laughed and yelled as if to say “giddy-up! Keep going.” I did.


On our afternoon walk, we went to see the family’s horses in the coral. My love is fascinated by these creatures. Feeling brave now to pet their noses, he reaches out and then yips a giggle when his hand touches their coarse hair.


As we returned from our adventure, I realized the bright green bulbing leaves on the trees around our neighborhood. I recalled the sound of thunder returning in the morning with the rain that left the air feeling fresh and clean. I shared stories with him about how the return of thunder meant the earth was waking up from sleep. Pointing to the trees with blooming leaves, I shared how our beloved cottonwood trees would soon be returning too.


While this child explores the world, I realized that I am seeing the world new in getting to share it with him. We are two souls who have been gifted with each other’s presence and even though these times are uncertain, what we know is the impenetrable love we have for one another. My love has wisdom of ancestors in him, medicine of futures and pasts – how grateful am I to learn from such a powerful teacher the lesson of trust, noticing life cycles and love. How important it is to hear this teacher’s voice and listen to the message even when it’s the simple reminder to, “Giddy-up. Keep going.”


I Tell Navajo Stories…Like Grandma

jaclyn roessel maternity
Photo by Hannah Manuelito


I come from an open-arms people and a family who shares. I have built a career sharing my thoughts, poems, snapshots of my life and myself. But last year, I felt a call to shift into a new way of being. 2018 was a year filled with many life changes both personal and professional. While, I was focused on navigating, reflecting and rising to the challenge of being more in the moment, I was called to go inward and protect…myself.

Now feeling able and willing, I am trying to answer this question, “how do you begin to tell a story you are still living out?” I am not sure. Though I do know I was never a linear storyteller. I pride myself on my ability, or gift, depending on the tale, to tell story like my late nalí asdzaan (paternal grandmother). She would weave strands of background info, context and opinion together with care and ease. While I am not the master she was at this, I do enjoy this circular nature of sharing. This is something my husband tells me often, I tell Navajo stories. By this he means, I share stories which unfold sometimes leaving him confused until the end. I loved to think of my nalí asdzaan’s stories as ones you had to earn. You were tested to listen because sometimes they were long and often complex. She would share with you characters and updates in multiple threads drawing family trees and maps connecting communities across the rez.

And what of my story? Where do I begin?

When my nalí asdzaan passed, one of the most vivid memories I have of that night is waking up after receiving the news she left us gasping for air asking myself what would I do on my wedding day and the day I gave birth?

In the darkness of those early morning hours, the thought of facing each event without her, physically hurt my heart. But what I know now is I didn’t have to worry because I would feel her. She would be there, and so would my late nalí hastiin (paternal grandfather). I would feel their power charge through the day I saw my husband Warren ride into our homestead on a horse for our wedding. I would feel the energy of my ancestors come to bless our beginning as husband and wife, in the powerful winds that carried sands that whipped across the land.

She would be with me as I carried our first born in my body. I would hear her in the wisdom my mother shared with me during my pregnancy. In the advice my mother-in-law passed on to me. I would feel her in my sister’s hands as she massaged my body during labor. I would hear her words in the prayers my brother shared while we were in the delivery room. Even in the pain of this moment I could feel the sweet like honey presence – I could feel her with me. I could feel her blessings at work in my life.

While I do not know how to tell this story, I recognize why I wanted to keep things close. Last year meant so much to me because I was able to hold it with both hands, an open mind and heart overflowing with gratitude for getting to experience it all. My husband and I marinated in each transition – engagement, new job, news of new life, wedding and birth. Having emerged from our fourth trimester I feel ready to slowly release parts of this story, as an offering. I hope in beginning to tell it, the parts that were hard can begin to heal. This part of my story – the trauma – is hard for me to articulate now but I know with time, even that will begin to melt away like snow.

What is powerful is knowing because I am still living this, I don’t have to share everything now. I want the telling of this story to be savored. In the same way, this revealed itself to us – day by day, minute by minute waiting for the arrival our baby being…our son.

