Navajo Nation

Navajo flagLocation | Tuba City, Arizona & Crownpoint, New Mexico, USA
Service Opportunities | Tutoring children, light construction and maintenance, youth running camps, food bank and community garden
Cultural and Recreational Highlights | visiting the Grand Canyon, a sweat lodge, hiking, cooking demonstrations, local markets, traditional story telling, and much more

Program Overview

Navajo codetalkerThe Navajo Nation is the cultural home to the Navajo people, marked with beautiful sandstone mesas, towering buttes, colorful canyons, and dramatic desert scenery.  It is the largest of the Indian Reservations in the US extending over four states – Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. The Navajo people share rich cultural traditions and are well known for their contributions to the world at large, including the role of the Navajo Code Talkers in WWII and their exquisite artistry. Current challenges include maintaining cultural identity, educating their children, and economic development.

Amizade volunteers have the opportunity to learn about Navajo life and culture, work on a community-led service project, and explore the natural beauty of the area.  One of Amizade’s core values is providing community-driven service, meaning that the Navajo community defines a priority project and we work with them on it.  You will have the opportunity to meet Navajo community members and work together on service projects. Our volunteers often tutor Navajo school children or help improve school or community facilities.  Our Navajo hosts put a high priority on your learning about Navajo life and culture and sharing this knowledge with your home community so that their way of life is better understood.

In addition to service that emphasizes learning about Navajo life and culture, you will participate in cultural and recreational activities.  These activities differ slightly for our two sites, but include visiting an open air market, cultural museums, visiting nearby national landmarks, learning from local Navajo families about land use, basket weaving, visits to sheep camps, and sampling traditional foods.

Lodging Hotels, homestays, guest houses | Food Navajo tacos, rice, beans, Southwest fare

Flights Flights easily made to the US Southwest | Visa Not for American citizens

Communication Cell networks, internet, etc. | Closest Airport Phoenix/ Flagstaff (Tuba City), Albuquerque (Crownpoint)

Amizade’s Navajo Nation Partners

Navajo2Tuba City Boarding School | At the Tuba City Boarding School, children come first. The Boarding School helps the children grow up to be unique, responsible, nurtured adults. Opportunities are provided for positive life-long learning, healthy growth, success, and self-worth. A quality education is supported in a safe and culturally competent environment. Parents, community members, and the school are working to provide the best education possible for the children.

The Navajo Nation is challenged daily by the responsibilities of educating their children, maintaining their cultural identity, and promoting economic development. Amizade and the Tuba City Boarding School are working together to promote classroom success. Basic skills including reading and math are essential if the Navajo are going to fully realize their own individual and cultural potential.

Dine College, Crownpoint, New Mexico | Amizade volunteers work with the Navajo university in organizing summer college prep courses for will-be first generation university students. Volunteers also have the opportunity to work on any number of local construction projects.

The Commitment and Impact

Service opportunities in Tuba City are arranged in partnership with several area schools and involve tutoring and mentoring youth. By working with the teachers and school administration, Amizade volunteers complement the goals set in the classroom. Participants can expect to directly contribute to the success of Navajo school children as they shape their people’s future. Since 2000, Amizade volunteers have served in several capacities in efforts to enrich the education of the children and young adults including:

  • Tutoring in the Classrooms – Volunteers work with the teachers to support lesson plans, provide one-on-one tutoring for students, and promote learning in activities.
  • School-wide Art Program – Volunteers develop and implement a school-wide week-long art program for students in grades K-4.
  • Special Programming – Volunteers serve in the school in specific roles including aides in the library, computer lab, reading rooms, and physical education.
  • Construction Projects – Work on fixing up worn buildings, help paint a school, or build a hogan.

Photos

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Resources

Review the Amizade Navajo Nation Site Handbook.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Viewing

Websites

Stay Engaged! 

Chester Nez, Last of the Navajo Code Talkers

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Chester Nez was among the first group of Navajo Code Talkers recruited in 1942, often referred to as the “Original 29.″ These 29 were the first to devise the code based on the Navajo language and chosen as a because its syntax and tonal qualities were almost impossible for a non-Navajo to learn, and it had no written form. The code was incredible successful and was never deciphered by the Japanese.

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The More You Stare, The More You See

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One night over spring break this year, I was lying on the hood of a car in Tuba City, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation Native American reservation. Gazing up at the stars above, unobstructed by trees or buildings, I reflected on my week with new friends doing the same by my side. The stillness and peace was broken seconds later as one of our friends proclaimed, “the more you stare, the more you see.”

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Healthy and Safety

As you or your loved one prepares to serve with Amizade in The Navajo Nation, you can rest comfortably with the knowledge that Amizade has an exceptionally strong safety record and ability to respond to any emerging challenges. We have safely partnered in The Navajo Nation since 1998.