Originally published: Sep 27, 2022 8:29 a.m.
DENNEHOTSO, Ariz. — The Nááts’íilid Initiative held Walk with Dinétah on September 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, work memory, cartography and participatory art – in other words, through Hózhó náhásdlíí’, or ‘walking in beauty.
The opening ceremony included a campaign to install trail markers, plantings and artwork along our trails, as well as community meals, music, walking, dancing, workshops on traditional Navajo weaving and cleaning.
“Our donors were able to experience our Dinè way of life, they expressed their appreciation for the new knowledge of our Dinè and our way of life. They were able to witness all the good work that our people are fighting to maintain alive,” Brown said. “We will continue to ‘think outside the box’ while leading our three chapters of Chilchinbeto, Dennehotso and Kayenta and our Navajo Nation.”
In the morning, trekkers and community members gathered 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 the Dennehotso convenience store to walk the Naałhoozh Haaz’diih’íí trail. A post-hike weaving workshop was also held to showcase the magnificent artistry of the Navajo people.
Sunday morning began with a sheep slaughter demonstration before members hiked the newly marked Wahi Trail and Átsi Community Trail while viewing various art installations showcasing several Diné artists. All Walking with Dinétah trails are easy to moderate in difficulty and encourage Navajos to exercise and lead a healthier lifestyle.
“It is in our teachings to run and walk every morning and I hope that 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 that 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, coalition-led community development collaboration to address the housing and infrastructure needs of Dinétah. The University of Utah School of Engineering and School of Architecture also play a vital role in the nonprofit’s success in the Chilchinbeto, Dennehotso, and Kayenta chapters of the Navajo Nation. .
Information provided by the Office of Council Delegate Nathaniel Brown.