Letter: Thank you to Fourth World Gathering attendees

To the editor,

We would like to extend our appreciation to all those who attended - participants and presenters alike - the Third Annual Fourth World Gathering Conference held at Navajo Nation Museum on Oct. 20-21 in Window Rock. Activities included a hooghan blessing by Bennie Begay, followed by a welcome address by Andrew Tah, Navajo Nation Superintendent of Schools and keynote address by Dr. Pauline Begay, Apache County Superintendent of Schools.

This year's conference theme was "Wellness In The Classroom" with focus on the usage of traditional Diné cultural teachings concept to teaching Diné children in the classroom the basic moral values/teachings towards prevention and instilling resiliency to issues faced by Diné children today - truancy, suicide, obesity, poor nutrition, loss of traditional culture/language identify.

Educators representing various public, and BIE Grant/Contract schools on and off the Navajo Nation (discussed in the two-day work sessions and forums), where the Diné system of education is headed in the near future. As schools are challenged making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), this has become the focus of schools leaving the wellness of Diné children and parents secondary. Through two day discussions the wellness of students would have to become the cornerstone of attention -children in safe classrooms, home and communities would be prerequisite before children can perform effectively in classrooms.

The Fourth World Gathering is a yearly event cosponsored by the Navajo Nation Department of Diné Education/Office of Diné Language and Culture Community Services and the San Juan Schools District Heritage Language Program to instill Diné cultural and language teaching in schools across the school's curriculum to maintain and promote Diné language and culture teaching.

Again, Ahéhee' to all schools that have participated in this year's Fourth World Gathering. It is with great hope schools and communities begin promoting wellness in Navajo schools for Diné children and begin instituting Diné language and culture teaching/knowledge presented in the two day work sessions and forums supported by local school boards, and administrators in the Navajo schools, again to benefit Navajo children.

Office of Diné Language, Culture and Community Services

Window Rock, Ariz.

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