AZ - Students from Window Rock Unified School District won six Navajo
speaking and cultural skills awards during the Diné Song
and Dance-Diné Spelling Bee Fair Nov. 18 at Diné College
in Tsaile, Ariz.
Students from Tséhootsoí Diné Bi'Olta'
School -a Navajo immersion school in Fort Defiance - won the competition
taking home 16 awards, including first place in the primary division
for corn-grinding, song-and-dance, duet singing, fire dance and
group singing. Tséhootsoí Diné Bi'Olta' also
won first place in the intermediate division of the solo singing
and corn-grinding competitions.
Window Rock High School students earned six awards and took
first place in the secondary division's solo and group singing categories
Competition took place in three divisions: the primary division
included kindergarten to third grade, the intermediate division
included fourth to eighth grade and the secondary division included
ninth to 12th grade, which also incorporated college students.
The Center for Diné Studies and the Center for Diné
Teacher Education played host to the competition that attracted
more than 350 students from across the region. The event was so
successful that organizers are considering putting on another competition
in the spring.
"Our goals are to preserve and teach the culture and heritage
of the Navajo people here at Diné College," said Thomas
Littleben Jr., chair of the Center for Diné Studies. "It
brings much pride to see young Navajo students taking the initiative
to speak, read, write and even sing in Navajo."
Littleben explained a similar event took place in March 2013,
but attendance was low and high school students competed against
college students in the spelling bee contest. This year, the event
attracted enough students from the region to have high school and
college students compete in their own categories.
Winners received trophies and certificates for their achievements