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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 6, 2001 - Issue 46


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 Utah Navajo Mother Honored for Keeping Traditional Lifeways


 by Brenda Norrell / Today Staff / Indian Country Today-September 25, 2001

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. – Clara Maryboy was a really nice mother, but she had these rules, her son Kenneth Maryboy said, remembering his childhood with the woman recently honored by the state of Utah and Navajo Nation for her traditional ways.

“She was a very nice woman and I could always rely on her,” said Kenneth, who like brother Mark Maryboy, serves as a Navajo Nation councilman representing Aneth, Mexico Water and Red Mesa, Utah.

“The first time you did something, she would sit down and talk to you. She would be lenient,” Kenneth remembered as he recounted his mother’s “rule of four times.”

He knew he could depend on his mother to be patient with him the first couple of times he misbehaved. But the third time, she would deliver a stern warning, “I really don’t care how old you are, I will spank you.”

“And the fourth time, she would spank you. And she would do that now, no matter how old we are,” Kenneth said with a laugh, standing with his grown brothers and sisters at the VIP reception at the Navajo Nation Fair.

Maryboy, recognized earlier as Utah’s Mother of the Year, was the grand marshal for the 55th annual Navajo Nation Fair Parade and was honored by Navajo and state dignitaries.

The traditional mother, reared by her grandparents after her mother’s death, brought up her own children alone after her husband, a uranium miner, died. She is a rug weaver and farmed and raised livestock to support her children.

During a barbecue luncheon Navajo Speaker Ed T. Begay recognized Maryboy for her traditional philosophies and her diligence in promoting healthy foods and lifestyles to fight diabetes among Native people.

“Thank you for working with our kids,” Speaker Begay said, presenting her with a recognition plaque. “She encourages a lot of the elderly and she promotes healthy foods.”

Maryboy was honored alongside Navajo Code Talkers in an outdoor ceremony attended by Navajo President Kelsey Begaye, Arizona Attorney General Janet Napolitano, Tom Udall, D-N.M., Arizona state Rep. Albert Tom and other dignitaries.

The parade highlighted the rodeo, pow wow, traditional song and dance, carnival and home arts and science exhibits. Events included mock rock climbing for children and wild horse races, but few events topped the Waylon Jennings concert.

Nenahnezad, N.M., Councilman George Arthur, chairman of the Navajo Resources Committee, said this year’s fair theme commemorates the nation’s involvement with the 2001 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

“Bringing that theme closer to home, ‘Together we carry the Torch of Life: Iin bindii’a’,ko’,bee ns annoosl;’ we have been called to light the future,” Arthur said.

With the scent of mutton stew, corn dogs and roasted yellow corn, children streamed by with cotton candy and candied apples headed for livestock exhibits of llama, bunnies and calves.

With the rhythm of the Diné songs and Plains drums, parents joined the traditional song and dance and pow wow. Many checked their e-mail at the mobile solar e-site featuring a sample of new computers donated by the Gates Foundation. OnSat Network Communications is installing computers at the tribe’s 110 chapter houses in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

Ben Gorman, working in the fair arts and crafts exhibit hall, held up the award-winning, “Fishing in the Caribbean,” a coin-sized pendant made of 14 karat gold and larimar blue stone from the Caribbean. The $12,000 pendant, with a fish design and sun face on opposite sides, was created by Navajo silversmith Darryl Dean Begay and captured the top arts and crafts honor.

“I think it’s because of the level of detail. The inlay was very intricate. He used 16 different types of gemstones to do the pendant. It’s a very fine piece that was very difficult to make. I think that is what impressed the judges,” Gorman said, surrounded by cast silver and turquoise jewelry, velveteen blouses and oil paintings garnished with winning ribbons.

Creative expressions included a shirt made with Blue Bird Flour sacks, nostalgia for fry bread lovers. A miniature trading post was stocked with dollhouse size ceramic cups and a tiny blue enamel coffee pot.

Seated on a bench outside the arts and crafts exhibit Casey Clifford, a Navajo from Beclahbito, N.M., was doing what many Navajos like to do best at the fair – people watching.

“What I like a lot about the fair is there are a lot of interesting people. I like their clothes and jewelry. Everything interests me, the rodeo, meeting old friends,” he said.

Casey and wife Lena watched quietly as tens of thousands passed in a steady stream for the night performance of American Indian singers and performers.

Clifford said he spent his life working in the coal mines, and now he likes to just take the time to sit and watch the people go by.

   Maps by Travel

Navajo Nation Fair-Official Site
"Iiná Bindii'a', ko, bee naáá anooséél"
"Together, We Carry The Torch of Life"

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  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.


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