Walking with Dinétah promotes cultural resilience and healing in Kayenta Sept. 17-18
DENNEHOTSO, Ariz. — Nááts'íilid Initiative hosted Walking with Dinétah Sept. 17-18 in Kayenta.
Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown joined participants in the immersive community art and walking trail initiative dedicated to co-creating strategies for cultural resilience and healing through spatialized oral histories, memory work, mapmaking and participatory art — in other words, through Hózhó náhásdlíí’, or “walking in beauty.”
The opening ceremony included an installation campaign of the trail markers, planting, and art work along our trails as well as community meals, music, walking, dancing, workshops on traditional Navajo weaving, and clean up
“Our funders got to experience our Dinè way of life, they expressed their appreciation for new knowledge of our Dinè and our way of life. They got to witness all the good work our people fight to keep alive,” Brown said. “We will continue to ‘think outside of the box’ while leading our three chapters of Chilchinbeto, Dennehotso and Kayenta and our Navajo Nation.”
In the morning, hikers and community members met at the Chilchinbeto Chapter House for introductory remarks and an opening prayer before hiking the Baby Camel Trail and concluding with dance performances.
During the afternoon session, community members gathered at Dennehotso Convenience store to hike the Naałhoozh Haaz’diih’íí Trail. A weaving workshop after the hike was also held to highlight the beautiful artistry of the Navajo people.
Sunday morning began with a sheep butchering demonstration before members hiked the newly marked Wahi Trail and Átsi Community Trail while viewing various art installations highlighting several Diné artists. All Walking with Dinétah trails are of easy to moderate difficulty and they encourage the Navajo people to exercise and live healthier lifestyles.
“It is in our teachings to run and walk every morning and I hope with these new trails, my people will continue to uphold our traditions,” Brown said. “When our communities come together, we create a place of healing and peace which is the true meaning of Ké. I pray other Navajo communities will follow suit to bring our elders and youth together to share stories and create memories that will last a lifetime.”
The Nááts’íilid Initiative, a non-profit organization, is an Indigenous-led and coalition-driven Community Development Collaborative aimed at addressing the housing and infrastructure needs of Dinétah. The University of Utah’s School of Engineering and School of Architecture also play a vital role in the non-profit’s success in the Chapters of Chilchinbeto, Dennehotso, and Kayenta on the Navajo Nation.
Information provided by Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown's office.