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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America



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High School Senior Likes Rubbing Elbows with U.S. Presidents


by Zsombor Peter Staff Writer Gallup Independent


credits: photo: Cordell Curleyhair


Cordell CurleyhairGALLUP — Cordell Curleyhair has a meeting with President George Bush in Washington, D.C., he'd like to make, but he needs the public's help to get there.

The St. Michael's High School senior was selected to participate in the Presidential Classroom program, which brings together high-achieving high school students from across the globe for a week-long immersion into the ways of the U.S. government in the nation's capital. The catch is the $1,175 he needs to make it happen, which will cover the program's tuition fee, room and board.

He's already scraped together about $600 toward the cost of the round-trip airfare, and is planning raffles and other events to help pay for the rest. He's also set up an account with the Bank of America in Gallup to collect donations specifically for the purpose.

Established in 1968, the non-profit civic education program gives students a first-hand crash course on U.S. politics from the inside. During an intense week of events, students attend seminars lead by government employees from staffers to the vice president, work on week-long group reports on current issues, participate in group discussions and visit Capitol Hill and other D.C. landmarks.

"I want to get a better understanding of the government and hopefully bring that back to our area, and use it after I get into college," said Curleyhair, who is thinking of studying biology or political science after high school.

During the week in D.C., from July 10 through July 17, Curleyhair said there's also a scheduled meet-and-greet with President Bush over dinner he's looking forward to.

Although he's never been east, it won't be the first time Curleyhair will have met a sitting president. As the best friend of one of former Navajo Nation President Kelsey Begaye's sons, he had the chance to meet Bill Clinton during a dinner for special guests when the president visited Shiprock in 2000.

He also credits his close relations to the Begaye family, and trips to the council chambers during his term, for his interest in politics.

Anyone interested in donating to Curleyhair's trip may deposit funds into a special account the family opened with Bank of America in Gallup, number 004275798279, by the first weekend in July. You may reach the family by writing to P.O. Box 3846, Window Rock, AZ, 86515.

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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, 2003, 2004 of Vicki Barry and Paul Barry.

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