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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


August 10, 2002 - Issue 67


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Navajo Student Values Washington Experience

WASHINGTON, DC - She is only going to be a high school junior, but that did not stop Lucille A. Woodie from taking advantage of spending a summer in Washington.

After completing her sophomore year of high school in May, Woodie decided she needed to experience life beyond the Navajo reservation. She packed her bags and headed to Alexandria, Va., to spend the summer with her brother and sister-in-law.

After considering several different places to work, Executive Director Michelle Brown-Yazzie hired Woodie as a high school summer intern at the Navajo Nation Washington Office. It was an offer Woodie was not about to pass up.

"It has been a pleasure having Lucille become part of our team for at least the summer. Besides being able to provide a unique educational experience to a member of the Navajo youth, her help with the office's overwhelming workload is greatly appreciated," Brown-Yazzie said.

Woodie's daily tasks include: answering phones; filing and organizing the filing system; typing, copying and faxing important documents; distributing internal mail; and learning about the Navajo Nation government and its inner workings. These duties may not seem any different than any other summer job, but Woodie had the opportunity to see the office interact with Navajo Nation President Kelsey Begaye, numerous Council delegates, division directors and other leaders to address pertinent Navajo Nation matters at the federal level.

The Navajo teen-ager also attended several special events, including a Pro Golf Association Tournament in Maryland to root on Navajo golfer Notah Begay III; the "Windtalkers" Washington D.C. premiere, where she met actors Adam Beach, Roger Willie, Nicholas Cage, Christian Slater, and Director John Woo; a Women's National Basketball Association game; and the July Fourth fireworks display on the National Mall. During her stay, Woodie also enjoyed touring the monuments, going to the beach, playing in a softball summer league and playing basketball at the park on weekends.

"It was an honor to meet President Begaye and the Council delegates that came to the office. I learned a lot about the Navajo Nation government," Woodie said.

When asked to sum up her experience Lucille said, "The city is very crowded and filled with a lot of interesting people. It is very loud here, very different than the quiet life on the reservation. There's a lot of buildings and trees, but no goats, sheep, horses, or cows. The humid weather is what I had a hard time adjusting to."

"I am grateful to the Navajo Nation Washington Office for employing me and teaching me new things, especially about my own government. And, I am glad that my brother and sister-in-law gave me the opportunity to stay out here and experience life off the reservation and see what the rest of the world has to offer. Two months is really a short time to see everything here," Woodie said.

She said her most enjoyable moment was attending the Windtalkers Premiere, "because I got to meet all the movie stars."

Her brother, Shawn Woods, works for the Navajo Nation Washington Office and her sister-in-law, Erna Bennalley Woods, works for Ietan Consulting, LLC.

Woodie hails from Mexican Springs where she attends Tohatchi High School. Her clans are Tachii'nii, born for Lk'aa'Dine'. Her maternal grandfathers clan is Tbaah and her paternal grandfathers clan is Tl'izilani. She is a member of the National Honor Society. Her future plans are to attend college and return to the Navajo Nation as a physician.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Navajo Nation provided this article.

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