Navajo youth about the dangers of substance abuse, domestic violence,
bullying and other social issues is at the heart of Project Peace
Peace Train, a group of Native American entertainers dedicated to
spreading the message about making the right choices in life, is
a side project of Walking the Healing Path. Healing Path is the
organization founded by father-son team Ernest Tsosie Jr. and John
Tsosie, best known for their annual long-distance walk to end domestic
Peace Train debuted Monday at Ganado High School, delivering a mixture
of entertainment and serious discussion to students gathered inside
listened to the personal experiences of comedians Ernest Tsosie
III, Pax Harvey, Tatanka Means and Adrianne Chalepah; singer Jay
Begaye; and martial artists Reginald and Bronson Mitchell.
grew up in hard circumstances but was able to overcome the resulting
personal problems and build a good life.
touched on her days as a high school cheerleader in her home state
of Oklahoma, and spoke about overcoming childhood experiences that
included attending 10 schools by the 10th grade.
parents didn't do the best job raising me. They know that and they're
working on it," she said. "You know what? I still made
of "making it" includes starting a business and developing
her comedic talents. Along the way, Chalepah said she learned to
be her own person and to stick to the choices she made.
would not be where I am today if I was not drug and alcohol free,"
she said. "Draw that line for yourself. If you want to be drug
and alcohol free, do it. If you want to be domestic violence free,
don't let anybody hurt you."
between sets, masters of ceremonies Ernest Tsosie III and Harvey
joked about family members, personal experiences, and life on the
the laughter, Tsosie and Harvey continued to mention the social
issues that Project Peace Train is targeting.
is a permanent solution to a temporary problem," Tsosie said,
asking students to think about his statement.
reminded the teens that it is OK to be an individual and resist
peer pressure to do what the group is doing when you know it's not
of the more serious moments came when Ernest Tsosie Jr., John and
Ernest III's father, spoke about the alcoholism and domestic violence
that he had inflicted on his family.
a parent, Tsosie said, it was hard to watch his boys head down the
same path, with Ernest III abusing drugs and alcohol and John involved
in domestic violence.
taking a wrong turn did not mean they had to stay on the wrong path,
and both sons found the courage to overcome their mistakes. Ernest
III has been clean and sober for 10 years, while John sought counseling
and grew into one of the Navajo Nation's leading advocates on the
issue of domestic violence.