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  • NAVAJO TRADITIONAL APPRENTICESHIP PROJECT

Purpose

 

The traditional Navajo Ceremonies are the preventive and the traditional health care system used by the Navajo people. The Navajo Nation and the Navajo traditional practitioners have recognized the need for apprenticeship training for apprentices to learn the skills, the application and practice of the ceremonies from established practitioners. The apprenticeship training takes many years, depending upon the type of ceremony or ceremonies the apprentice is learning.

Navajo Traditional ceremonial practitioners have basic knowledge of traditional stories, songs, prayers, and procedures as related to each specific ceremony. These ceremonies are very closely guarded and the knowledge is handed down through immediate families and clan members. It is very important that the Navajo people continue to practice these ceremonies. Today, there are approximately thirty four different traditional ceremonies left with and ever decreasing number of practitioners to perform these ceremonies.

The Navajo Nation is losing ceremonies with the passage of time. If the Nation does not make any attempt to preserve, protect or perpetuate these ceremonies, these ceremonies will diminish. The loss of these ceremonies would be a serious consequences to the traditional well being of the Navajo Nation and the people. The purpose of the Navajo traditional Apprenticeship Project is to train apprentices of Navajo traditional healing ceremonies most in danger of being lost. The project is intended to serve eligible apprentices to complete their Navajo traditional healing ceremony training and become a Navajo traditional healing practitioner.

The Navajo population is ever increasing, the demands for the traditional Navajo practitioners and ceremonies may not meet the need of the Navajo people without the establishment of a Navajo Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

History - Project Realization

 

Acknowledgment goes to many individuals and committees who made the Traditional Navajo Apprenticeship Project possible. The coordination and research was carried out by the Office of Diné Culture, Language and Community Services, Division of Diné Education. The following are a few people who supported and/or worked on the Traditional Navajo Apprenticeship Project.

 

Executive Branch

President Milton Bluehouse; Jeff Begaye, Chief of Staff; Albert Hale, Former President; Thomas E. Atcitty, Former President; Anselm Roanhorse, former Chief of Staff; and Ned Nez, Staff Assistant.

 

Division of Diné Education

Elmer J. Guy, Executive Director; Anita Tsinajinnie, Former Executive Director, and Justin Jones, Acting Executive Director.

 

Office of Diné Culture, Language and Community Services

Eddie Tso, Program Director; Irving James, Traditional Education Specialist; Ray Denny, Traditional Education Specialist; and Shirlee Bowman, Administrative Assistant.

 

Office of Navajo Scholarship and Financial Assistance

Regis Clauschee, Director; Gervase Begay, Education Specialist III; Marie H. Saltclah, Education Specialist; and Eddie Crank, Education Specialist.

 

Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Department

Robert Johnson, Navajo Culture Specialist; and Steven Begay, Traditional Cultural Specialist.

 

Subcommittee on Adult Education, Education Committee (1995-1998)

Kenneth Nez, Chairperson; Committee Members: Elmer E. Clark, Harry Jackson, Julia M. Mose and the late William Tso; Leonard Gorman, Executive Director, Legislative Services.

 

Education Committee of the Navajo Nation Council (1995-1998)

Leonard Chee, Chairperson; Committee Members: Kenneth Nez, Andy R. Ayze, Elmer E. Clark, Emerson Jackson, Sr., Harry Jackson, Julia M. Mose, Wallace Charley, and the late William Tso; Leonard Gorman, Executive Director, Legislative Services; and Peggy Nakai, Legislative Advisor.

 

Government Service Committee of the Navajo Nation (1995-1998)

Milton Bluehouse, Sr., Chairperson; Members: Wallace C. Archer, Sr., Ervin M. Keeswood, Sr., Lenora Y. Fulton, Harrison Plummer, Wallace D. Davis, and Charley C. Billy; Rose Graham, Legislative Advisory, Legislative Services.

 

Budget and Finance Committee of the Navajo Nation (1995-1998)

Mark Maryboy, Chairperson; Committee Members: Eula Yazzie, Edward T. Begay, Kellywood Harvey, Ernest Hubbell, Victor Joe, Jr., Lee B. Roy, and John Perry, Jr.; Robert Salabiye, Legislative Advisory, Legislative Services.

