Miss Navajo Nation's message to Winslow Natives students and parents is serious
Nov. 3, is now Native American Day in Winslow. The day before, the Winslow Unified School District Title 7 Indian Education Program and the Winslow Residential Hall, hosted a Miss Winslow Native American Pageant and Pow-Wow.
Over 500 Native Americans showed up to this event, held at the Winslow High Student Union for dinner, dancing, singing, speaking and cultural celebration. Winslow High is about 75 percent Native American.
Winslow Mayor Allan Affedlt told the crowd about their recent City Council Proclamation of Native American Day.
"It is great to have one day for the city, but people need to remember that this building, this school and this whole city was built on traditional Hopi and Navajo land," Affeldt said. "Winslow needs to do better in recognizing that all tribes in this region from the Hopi and Navajo to the Apache and Zuni, live here too and make up an important part of this beautiful region."
Miss Navajo Nation Jocelyn Billy, a graduate in Political Science and Indigenous Studies from Northern Arizona University, spoke with the all Native American crowd about social problems and individual solutions for Native people. She was a confident and powerful speaker.
"We need to stop ignoring the reality of our nation and the reality of our families," Billy said about alcoholism, violence and meth addiction.
She said it saddens her to see children born into families who do not care.
"It is the children who sufferŠand I go through so communities that suffer and the people are suffering." she said.
Billy said the Navajos are losing their traditions and values and kids are now measuring their parents' love by the clothes they buy and cars they drive.
Billy shocked the crowd when she said she met a pregnant girl recently. A mother asked for Billy to speak with her pregnant daughter, but Billy found out that the girl was 12-years old at the latest stage in her pregnancy. Billy chastised the mother for not spending time with her daughter to teacher her enough to keep her out of that situation.
Education is important.
"We need to educate ourselves and you should be responsible and have the initiative and motivation to know what you have to do to be that beautiful person you need to be," Billy said.
Not enough Native Americans participate.
"I was just talking with the mayor of Winslow and never realized how many Native Americans are really here. He said that he does not see Native Americans at the City Council meetings and that you are not participating," Billy said. "If you don't go to those meetings and don't participate then you cannot complain about what is going on."
The crowd erupted in applause.
Billy told the youth to take their life seriously and to not worry so much about what friends think because otherwise you may end up saying "I would'a, could'a, should'a."
"There are thousands of boys and girls out thereŠThe one thing there is little of is opportunity, for things like scholarships, travel and experience," she said.
Billy told the crowd of local Native Americans to get involved with their kids and to get involved with their schools. The Winslow Unified School District Indian Education Parent committee would be a good place to start.