In Her Hair…

Photo by Jeff Slim


There are millions of stories in her hair.
From the past,
Of the future…
Holding the strands in her hands she feels the power of her people’s resilience,
the resonate breath of generations of people who have come before,
…and the life of those yet to be born.


Written for the answers we posses, in our bodies, in our hearts, may our prayers guide us and give us the strength to pull the answers out from within us so we can act to heal our people.



Injustice & K’é in the Borderlands

Growing up I heard many stories. Shared by my late Nalí’s (paternal grandparents), my masaní (maternal grandmother) and from my parents about our life as Diné (Navajo). Whether it is was the poetic story of my Nalí Hastiin seeing my Nalí asdzaan for the first time. Or the stories my masaní would share about her time at boarding school. These stories were reminders of love, trial and the strong family I came from. Many of these stories reminded me how this country’s history is a repetitious contradiction of what is just and humane.

As I have written here before, one of my ancestors was a survivor of the Navajo Long Walk. My late Nalí asdzaan would share her story with me throughout my life. My great-great-great grandmother escaped from Hweełdí (Place of Suffering aka Ft. Sumner or Bosque Redondo) to return to Diné Bikéyah using the medicine of her family to help her home.  She’s long been my motivation to live my life with compassion, empathy and in service of others.

In partnership with fellow co-producer Alix Blair, I have been assisting the creation of an audio documentary about the impact of the Navajo Long Walk 150 years since the signing of the Treaty of 1868. While, this self-funded project is outside of my work with Grownup Navajo, it is one that has fundamentally challenged my outlook about the culture, history and future of my people. In the year that Alix and I have been co-creating, this project has changed me. It is through this process I was able to access a part of the story I never allowed myself to feel and subsequently, it helped me process anger and grief, I didn’t know I was holding.

As Alix and I spoke with various Navajo community members about their families’ stories, I felt the pain of the separation from family and land. It was the first time in my life where the triumph of returning home after four years of imprisonment, did not mask the pain of knowing this occurred to people I knew. I grew up aware of this story, so I began this project without illusions, I knew thousands of people’s lives were lost, the treatment of my relatives was horrendous but again it was through working on this project I felt safe to grieve. To feel the loss of not only who did not return home but to understand parts of our life ways, sovereignty completely shifted as a result of this catastrophic event. In this place of grief I was also given a gift. Further insight into the power of K’é and the power of possessing compassion for others.

Source: Jorge Ramos Internet

Lately, this same grief and rage has boiled up in my chest, as I read and watch the horrible to news of the treatment of families fleeing their homelands. Families often seeking asylum from violence in Mexico and many Central American countries including Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador**; only to be stopped, deported and have their children ripped away from them and be imprisoned by the US government. I’ve cried over dinner at the haunting photos of children, the same age of my nephew, screaming for their parents. My heart aches at the lack of humanity with which this administration is treating these people. People.  Let us not forget, they are people.

This country is continuing the legacy of xenophobic practices used to “conquer” and subjugate Native people put in place decades ago. They have tested these tactics before at the border, in the south and in schools across the country. The omnipresent argument of manifest destiny serves as an eerie reminder of paths this government has walked before. But I see through the biblical justifications for placing babies in cages and leaving children to keep warm under mylar blankets in converted warehouses. I can’t not stomach it and yet, I can’t look away as I don’t want to ignore what is happening.

The Navajo concept K’é often is simplistically describe as “kinship”. But in the ways that I have studied and learned about the K’é from my elders and family it is not simply being related to each other. K’é is the recognition that in being in relationship/kinship to each other whether through our clan system or the simply connection as a Bilá ashladii or “five-fingered person” we are therefore responsible to each other.

