PHOENIX -- Ten Arizonans will be recognized this September for their contributions to the preservation of the state's culture, history and traditions via a grassroots program known as Arizona Culturekeepers.
Now in its third year, Arizona Culturekeepers, organized by the Arizona Historical Foundation and The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, is a statewide historical program developed by the late Arizona philanthropist Katherine "Kax" Herberger and Marshall Trimble, the Official State Historian of Arizona. This year's 10 inductees will be honored with a ceremony and reception on Sept. 18 at The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale, beginning at 5 p.m.
Each Culturekeeper will be presented with an award that describes the individual's or group's contributions to the state. Plaques with photos of each honoree will be displayed along the walls of Culturekeepers Hall, a special area of the hotel.
The 2005 Arizona Culturekeepers are: Suzie Yazzie, Jim and Dean Cook, Travis Edmonson, Garnette Franklin, Calvin Goode, Mona McCroskey, Paul Messinger, Jayne Peace and Jinx Pyle, Jeri Robson and the White Mountain Apache Tribe.
Culturekeepers, started in 2002, annually celebrates 10 Arizonans who are committed to upholding the traditions, rituals and cultures of the state. This year's Culturekeepers were selected from more than 100 nominees. Nominations for 2006 are being accepted now. The Arizona Historical Foundation and The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa collaborated on this still-new statewide cultural recognition project. The selection committee is led by Marshall Trimble, Official State Historian, and was originated by Katherine "Kax" Herberger, longtime Phoenix philanthropist, who passed away in 2003.
"We're proud to acknowledge these unsung heroes," said Trimble. "These are longtime Arizona residents who spend their days working to better their communities, but rarely are recognized for their contributions."
The 2005 Arizona Culturekeepers include:
• Susie Yazzie (Monument Valley)-- Susie Yazzie is of the Todicheenie Clan of the Navajo, and is considered the most photographed Navajo of all the 300,000 members of the Tribe. Her rugs decorate homes and businesses throughout the world.
Since her teens Yazzie has invited hundreds of thousands of visitors to her Hogan, a sacred home for the Navajo who practice traditional religion. She demonstrates how to card wool into thread, dye it, then weave fine Navajo rugs. She also demonstrates cedar bead stringing; how the Hogan is constructed and why; and, for visiting women, how to put their hair in the traditional Navajo bun. Yazzie is teaching her family to weave to carry on the tradition and keep the culture alive.
• White Mountain Apache Tribe (Fort Apache) -- The White Mountain Apache Tribe now consists of approximately 15,000 members. Many live on the tribal lands, but others live and work all over the country and the world.
On the reservation, more than 2,600 square miles, one of the richest wildlife habitats in the state exists. It is home to the Apache trout, a species brought back from the edge of extinction by the efforts of the tribe.
The White Mountain Apache Cultural Center serves as a repository for the tribe's cultural heritage through the preservation of oral histories, archival materials and objects of cultural, historical and artistic significance to the White Mountain Apache people. The Cultural Center also supports local artists and offers living history walking tours. The tribe has distinguished itself as the host for University of Arizona archaeological field schools and as the proponent of restoration and revitalization efforts at dozens of landmarks.
The Arizona Culturekeepers were selected based on the following criteria:
• A Culturekeeper must have worked to preserve the image of Arizona.
• This individual must maintain the traditions, rituals and cultures that have made Arizona a home and a preferred travel destination for decades. These could be artistic, ethnic or historic traditions or activities. These could be actions taken to preserve Arizona's natural environment or animal habitat.
• A Culturekeeper must have a long-time commitment to services as a keeper or influencer of Arizona culture and have served the state through paid or volunteer efforts.
• The recognition will honor the individual who has demonstrated a passionate dedication to the issue, hobby or endeavor that keeps Arizona's culture alive.
• This individual must have lived within Arizona's borders during the time for which he is being recognized, and he or she must be living.
Anyone wishing to submit a nomination can mail, fax or e-mail information to:
Marshall Trimble, Arizona State Historian, 9000 E. Chaparral Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85265; Fax: 480-423-6066; e-mail: email@example.com.
The public is invited to participate in the uniquely Arizonan event. Tickets are $45 per person. The public is invited to participate in the uniquely Arizonan event. Tickets are $45 per person. Please call 480-624-1030 for reservations. Proceeds will benefit the Arizona Culturekeepers program and Arizona Historical Foundation. Please call 480-624-1030 for reservations.