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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


October 20, 2001 - Issue 47


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 Navajos Proud of Their Role in the Torch Relay


There are 111 days until the 2002 Winter Olympics begin in Salt Lake City.

What sweeping landscapes the world will see on the Olympic torch relay's first day in Utah, Feb. 4. It starts at sunrise at Arches, midmorning will be in Monument Valley.

That will be a memorable day for the Navajo Nation, which proudly sent out biographical information about its seven tribal members selected to carry the flame.

Sure to receive considerable attention will be Wilfred Billey of Farmington, N.M., one of the Navajo "Codetalkers" whose coded messages never were broken by Japanese intelligence during World War II.

So, too, should Rosie Dayzie, whose home town of Shonto, Ariz., was described as having "1,000 to 2,000 people depending on the season." Coming out of a traditional family in which Dine was the first language, she was educated at Dixie College and the University of Utah and now works at a preparatory school in Shonto.

Single mother Kathy Holtsoi has raised a family of five. The artistic crowd will be exposed to Virginia Yazzie-Ballenger, a clothing designer, and Elmer Charles Yazzie, who paints with hand-made yucca brushes and has coached high school cross country teams to seven state titles.

Another runner, Brandon Leslie of Gallup, N.M., won seven state championships in track and cross country during his prep days. Recently, he was on the U.S. team at the World University Games in Beijing. "My goal in life is to make it to the 2004 Olympics, represent the United States and the Navajo Nation, and be a role model for my son and the Navajo youth of today," he said.

Jack Anderson, also of Gallup, fell a little short of realizing his ambition of making the Olympic team in 1984, but his story also reflects a love of running. "When I was growing, I lived with my grandmother," he recalled. "One of my daily chores . . . was to look after the sheep. I would let the sheep out of the corral in the morning and wait until the sheep were a couple of miles away before I would follow them, running. I've been running ever since."

Torch Relay Downloads

Salt Lake 2002 Official Site

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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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