Amber and Hailey: Braids and Morning Sun

Amber and Hailey. Faces of the Festival 2019. Steven Meckler photo

“I am full blooded Navajo. I was raised on the reservation. I currently reside here in Tucson. I came for school. Eventually I am planning to work back on the reservation to give back to my community. Something I hold near and dear to my heart is that, my whole entire life, my dad has always washed our hair for us. He’s brushed it and always braided it. I enjoy having my hair braided. Both my sister and I were jingle dancers, so we danced traditionally, and one of the things that we like to do for one another is braid each other’s hair.It always just warms me.”


“I am from a small town on the Navajo reservation called Dilkon. We have one stop sign, a grocery store, and a gas station. So it’s really small. Living in a city environment, not open mountain land with neighbors 10 miles down the road, I feel closest to my culture in the mornings, I try to wake up before the sun comes up. We’re told growing up that you’re supposed to wake up before the sun and that you’re supposed to go running. You greet the morning sun and in Navajo it’s Yá’át’ééh abíní–you’re saying good morning. Being in the bigger cities, I like to try and wake up and go running and say my morning prayers. It’s something that I can still hold close to me. ”


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