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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


November 3, 2001 - Issue 48


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 Local Teens Will Learn 'Walking In Beauty'


 by Joe Kolb Special to the Gallup Independent-October 23, 2001


art Navajo Three by Virginia Stroud

The National Indian Youth Leadership Project has received federal funding for a substance abuse prevention initiative directed at adolescent females, using among other interventions, traditional native themes and traditions.

The federal grant, which was awarded to the project from the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention is expected to service more than 300 youth in the Gallup, McKinley County and Navajo reservation area over the course of the next three years.

"Walking In Beauty," as the program has been coined, is a year-round program which will include outdoor and experiential groups, service learning activities, rites of passage support groups and talking circles, to name a few. Also included will be opportunities for the teens to learn or become re-acquainted with traditional activities with families and elders. An intensive summer program is also scheduled to be held at the project's Sacred Mountain Learning Center at Mount Taylor.

"This is a really exciting opportunity for young girls," says McClellan Hall, project executive director. Hall says that his organization was awarded the grant because of its national reputation in providing quality prevention programs for area youth.

"The majority of kids in the area are considered to be at high risk in terms of drop out, teen pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as suicide," says Hall. "We're trying to provide a positive alternative in terms of what's out there."

Hall said this program will address many of the issues and problems young girls face.

"This program is for kids before they get into trouble. We also want to help them make a successful transition from the middle schools and junior high into the high school," says Hall, referring to this vulnerable period in an adolescent's life.

Following the theme of so many of the NIYLP's programs and philosophies, the "Walking In Beauty" Program will also include service learning and community involvement.

As the program name implies, "Walking In Beauty" is a Navajo culture right of passage for adolescent girls. Hall says that the program is representative of all of the racial mixes in the Gallup area.

"All cultures have some kind of right of passage," he said.

Hall said he feels that understanding one's own as well as other cultures is beneficial towards the development of a child.

Studies have shown that Native American children who are strongly rooted in their culture are more likely to be successful in school, according to cited research by Hall.

The free program runs all year after school, and during the summer. Anyone interested should contact McLellan Hall or Kimberly Ross-Toledo at 505-722-9176, or e-mail to

National Indian Youth Leadership Project
National Indian Youth Leadership Project's Mission Statement: To engage Native youth in challenging activities and meaningful experiences in the community and the natural world, as well as through academic, artistic and athletic performance.

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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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