I believe we, as Navajo, Indigenous people, those with liberal, conservative beliefs need to connect with our humanity and take action. The trauma that is being exerted over these families and children is corrupted power that will create deep generational trauma. How is it that I know this? Because this kind of trauma and deep reaching pain is one that is still being lived out in Native communities as a result of the systemic racist treatment seen throughout the continuum of federal Indian policy. To be clear, I am not comparing pain between communities, but simply saying these policies have been “tested” and proven to work. I refuse to be complacent in my actions to help these families today by giving to this cause both monetarily and by offering my voice in this reflection (and beyond) in the spirit of k’é. I pray these children and their families will not only find comfort, safety and justice but that they will be able to remain together regardless of which side of the border they make home.

Information on How to Support Families:

THE CUT: What You Can Do Right Now to Help Immigrant Families Separated at the Border

Refinery29: How To Help Migrant Parents & Children Who Are Separated At The Border

Organizations to Donate To:

The Florence Project – This Arizona-based organization offers free legal services to men, women, and unaccompanied children in immigration custody. (Disclosure: this is the organization I have supported.)

RAICES – This Texas-based organization offers free and low-cost legal services to immigrant children and families.

More on the Injustice:

Taking Migrant Children From Parents Is Illegal, U.N. Tells U.S.


**Correction: This post first appeared designating only Mexico as the only country of origin from which migrant families are traveling. This update aims to distinguish the rich cultures, nations and communities Latino families call home and claim as their heritage. As each family carries with them the rich history of their people, we want to participate in this dialogue as an ally who acknowledges and works to understand these intricacies in a way that does not erase experiences and identities but values where we all come from.


Dream Medicine and Reflections of the Future


I believe in time travel. I believe in the power of dreams because on some days, I can feel the memory of this ability within my vessel too. I understand dreams to be medicine. Sometimes, it is these tools which first communicate illness in our bodies, distortion in the fabric of our relationships and families. At times, it is the ancestors who tell us truths to quell our worries in these realms. They remind of the power we have yet to tap or even call-in on us and reach out when they feel we are not fully reaching for our potential.
Many Indigenous communities used dreams as medicine to heal. Communities along the what is known today as the Colorado River used dreams to select the leaders of their communities. This practice is one which fills me joy. How beautiful it is to measure leadership by the seeing of what is possible? When I think of what I want to see in leaders of my community, I often include the desire for them to possess vision. How potent of a concept, to demand our leaders project generations ahead beyond the “future” gains they propose.
There are dreams I carry today which give me comfort. In moments when I lose faith or sit in doubt, I remind myself of these medicines still at work in my life. There are times when I am delivered a blessing only to be reminded that I knew it was coming because I had dreamed it. I am humbled regularly by this in the moments when I am relieved a blessing has arrived and I simultaneously think of all the times, I doubted, gave up hope that it was ever possible.
My work as a writer is influenced by the concept of futurism, specifically Afrofuturism a term coined by Mark Dery which means to essentially reimagine the future and its possibilities through a Black lens of creativity, technology and science. What I find most inspiring about this concept and the correlations made by Indigenous Futurism, is the restoring and acknowledgement of our sovereignty as Indigenous people to project and dream a future where we will not only exist but a future in which our dream medicine will continue to heal us.
When we look at our history of persecution and survivance, I am inspired by the miracle of our existence – we were not suppose to be here. Yet, we are; in spite of the millions of actions taken since contact to destroy our way of life and us. Our ancestors dreamt us to this place.
Afrofuturist and Indigenous Futurist thought, are two incredibly radical concepts because it demands we accept our blessings now that we will continue to be prayed into the existence of the future. In dreams there exists a kind of freedom to imagine all that is possible and I plan to continue to surrender to the power of these dreams because there is a level of wholeness my dream self has achieved that I am still striving for, one woven so closely to all the medicine women who have walked and will walk this earth and I must remember in this life, to practice acceptance because their blessings are already here…and still on their way. There are places my unborn children have already traveled and yes, that place too is beautiful.

