Miss Navajo makes holiday rounds deep in the rez, By Cindy Yurth.
O’siyo. We should always try to help those in need, especially during the holiday season. Miss Navajo Nation, Leandra “Abby” Thomas did exactly that. She and her companions started collecting donations of food and toys for Navajo families living in remote areas on the reservation. Then she and her chaperone delivered the goods in person. The families were very grateful.
“For folks out in the hinterlands, it was as much a thrill to meet Miss Navajo as it was to get the boxes of canned food and toys she was delivering. My husband came in the house and said, ‘Miss Navajo is here with a box of food! said Betty John of Jeddito. I thought he was joking… Leandra “Abby” Thomas is from nearby Steamboat, Ariz. and after venturing to remote Forest Lake Chapter on Monday with her chaperone, Dinah Wauneka, and nearly getting stuck in a ravine, she stuck closer to home on Tuesday.
Thomas said she had been collecting donations of food and toys for months, and wanted to deliver them before the holidays — and before the roads get bad. Being a rural person herself, she knows how it is.
For some of these families, it’s miles and miles to the grocery store, she said…Two years ago, John and her husband Larry Yazzie had snowdrifts four feet deep around their home, and were stranded for days. We just stayed in and ate canned food, she said. So this food, it will really help us. She also appreciated the toys for her children. Clarise’s son Kee Sam and his wife Ernestine were visiting Clarise, and got in on the haul for their six children as well…”
Kudos to Leandra Thomas and to all of the people who made donations. Also to the Navajo Times for sharing such positive news!
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” ~Mother Teresa~
Teachers will find free and Complete Lesson Plans with Answer Keys on the following U.S. tribes: Apache, Blackfeet, Cherokee, Choctaw, Crow, Iroquois, Kwakiutl, Mohawk (read about the fascinating “Sky Walkers”) Navajo, Shawnee, Sioux, and Zuni.
We also offer our unique and informative Tribalpedia which offers concise historical and current material about many Native tribes. Included are Discussion Questions for students.
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Talking Feather is an English As A Second Language (ESL) teaching website with information about American Indians located in the U.S., Canada.
There are many legends about how the Indians learned about the Talking Feather”. Here is one of them…
Long years ago, when gods walked this earth and the land beyond, Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei, were together enjoying the warm summer day. It was a day when the crickets chirrupted in the waving, green grass,when they noticed a figure moving towards them.
As the figure approached closer Kanati said “Look, that woman is crying, what could be the matter?” “I can not imagine why anyone would cry on such a glorious day.” Replied Asgaya Gigagei. “Let’s ask her.”
As the woman drew nearer, they could see her buckskin was decorated with beautiful designs and colors. She carried a bundle filled with leaves, sage, and colorful stones and feathers. They knew immediately this woman was a holy being.
Kanati asked her “Holy mother, why are you crying so?” The woman looked up in wonder, because she had been walking with her head down. “I’m crying because the men of my village are fighting constantly! Each thinks his ideas for leading the tribe is the best!” Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei glanced at one another, in perplexity. “Why, if there are so many good ideas for leading your tribe, why are the men fighting? And why aren’t you and the other members happy!” The poor woman shook her head sadly and replied, “Yes, you are right, the men do have very good ideas, but every man wants to speak his own ideas, and not listen to anyone else. They all shout and scream at one another so loudly, that it frightens the children who run and hide behind their mothers. The women are sad because their husbands come to the house upset and angry. Furthermore, the tribe is suffering, because no one can seem to make a decision.” Just then a beautiful Eagle was soaring overhead, Kanati called out “Brother Eagle, may I have one of your feathers, there are poor humans in desperate need!”
Bother Eagle replied “Yes” and shook himself until a single iridescent, large feather fell to the ground. “Many thanks and Blessings on you” said Kanati. Kanati made secret signs and prayers over the Feather. Asgaya Gigagei helped him with the blessings. Kanati then said to the woman “This is the sacred Talking Father, it holds great power for the one who holds it. Go back to your people, hold this feather up in the air, all who see it will fall silent, and listen to what you have to say. Tell all who listen that from now on, who ever holds this feather, all present within the Circle Council must listen to his words. The feather must then be passed on to the next speaker.”
The woman thanked Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei and hurried back to her village where there was total chaos!. Everyone was talking at once, children were crying, men were screaming at each other. As soon as she held the feather over her head, all became quiet! No one could utter a sound! the holy woman proceeded to give the directions given to her by the gods. She then passed the feather to the first man. He called the Talking Circle together, and each man had his say as he held the feather. From that time on that tribe flourished because they now had direction, and each person could hear and understand what their peers said. The people worked together, to build a great nation. Along the way, they shared the wonders of the Talking Feather with other tribes they met. “And that my friends is the true story of how the Talking Feather came to be!”