 

The Navajo Nation Council (1995-1998)

The Navajo Nation Council delegates

 

Diné Cultural and Spiritual Society

Taylor Dixon, Sammie Silver, Navy James, Joe Dennison, Emma Stanley, Hoskie Tom Becenti, Sam Begay, Earl Yellowhair, Norris Nez, Clyde Chee, Thomas Morris, Paul Tokey, John Smith, Sr., Joe Brown, Kee Charley, Norman Pete, Abbie Nelson, Jimmie Nelson, Andrew Natonabah; Daniel Peaches, Advisory; the late Nevy Jensen; the late Daniel Descheenie, Sr., Advisory; other members; and Traditional Practitioners who names are not mentioned.

 

Artist

Leroy Multine, Illustrator, Navajo Language Full Immersion Project, Office of Diné Culture and Language. We extend our gratitude to many individuals who voluntarily participated in the meetings and discussions for their patience and dedication. We thank everyone and we hope you and others will continue to support and contribute in further development of the Traditional Navajo Apprenticeship Project by keeping it Diné. Thank you.

Overview

 

The Hale/Atcitty Administration in 1995 encouraged the Division of Diné Education to review their budget and identify funds for the proposed Navajo Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

The Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Assistance identified the fundings source from the Navajo Vocational Trust Fund proceeds to propose the Navajo Traditional Apprenticeship Project (NTAP).

The Education Committee of the Navajo Nation Council established the subcommittee on Adult Education to meet with Traditional Practitioners and to review issues surrounding the establishment of NTAP and propose amendments of enactment of adult education policies, regulations or laws to the full Education Committee of the Navajo Nation Council. The Education Committee, the Government Services Committee, the Budget and Finance Committee, and the Navajo Nation Council adopted the following resolutions to esnure that the proceeds from the Navajo Vocational Trust Funs will used to provide the stipend and scholarship to the Apprenticeship Project.

 

ECO-118-97,  Resolution of the Education Committee of the Navajo Nation Council; Approving and Adopting the Policies and Procedures for the Navajo Traditional Apprenticeship Project and recommending that the Government Services Committee Approve and Adopt the Apprentice Committee Plan of Operation.

GSCD-81-97,  Resolution of the Government Services Committee of the Navajo Nation Council, Approving the Apprenticeship Committee Plan of Operation For the Navajo Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

ECJN-64-98,  Resolution of the Education Committee of the Navajo Nation Council, Approving and Recommending the Navajo Nation Council Amendment of Resolution CD-68-86, Establishing and Authorizing the Navajo Nation Trust Fund for Vocational Education by authorizing the Navajo Nation Trust Fund for Vocational Education by authorizing the inclusion of Apprentices and Practitioners in the Navajo Traditional Apprenticeship Project as eligible for use of the Navajo Nation Vocational Education Trust Fund Scholarship, grants.

ECJN-65-98,  Resolution of the Education Committee of the Navajo Nation Council, Amending the Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program Policies and Procedures so that Apprentices and Practitioners Participating in the Navajo Traditional Apprenticeship Project will Receive Payments from the Vocation Trust Fund Proceeds.

BFJY-88-98,  Resolution of the Budget and Finance Committee of the Navajo Nation Council, Approving the Amendment to the Administration and Management Plan for the "Navajo Nation Trust Fund for Vocational Education" and Recommending that the Navajo Nation Council Amend 12. N.N.C. § 1115. the Navajo Nation Trust Fund for Vocational Education.  

CJY-58-98,  Resolution of the Navajo Nation Council, Amending 12 N.N.C. § 1115, Establishing and Authorizing the Navajo Nation Trust Fund for Vocational Education By Authorizing and Inclusion of Apprentices and Practitioners in the Navajo Traditional Apprenticeship Project as Eligible for use of the Navajo Nation Vocational Education Trust Fund Scholarship Grants.

