Indigenous Languages are important. As an indigenous person learning to incorporate more of my Diné bizaad into my work and life, learning takes patience and practice.
Which is why NotAbove is supporting Dził Ditł’ooí School of Empowerment, Action and Perseverance (DEAP) this month and into 2019. Partial proceeds from the NotAbove Language Collection will benefit current and future programming of DEAP.
Kayla Begay, the co-founder of DEAP, is an early NotAbove client and I have become inspired by DEAP’s continuous work with Diné bizaad curriculum over the years.
DEAP is a public charter school located in the rural northwest corner of the Navajo Nation. Deep wisdom to buy two local Diné womxn in 2015 with the purpose to empower students and community through education, culture, service and wellness. DEAP currently serves 40 students in grades 6-10. In DEAP’s short existence students have guided and participated in several empowerment initiatives including a moccasin making project, hogan construction, traditional ecological knowledge activities and Diné language focused experiences.
Here is what she wrote about the impact of proceeds:
“In response to the struggles that now for youth face, deep hopes to continue programming in an effort to a power local youth with the skills they need to critically, organize, implement and lead. Current programming aim is to provide you with a holistic approach to leadership that inspires them to lead community initiatives. Proceeds will be used to promote this year’s focus on Empowerment through Creativity.
Arts have always been an important part of Navajo culture. However we need Navajo youth do not have access to learn about additional arts or how arts play a role in our daily lives. To increase creativity and leader ship the following focus areas will be address:
1) Students will learn with local artist to create their own unique traditional clothing, moccasins, and jewelry that they will wear while on duty at various leadership activities and additional activities.
2) Students will produce a play and performance that centers around Navajo creation stories to be presented at local gatherings for all ages.
3) The students enjoyed visual arts and text me your classes, especially our annual general projects.
4) Culinary arts is the fun and tasty wait for deep students to promote healthy living as well as interact with them. Food systems funds will be used to help cover cost of food workshops and food for seasonal activities including feast days, planting festival and family culinary lights.
Feature Image Photo Credit: Kayla Begay