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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America



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In Teec Nos Pos, It's All About Leaders, Tradition


by Valarie Lee/For The Farmington Daily Times


credits: Frederick Wing, 6, of Teec Nos Pos runs ahead of the other walkers during the opening of Leadership Day Wednesday. Ben Chrisman/The Daily Times


Frederick Wing, 6, of Teec Nos Pos runs ahead of the other walkers during the opening of Leadership Day Wednesday. Ben Chrisman/The Daily TimesTEEC NOS POS, Ariz. — It was appropriate that 6-year-old Frederick Wing led the group of walkers down the sandy, rocky path that swirled around the base of the pale peach and yellow buttes in the hot morning sun.

That's because last year, Wing's little sister Lynell, lead a group of people up the Carrizo mountain to a waterfall, considered sacred by some members of the community.

Lynell was only 3-years-old when she made the six-mile hike. And because she never stopped to rest, or complained during the difficult hike, the group decided to name the trail after her.

Therefore, big brother Frederick was not going to be left out of this year's accolades and made a promise to himself and his mother that he would lead Wednesday's four-mile walk.

As Wing raced along in his Spiderman sandals, his bright orange T-shirt soon became a small dot in the distance as he made his way up and down the sagebrush and cottonwood-covered hills.

Frederick's mom, Janice, said she could barely keep up with him, but knew how important it was for him to lead the pack.

"These kids have been looking forward to this for a month and I didn't want to disappoint them, so we got up early and we made our way over here. He (Frederick) said he wanted this trail named for him, so he wanted to make sure he stayed in front," Janice said.

Nonetheless, Wing fulfilled his promise and didn't seem a bit tired.

"I walked in the front," Wing said softly from beneath a baseball cap, his Spiderman sandals covered in dust, "I made it all the way over here, that gramma was behind me."

Wing was referring to one of several Navajo 'grammas' who came out and walked the four-plus miles as truckers and other vehicles honked to show support and encouragement.

Later Wing was seen zipping around the Teec Nos Pos Chapter House where participants were served mutton stew and fry bread.

To add to the festivities, various Navajo politicians showed up just in time for lunch and were seen holding onto colorful commemorative T-shirts and water bottles meant for those who completed the walk.

"Seems funny to have walked all the way and then load up on this," quipped one smiling server as she handed over a soda to one tired, sunburned walker.

Teasing aside, Wednesday's "fun walk" was the first event to be held in conjunction with the 24th Annual Leadership Day.

"This is a way to honor Navajo leaders. In the beginning (of Leadership Day), we set aside one day of the year, where the community and Navajo leaders come together to do positive activities and share a meal," said Wallace Todacheeny, event coordinator.

Todacheeny said the Leadership Day has grown over the years and the community looks forward to it every year for many reasons.

"It's important to honor your leaders and we are very proud to have a great leader of the Navajo tribe who calls this his home," Todacheeny added.

The great leader Todacheeny was referring to was former Navajo Chairman Peter MacDonald, who hails from Teec Nos Pos and is still very much beloved and respected by many in the community.

"Chairman MacDonald and first lady Wanda and Delegate Hope MacDonald-Lonetree (Tuba City Council Delegate) are going to be here on Thursday and will be the featured speakers," said John MacDonald, brother of the former Navajo leader.

Todacheeny said there will be many activities for people to enjoy and everyone is invited to spend the day in Teec Nos Pos.

Some activities scheduled to being on Thursday, include a parade, free lunch, Leadership Awards presentations/speakers, rodeo presentation by Indian National Finals Rodeo World Champion James Hunt, Jr., and free western dance.

Miss Navajo Nation Marla Billey will attend and, if time permits, President Joe Shirley Jr. may also attend.

Information: (928) 656-3662.

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