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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


april 6, 2002 - Issue 58


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Navajo Students Doing the New York City Thing

Empire State BuildingRED MESA, AZ - All roads lead to Rome, or in this case a quantum leap into the Big Apple.

New York City will soon feel the soles of five Red Mesa High School students traversing its sidewalks and subway platforms far below its canyon walls. Their view of the world, a sandy-mountainous landscape in Red Mesa, 40 miles west of Shiprock, will be replaced by the hardened-concrete sidewalks of Times Square, Broadway and the Battery.

The students and staff were excited about the opportunity.

"We'll know we're there when we see the spirals on the Empire State Building," Red Mesa High School drama teacher Connie DiLego said about their Thursday flight to Gotham City.

The school received word Tuesday that funding had been approved to make the six-day trip, made available for educational purposes. It is being sponsored by the Navajo Nation's Youth Opportunity Program and the U.S. Department of Labor. Russell Gould, with the program's office in Shiprock, said "Red Mesa is way out here. Students don't have the opportunity for experiencing the outside world."

Red Mesa High School Principal Tim Benally added "Any supplemental program or educational help is a benefit to this school. We're expecting a lot of information back. We're concerned about safety ... they're going to see Ground Zero."

The Navajos, who hold spiritual taboos about death, will witness the site of the former World Trade Center towers - now open for public viewing - where more bodies were found just last week.

The students agreed it will be very emotional. But it is also an opportunity to see the epitome of American financial strength and culture.

"Going to New York is like a dream come true," student Winter Warren added. "I want to see Broadway plays."

Warren is in luck. Their itinerary includes tickets to the performances of "The Lion King," "Stomp" and "The Phantom of the Opera."

Warren and fellow students Sherwin Clah, Shuan Stephenson, Elsie Nakai, Kimberly Dee, along with DiLego and chaperon Marsha Griffin, will also visit the Statue of Liberty, the New York Film Academy and have dinner in the Rainbow Room inside the Empire State Building.

The will also visit the Museum of Modern Art, the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, a Native American community and go on a walking tour of Chinatown.

"Our students are very creative," said DiLego, who also teaches journalism and English.

After their visit to the New York, DiLego said, "they'll come back and might come up with a play, poem, sculpture, painting or essay. They're very emotional - most students in the arts are - I'm sure they're going to be inspired by that," Dilego said.

The school bought a new video camera so the students can make a documentary of their trip to share with their Red Mesa community back home of their adventures in the big city.

Red Mesa, AZ Map

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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, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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