Extended Lesson for the Navajos: Beauty, Brains, and Bravery!

O’siyo. In updating the ESL lesson plan for the Navajo Nation, there was a lot of new information to add!  Both Navajo men and women excel in nearly all professions and economic endeavors. Their brave spirits have taken them on many new paths.  Here are some updated photos and news for these wonderful people.

See the complete Navajo Lesson Plan with Answer Key Here.

The People: 

Miss Navajo Nation

The beautiful Leandra Thomas is Miss Navajo Nation 2013.  Photo- nhonews.com

The beautiful Leandra Thomas is Miss Navajo Nation 2013. Photo- nhonews.com

This prestigious contest has been in existence since 1952. “The contestants must fill the requirement of having knowledge of the Navajo culture and tradition. Unlike most beauty pageants throughout the world, the Miss Navajo Nation pageant is of beauty “within” one’s self.”- Miss Navajo Council-


Navajo physicist Fred Begay. Photo- physicscentral.

Navajo physicist Fred Begay. Photo- physicscentral.

Dr. Fred Begay (born 1932) is a Navajo nuclear physicist and a Korean War Veteran. Dr. Begay was profiled in the 1979 NOVA documentary, The Long Walk of Fred Young.


Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly. Photo Navajo President.org

“After serving as a Navajo Nation Council Delegate for sixteen years and four years as Vice President in the Shirley-Shelly Administration, Ben Shelly was sworn in as President of the Navajo Nation on January 11, 2011. President Shelly was born in Thoreau, New Mexico.” ~Navajo President.org~

Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim. Photo Navajo-nsn.gov

“After serving as a ranking member on the Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Public Safety Committee within the 21st Navajo Nation Council, Delegate Rex Lee Jim was sworn in as Vice President of the Navajo Nation on January 11, 2011. Born and raised in Rock Point, a small farming and ranching community in northern Arizona.” ~Navajo President.org~

Joe Shirley, Jr., former President of the Navajo Nation.

Art and Literature

Navajo- Hastiin Tłʼa, (1867–1937) Renown Navajo Medicine man and master weaver. Photo- Wikipedia

“Many Indian cultures accepted – and in fact, celebrated – the fact the some people could fill both male and female roles in their society. One such individual was Hosteen Klah (also spelled Hastiin Klah) who became well-known as a Navajo weaver and as a Navajo singer (medicine man). Among the Navajo, weavers are usually female and hataalii (singers, chanters, or medicine men) are usually male. Hosteen Klah filled both of these roles.” -Native Roots-rc gorman

Talented Navajo artist R.C. Gorman was born near Canyon de Chelly, Arizona and spent his life painting scenes that reflected Navajo culture.~RC Gorman Gallery~

Master Weaver Florence Riggs discusses weaving at the 2013 55th Annual Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market. Photo Weavinginbeauty

The 55th Annual Heard Museum Indian Fair and Market  theme for 2013 is  “Weaving Worlds with Wool” celebrates and highlights Navajo Rug Weavers and is Honoring Signature Artist Florence Riggs whose rug is the centerpiece of the event. 

Sherwin Bitsui (1975-) is a Navajo writer, and the recipient of several literary awards and grants. Photo- Bitsui website.


Video:  Keith M. Little Navajo Code Talker

View this wonderful educational  video as the legendary Navajo Code Talker Keith M. Little speaks about his life growing up in his home and his important role  during WWII.

“After hearing about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor while in boarding school, Keith Little chose to enlist in the U.S. Marines. He went to Communications School and became one of the legendary Navajo Code Talkers, seeing action on Iwo Jima, Roi Namur, Saipan and other Pacific locations. Keith helps tell the important story of the Code Talkers through his role as president of the Navajo Code Talkers Foundation.” ~Project completed by- Shawn Tsosie, Jessica King, and Robbie Christiano.~


Music Artist Raymond Carlos Nakai. Photo- Nakai website

Raymond Carlos Nakai (April 16, 1946) is a Navajo musician with several Grammy awards for his music. “Inner Voices” was an award winner.

The beautiful Radmilla Cody (Robert Doyle : Canyon Records )

Radmilla Cody Navajo singer, received a 2013 Grammy nomination for her album Shi Keyah: Songs for the People-She is the first Native American to be nominated for a Grammy Award. This album contains many wonderful songs, but especially Navajo Warrior and the beautiful  Code Talker which Miss Cody sings  a cappella in both Navajo and English.

Navajo Rock Band Blackfire.Photo- newspaperock.

Navajo Rock Band Blackfire started nearly twenty years ago by three siblings, and is still popular. Photo: newspaperock.

Navajo Books

Code Talker- The First and Only Memoir by One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII By Chester Nez with JS Avila.

Warriors- Navajo Code Talkers [Paperback

Hosteen Klah- Navaho Medicine Man & Sand Painter By Franc Newcomb,

Songs From the Loom By Monty Roessel

There is no greater place than the land we know as Dine’tah. Our heritage is written in our clans, our ceremonies, and a collection of history that tells our past, yet our future in the bounty of prosperity.” ~President Ben Shelly~

Category: Education