Policies and Procedures

 

I. PREAMBLE

In the Diné Creation, the medicine bundle was given to First Man (Atsé Hastiin) by the Holy People (Diyin Diné) in the First World. Coyote (Ma'ii), one of the Holy People (Dyin Diné) gave First Man (Atsé Hastiin) the power of mountain dirt, the songs, prayers and instructions on how to use this power to care and guide the people from the underworld and the movement upward.

Coyote traveled to the four sacred mountains singing and praying, to get mountain dirt for the preparation of the medicine bundle ceremony to be give to First Man. While traveling to each sacred mountain, corn pollen was sprinkled ahead. Coyote sang and prayed in calling to each mountain and to request the power from each. This power placed in the medicine bundle was to care, to provide, to advise, to guide, to ensure growth and continuity for all things that exist.

The Holy people (Diyin Diné) performed the Blessing Way ceremony on the mountain dirt for First Man (Atsé Hastiin). Talking God of the East (Haashch'éél ti'i) gave a buckskin. Other Holy People (Diyin Diné) fave paraphernalia (jish): songs, prayers, hogan songs, livestock songs, mountain songs; and gave air, water and light to First Man for the Diné people.

These sacred ceremonies have been handed down from generation to generation by practitioners who performed the different ceremonies to provide traditional Navajo health care prevention and a health care system. The practitioners care, protect, and preserve these ceremonies by keeping them within their family and clan. These ceremonies are becoming extinct and the number of practitioners are decreasing. With the apprenticeship project, the Navajo Nation takes the challenge to bring back the near extinct ceremonies and to increase the number of practitioners.

 

II. GENERAL INFORMATION

The purpose of the Traditional Apprenticeship Project is to train apprentice of Navajo traditional healing ceremonies, particularly those Navajo ceremonies most in danger of being lost. The project is intended to serve eligible apprentices to complete their Navajo traditional healing ceremony training and become Navajo traditional healing practitioners.

Goals:

i. To train eligible apprentices in the Navajo traditional healing ceremonies, particularly those most in danger of being lost.

ii. To train eligible apprentices to become Navajo traditional healing practitioners.

The Office of Diné Culture, Language and Community Services, Division of Diné Education, will fund the Traditional Apprenticeship Project annually. The funds will be allocated from the appropriate Navajo Nation funds.

The Office of Diné Culture and Language will be responsible for the administration of the Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

 

III. CODE OF CONDUCT

The Navajo practitioner holds one of the highest honors in the Navajo family, clan, community and society. A practitioner has leadership qualities, is a counselor, and a healer with traditional ceremonial knowledge. Their participant in the Traditional Apprenticeship Project shall follow the code of conduct adhered to by all traditional Navajo practitioners, including but not limited to the following:

1. Has a good reputation for performing the ceremony correctly and well.

2. Has to want to serve others.

3. Is modest, reserves, hard-working, sincere, reliable, honest, dedicated, generous and pleasant.

4. Meets traditional moral standards and traditional values in their personal lives.

5. Is not known for excessive gambling, alcohol and/or other substance abuse, stealing, lying or cheating.

6. Refrains from charging excessive fees or otherwise taking advantage of patients or their relatives.

 

IV. DEFINITIONS

For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions shall apply:

Applicant : Any person who has applied for the Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

Application : A written form the applicant must complete to be considered for admission to the Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

Apprentice :A person under legal agreement to participate in the on-the-job training for a specific length of time under the Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

Apprenticeship : The training period.

Education Specialist : The designated position with authority and responsibilities to manage and administer the Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

Apprenticeship Committee : The committee set up to assist, implement, and provide guidance to the Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

Award : Upon Eligibility and availability of funds, a document conferring upon an Apprentice and Practitioner a specified amount, for a specified length of time.

Navajo Traditional Healing Ceremony : Traditional Navajo ceremonies, having names and origin, that are carried out in a certain order and having specified amount, for a specified length of time.

Navajo Paraphernalia (jish) : Equipment such as, but not limited, to mountain dirt bundle (dzil leezh) protection bundle (Inaaléél), talking feather (k'eetaan yalti), corn pollen (ta didiino), arrowhead (béésist'ogii), rattles (aghaal), whistles (ts'isoos), shells (diicili), feathers (ats'os), reed (lok'aa'), crystals (tségha' dinidinii), herbs (azee'), etc., used in a ceremony by the practitioner.