T’áá hwó’ ají t’éego…It is up to You

I have missed writing.
T’áá hwó’ ají t’éego.
It hurts to write. Like the struggle of returning to my running practice a couple of weeks ago. My body is not used to sitting to type. I have grown accustomed to writing for myself. My mind does not want to focus on one thought. It has grown comfortable of the flow of the pen as it writes in my journal meandering across the page.

T’áá hwó’ ají t’éego.
I took a break. Walked around the living room. Drank water. Bounced on my trampoline. This part of my day is one of my favorites. I love the freedom of jumping on this contraption. It has quelled nerves, relieved stress, calmed anger and conspired with me to procrastinate as I avoid words longing to be written.

T’áá hwó’ ají t’éego.
This phrase is one which echoes in my head repeatedly throughout the week. Sometimes it is a whisper, sometimes it is a loud booming voice reminiscent of my late Nalí Hastiin’s. His favorite phrase, “If it is to be, it is up to me,” mirrors these words. T’áá hwó’ ají t’éego instructs “it is all up to your effort and hard work and determination.” Both phrases remind me how powerful each of us. The phrases iterate a theme of agency and self-determination.

I will be marking a year since I moved from Phoenix, and this life I live is a manifestation of t’áá hwó’ ají t’éego. I don’t know all the ways I have changed but I can feel I am a different person than I was a year ago. I am so grateful for all the ways I have been lead to this beautiful place in this Glittering World.
I have been challenged to examine my scars and fear, pushed to heal and grow. I have spent time deep in prayer and meditation and lately been thinking about what is possible when we “stay open” to the world around us.

Today I recognize how my decision to leave my job and pursue this journey allowed me to reconnect to myself, my culture, my history and the world. Writing this feels different as I try to compose a post as though I am writing to a dear friend in the middle of a long journey; even though I still haven’t made sense of all the events nor feel I have reached the destination. Simultaneously, I write as though I am providing a kind of performance in this correspondence as though to distract you from noticing how much time has actually passed between our visits or letters.


T’áá hwó’ ají t’éego.
One of the first poets I met when I was younger was Dorothy Allison. She wrote a book entitled, “Two or Three Things I Know for Sure” and since meeting her, I often motivate myself by noting two or three things I know for sure. Today I recognize: 1) My life, and its ability to be of service to others is up to me. 2) This is the instruction I am pushed to live out every day. I choose to autonomy, action, love and respect. I write these words as an offering, I act each day to be of service to this energy in the spirit of K’é.

And to you my dear friend, it is so good to see you again. Remember, t’áá hwó’ ají t’éego…live out your best effort.

Náádąą Rising & Other Reminders from the Cornfield

When I started my new adventure, I had no idea how much “new” I would be surrounded by. From finding a new coffee shop to hang out in to searching for a favorite new eatery to get carry-out from, life has been full of “firsts”. I’ve have also been seeking the answer to a new question – what songs do I sing to help the roots I am planting in this community be the healthiest?

I remember planting with my late Nalí asdzaan (paternal grandmother) when I was little. I love this memory of ours. From the feel of placing the jewel-toned corn kernels in the moist earth to the heat of the summer day, our entire time together was incredibly fun. I have been thinking of her consistently since I started to build my life in New Mexico. This memory came to be me recently as I have been reflecting about the kind of life I have planted and am cultivating. I remember her sharing songs as we planted. Offerings to the corn we hoped would grow in our field.

In my new home, days have been filled with exploration. I’ve been searching for my place within this community while also pushing myself to being open to people who cross my path. Being open provokes vulnerability which can be daunting. But there is treasure to be found in yourself and your surroundings when you crack open to (or from) a new experience. I recently shared a wonderful dinner with new friends and I was struck with pure giddiness as I felt the promise of a place being carved out for me here in these new lands.

As I have been seeking opportunities for Grownup Navajo to grow, I’ve longed for the strong sister bonds calling to me from across the desert. Answering prayers, I have connected to other motivating female Native entrepreneurs who have showed me a new kind of sisterhood. One formed and tested in the fire of trailblazing. They’ve cheered me on and reassured me of the normalcy of the journey I’ve traveled so far in launching my business.

