by April Wilsey
(Note: April is the coordinator for the Classroom Amasani Program the purpose of which is to facilitate the adoption of Navajo Elders by school classrooms and facilitate cultural exchange between the two.)
The Classroom Amasani Program connects teachers and their students with Navajo Elders and their families. It is our intention that both groups will be able to share their cultures and learn from each other.
When teachers decide to adopt an Elder for their classroom, a packet is sent to them including photo and bio of their Elder and other pictures showing the hogans and life on the reservation. Also included are a AAA map of the southwestern Indian country that includes the Navajo Reservation, information about their culture, and two CD’s with about 23 issues of the Amasani Bahane Newsletter. Each issue contains an article about Navajo life written by a Navajo. There are lesson plans that go with Navajo stories, mapping activities and much more that can be taught to the class.
Rodger Williams and April Wilsey have done four presentations at elementary schools beginning in February through April 1. They have taken rugs made by Navajo children, turquoise jewelry, a ceremonial basket, and video of the Adopt-A-Native Elder Program to share with the students. Recently Rodger added a Navajo Code Talker doll and information explaining how these very brave and patriotic Navajo soldiers created a code within a code to help win the war in Japan during WWII. Rodger also takes his drum and sings Navajo songs and teaches them how to count to 10.
The Classroom Amasani presentatons are for any schools signed up in the program and live within a 45 minute drive from Park City.
For more information about this program you can read last year's blog about Amasani, or visit the Amasani page of our web site. There is some free information you can download and print for your own use.