LEUPP, Ariz. - Justin Boyd Willie was a remarkable Navajo man, who walked, drove and traveled Navajo Country, helping people start gardens, small farms and teaching them about agriculture. With only his little worn backpack and a water jug, he accepted people's hospitality as payment for his services.
He took his Navajo teachings and ancient agricultural philosophy (seven principles and ethics) to community gatherings, schools and even universities, as a guest lecturer and environmental advocate.
Willie knew his people's needs and dreamed his work would continue to expand and grow by incorporating youth into the struggle. He traveled to Europe, Central and South America to learn and engage with like-minded individuals involved with Indigenous agriculture.
Because of his dedication, the Justin Willie Award was established at the 2010 Peshlakai Cultural Foundation's "Gathering for Mother Earth." Nominations are currently being sought for people to receive the award.
The recipient will receive a specially designed "JBWHYA of the Year" plaque and gifts from the family; the Navajo people of the Redhouse Clan. The award will be given at the Southwest Marketing Network Annual Conference on Navajo Nation Agriculture scheduled for March 30-31 in Gallup, N.M. at the Howard Johnson Hotel and Conference Center.
Nominations will accepted until 5 p.m. Feb. 28 and selection of the recipient will be on March 15.
Nominees should be an Indigenous person that has contributed selflessly through community service in northern Arizona Native American communities and lands. The nominee should have contributed to the teaching of cultural preservation through Indigenous agriculture as well as volunteer activities with youth, elders, and communities in Indian country.
To submit a nomination or for more information, contact Jamescita Peshlakai by e-mail at email@example.com.