In the corn field, my Nalí adszaan would move with measured intention. Creating the holes in the earth for the seeds with deliberate care. We would move row by row, being conscious of our thoughts and energy as we offered the seeds to the earth. Thinking about this day and the current point on my journey, I feel there are songs I need to learn and ones I somehow already know the melody. These “songs” I carry with me are ones of love, compassion and gentleness. I forget too easily, two lessons of the cornfield: 1) if I want corn to grow I have to get my hands dirty and work the earth and 2) corn takes time to grow. Much like children we must offer our praise and gratitude for the path that has unfolded. It is necessary to be thankful, even for the uncertain path.

I am grateful for the way the answers to the questions my heart asks arrive in my heart simultaneously quelling the anxiousness in my mind. Whether in the form of encouraging words from a fierce entrepreneur or an inspiring conversation with new friends, we are provided connections to the tools we need to continue to flourish. My life – each of our lives – have been prayed into existence and nurtured with intention, just like the corn that has grown in our fields. Corn which has grown for generations, blessed with songs whose power whisper reminders of our purpose. Our destiny is to grow and learn like the sacred náádąą (corn) we use for our prayers in the morning and ceremonies throughout our lives. Let’s hold this truth close, so we never doubt the direction we are going because it is innate in us to grow, rising bravely, like stalks of náádąą in a beautiful field.

Creative Rezilience & Community

The path is created by walking it.
I hear my late Nalí asdzaan (paternal grandmother) in my ear everyday saying, “you know what to do.” This message is now coupled with the reassurance of my parents, who remind me to trust my strength.

Opportunities have manifested from invitations to empowering events, messages from followers and friends.

This kind of faith in self, creativity & community has guided the journey of Grownup Navajo and carried us to our latest project. In a conversation earlier this year with the Executive Director of Rezilience Indigenous Arts Experience, Warren Montoya, I casually shared my desire to create a large scale puzzle incorporating my poetry with Diné bizaad (Navajo language). Without missing a beat, Warren invited Grownup Navajo to be a Program Partner at the 2nd Annual RezArtX festival.

I immediately agreed and began thinking about how to construct it. A quick realization was the impact powerful images would have on the piece. Having worked with and followed the art of Onyota’a:ka artist Monique Aura Bedard from British Columbia, I reached out to her hopeful she’d be open to the collaboration. With great excitement she agreed. Together we flushed out what this puzzle could look like and decided we wanted it to include both of our languages and concepts of respect for our earth mother.
In collaboration and sisterhood, we created a large-scale, 3D mural puzzle incorporating language and poetry. The installation, “Nahasdzaan Níhimá: From My Mother I Learned All I Know” will be approximately 8 feet long and 4.5 feet high and will include 24, 16-inch cardboard, cubed, puzzle pieces. The puzzle will encourage visitors of RezArtX to experience language, art and poetry in an dynamic hands-on way.

The concept of the puzzle is inspired by the ways in which we learn from the imminent matriarch in our lives Nahasdzaan Níhimá (Mother Earth) and the dził (mountains). We will launch this project at RezArtX our goal is to continue this project sharing more images, poems and phrases that our community can engage with and create.
As Grownup Navajo continues to grow and expand our focus of enciting community action through creative movement, art & culture, I am encouraged by the openness and power of K’é (kinship). How beautiful it is to be guided by the energy of people willing to trust and whole-heartedly collaborate. This project would not have been possible without the faith, encouragement & help of others. It is not often someone generously offers space for your creative play and it is rare for a sister you have never met in-person to be so giving of her own craft. I am incredibly thankful to both RezArtX and sister Aura, for their kindness in supporting this vision and cannot wait to see the public experience Aura and I’s project this Sunday, April 30 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ahé’hee!


For more information in attending Rezilience visit For those interested in supporting this project please e-mail me at grownupnavajo@gmail.comIMG_0017


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