Serve and Learn in the Navajo Nation with Amizade
Amizade participants 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 participants often work on house and land maintenance with individual community members 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 include visiting an open air market, cultural museums, visiting nearby national landmarks, learning from local Navajo families about land use, basket weaving, and sampling traditional foods.
The 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 Native American Reservations in the US extending over Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. 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.
Location: Tuba City, Navajo Nation, AZ
Service Opportunities: House and land maintenance with individual community members or help improve schools or community facilities
HOW TO PLAN A PROGRAM
We pride ourselves in creating mutually empowering and safe global service-learning programs. This means that when you develop an experience with Amizade, you’re building a responsible, intentional, and community driven service-learning program. Programs typically have three phases: (1) pre-immersion, (2) immersion, and (3) re-entry. Amizade works with you in all three phases to develop your program, including to build curriculum, itineraries, budgets, evaluation, follow-up, and sustainability.
The first step in building your program is to have a chat with us. We’re a people-powered organization, which means a little less tech and a little more human conversation. Send us an email, give us a ring or fill out this form to initiate the start of your journey.
Once we’re all feeling good about a potential collaboration and have a clear, co-created vision, Amizade and its partners submit a proposal to you. The proposal will include an overview of what you might be engaging in, a draft itinerary, health and safety information, and a transparent line-item budget.
After the proposal is agreed on, we send over a digital contract. This includes important legal and financial considerations. After a signed contract and a non-refundable $1,000 deposit are submitted, we can officially lock in your dates and begin the process of preparing for your program.
This phase includes pre-departure orientations (we mandate at least one with our staff), learning about the process of travel, culture, service, and the community you are visiting. This is also when family and community sensitization takes place, as well as any relevant coursework. Often this is when we see group bonding start, comfort zones being extended, and new challenges (as well as some nerves and excitement).
This is the travel phase. Community engagement, reflective practice, academic inquiry, and exploration all should be taking place at this time. All of our programs are a mixture of service, workshops, and cultural and recreational activities. Participants will step out of their comfort zones, try new things, engage complex issues, be introduced to new networks and ideas, and bond. Often this can be a very disrupting, inspiring, and transformational experience.
After a transformative experience, we sometimes can fall right back into the grind of life when we return home. It can be tough, isolating, and confusing. Re-entry is perhaps the most important phase for determining what kind of neighbor – the very person – you become. It’s also the easiest to ignore. In this phase, there should be serious reflection, advocacy, support systems, and/or a plan for community engagement, or social action. Depending on the design and funding of your program, Amizade can help create a plan and opportunities for participants.
GREYHILLS HIGH SCHOOL
Greyhills high school is a local high school in Tuba City, Arizona operated by the Western Navajo Agency, a division of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. While the school has a long history as a boarding school, the majority of students today are day students; which has left a large section of the former dormitory empty and is now used to house visitors including Amizade groups. Service projects with the school include assisting with facility and grounds cleanup and improvement.
Angel House is a small grassroots organization that collects donations of household items, clothes, and toys. These items are then distributed to community members in need including families who have experienced house fires or who have left their homes due to domestic violence or other emergencies.
LOCAL COMMUNITY MEMBERS
Projects often include serving with local community members to assist local residents with home repairs or improvements to family-land and farms. This service is regularly tied to community members who cook for visiting groups, provide demonstrations, and teach about traditional Navajo practices. Projects have included sheep shearing and repairing animal corrals, building and repairing fences and roofs, and building traditional Navajo Hogans and Sweat Lodges.
NAVAJO NATION TEAM
Find a sample itinerary of activities for groups in the Navajo Nation.