Navajo youth can attend leadership academy

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Miss Navajo Council Inc. recently received a $20,000 grant from the First Nations Development Institute of Longmont, Colo. This award will support the efforts of the Diné Iiná (Life) dóó Naataanii (Leadership) Academy to be held July 18-21.

Miss Navajo Council Inc. recently received a $20,000 grant from the First Nations Development Institute of Longmont, Colo. This award will support the efforts of the Diné Iiná (Life) dóó Naataanii (Leadership) Academy to be held July 18-21.

The purpose of this academy is to guide Diné youth ages 13-18 to value their heritage and oral traditions as an irreplaceable asset while building their social and leadership skills within a supportive mentoring curriculum.

Diné oral traditions, hands-on activities, interactive role playing and demonstrations will focus participants on appropriate Diné behaviors related to self-expression, social interaction and public speaking in real-life situations in their communities. This project by former Miss Navajos is a first and hopes to make an impact throughout Navajoland.

Twenty-five girls and 25 boys will be chosen for participation in this three-day event based upon their written essays about the Diné leadership qualities of men and women in their families, communities or chapter governments. Piñon Community School will be the host for this three-day event to take place July 18-21.

Victoria Yazzie, Miss Navajo Nation 1999-2000, has been selected as director for the Diné Iiná dóó Naataanii Academy. Yazzie is the multicultural bilingual coordinator at Central Consolidated School District in Shiprock. She is originally from Monument Valley, Utah, and is a member of the Kayenta Chapter.

Neomi M. Gilmore will assist Yazzie. She is a third-year law student at the University of Idaho College of Law, Moscow, Idaho, and the director of Native Youth Take Charge. She is originally from Twin Lakes, N.M., and is a member of the Twin Lakes Chapter.

Instructions for applicants interested in the Diné Iiná dóó Naataanii Academy can be obtained from the website of the Miss Navajo Council Inc.: missnavajocouncil.org. Additional information on the Diné Iiná dóó Naataanii Academy can be obtained from Sarah Johnson, president of the Miss Navajo Council Inc., at sarah.luther@sbcglobal.net or 817-312-5363, or outreach coordinator Vivian Arviso at varviso@comcast.net or 505-265-7410.