Navajo Nation

Navajo flagLocation | Tuba City, Arizona, USA
Service Opportunities | Light construction and maintenance, running and sports camps, food and clothes banks, and family and community gardens
Cultural and Recreational Highlights | Participating in a sweat, hiking, cooking demonstrations, presentations, local markets, traditional storytelling, visiting the Grand Canyon, 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, dormitories | 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)

Amizade’s Navajo Nation Partners

Navajo2 Students will have a number of service opportunities relating to community needs and cultural learning. Amizade has strong relationships with organizations that work on youth and education, cultural learning, tribal government and leadership, and social support organizations including food banks and grassroots organizations providing donated home goods and clothing to families in need. Community partners include:

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 and volunteers including Amizade groups. Amizade volunteers at times (depending on the time of year) also eat in the cafeteria. Service projects with the school include assisting with facility and grounds cleanup and improvement.

Angel HouseAngel 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.

Tuba City Chapter House | Chapter Houses across the Navajo Nation serve as regional administrative centers and communal meeting places where residents have a forum to express their opinions to their Navajo Nation Council Delegate or to decide on matters concerning their chapter. Amizade volunteers have worked on several projects both directly serving the Chapter House and in partnership with Chapter House initiatives from building and facility improvements to assisting with community events and community cleanups.

Another Way and The Family Bargain Center | Another Way is a non-profit organization which runs and maintains a domestic violence shelter for women and children. The Family Bargain Center is one of their projects that help financially support the shelter, and other programs they run to support victims of domestic abuse. Amizade volunteers work at The Family Bargain Center helping with sifting through, organizing, and clearing of donated goods.  This is a much needed task, as The Family Bargain Center receives donations on a daily basis, and only has three staff member.

Local Community Members and ResidentsProjects 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. These service projects not only provide much needed assistance to community members but also act as opportunities for participants to learn about Navajo culture and ways of life.

Programs

Plan a Program

Photos

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Resources

The Basics

Review the Amizade Navajo Nation Site Handbook.

Recommended Reading

Recommended Viewing

Websites

Stay Engaged! 

Chester Nez, Last of the Navajo Code Talkers

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

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.