Canku Ota


(Many Paths)


An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


January 13, 2001 - Issue 27



Nineteen Future Social Workers


Graduate NAU Cohort Program


by Stephen Skelton, The Observer


 artwork Leland Bell Discovering Wisdom

FLAGSTAFF—Nineteen Navajo, Hopi and Cree scholars graduated from Northern Arizona University (NAU) December 9 as part of the Tuba City Social Work Cohort.

The Tuba City Social Work Cohort is a program that allows native students to take classes and receive a degree from NAU in social work, without commuting to Flagstaff on a daily basis.

"They wanted to bring the program out to us because it’s hard for those of us with families to get to Flagstaff," said Mary Samson.

Graduates received their core requirements at Diné Community College. For the next two years, teachers from NAU traveled to Tuba City Junior High School to teach classes in social work. Some classes were taught on cable television.

These graduates endured two years of hardship, sacrifice and struggles to stay on task to receive their degree.

"We were all enrolled in the same discipline and over the past few years we’ve become a family. It was a long road but now its all paying off," said Nathaniel Nez.

Two of the Cohort graduates were selected to be the commencement ceremonies keynote speakers, Mary Samson and Darwin Whitstone.

"For a long time we were like caterpillars. We were handicapped, crawling, moving slowly. But we then became involved in cocoons of books and knowledge. When the time came for us to come out, we came out with wings of beautiful colors. We can now fly anywhere," said Samson.

Whitstone sang a Cree prayer thanking the creator for this special day of commencement.

"It was really nice to see two native keynote speakers. It’s great that they were represented," said Ann Meddill, the statewide social work program coordinator.

The Navajo Tribe recently mandated that all social work employees must have a bachelors’ degree. Domestic violence, sexual abuse, substance abuse, housing welfare and social welfare policies for individuals, families, groups and communities are all applications for a social work degree.

Northern Arizona U-College of Social and Behavioral Sciences




  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.