Navajo Practitioner : A learned traditionalist who has the knowledge of a specific traditional Navajo ceremony and is able to accurately carry out all the procedures of such Navajo ceremony(s).

 

V. EDUCATIONAL SPECIALIST RESPONSIBILITIES

The Office of Diné Culture, Language and Community Services, the Education Specialist shall administer the Traditional Apprenticeship Project using the following guidelines.

1. The Education Specialist shall be supervised by Director of ODCL&CS.

2. The Education Specialist shall manage and administer the Project in accordance with the following duties:

A. Survey the Navajo ceremonies which are nearly extinct and submit said information to the Apprenticeship Committee and the Education Committee.

B. Advertise the Traditional Apprenticeship Project in the local newspapers and through the local radio stations.

C. Recruit eligible applicants for the Traditional Apprenticeship Project by interviewing, screening, and selecting the applicants who will participate in the Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

D. Notify applicants who are receiving awards or being denied for the Traditional Apprenticeship, Project.

E. Maintain all applicants' files and other personnel training agreement.

F. Ensure the apprentice and practitioner comply with the training agreement.

G. Monitor, evaluate, and provide quarterly reports an apprenticeship at the end of each quarterly term.

H. Shall submit quarterly reports to the Division of Diné Eduation, ODCL & CS Apprenticeship Committees, and the Education Committees.

 

VI. TRADITIONAL APPRENTICES TRAINING

The Traditional Apprenticeship Project training will be conducted in accordance with the following guidelines:

1. Training Priorities.

A. Apprentices who are nearing completion of their apprenticeship in becoming a practitioner in a Navajo ceremony listed as nearly extinct shall be given first preference in the training, especially those apprentices with the same practitioner now for several years.

B. Apprentices who are near completing their apprenticeship in becoming a practitioner in the Navajo ceremony, other than those considered near extinct, shall be given second preference for the training, especially those apprentices with the same practitioner now for several years.

C. Beginners or persons not near completion would have lower preference.

2. Training Period

The Navajo Practitioner signing the training agreement to train an apprentice shall establish the length of time and approximate time for the completion of the apprenticeship.

3. Training Stipend

The practitioners and apprentices shall use the training stipend to meet their training costs during the apprenticeship.

A. Apprentice

 Flat rate payment of $300.00 per month.

 Limit of 2 apprentices to each practitioner.

 Apprentices must be able to attend ceremony when the practitioner is performing. B. Practitioner (teacher)

 Flat rate payment of 350.00 per month

 Limit of 2 apprentices to each practitioner.

 An additional $150.00 for the second apprentice.

4. Apprentice application requirements

A. Training qualifications:

 shall be near completing his/her training in a Navajo ceremony

 shall have received training from the same practitioner for several years

 shall be recommended by the same practitioner receiving training from

 shall have the commitment and dedication to complete apprenticeship

 shall be responsible and determined to learn

 shall be courteous and respectful

 shall be a Navajo

 shall have Navajo parents

 shall understand and speak Navajo fluently

 shall reside on the Navajo reservation

 shall be knowledgeable about the different Navajo ceremonies

 shall be knowledgeable about Navajo values and the clan system

 shall be knowledgeable about the Navajo tradition and culture

B. Pre-training requirements:

shall submit apprentice application

shall identify, select, and receive approval from the practitioner

shall be interviewed by the Education Specialist

shall sign the Apprentice Training Agreement, if awarded

shall report to the Education Specialist for orientation on policies and procedures, monitoring, evaluation and quarterly reports

C. Training Description:

 shall study the ceremony at least 24 hours within each 2 week period.

 shall be trained by the practitioner at performances of ceremony

 shall be monitored and evaluated at the end of each quarter to review and determine the student's progress by the Education Specialist.

5. Practitioners application requirements

A. Training qualifications:

 shall be a Navajo traditional healing practitioner

 shall be recognized as a practitioner by the local community

 shall have been training the same apprentice now for several years

 shall recommend and accept the same apprentice for the apprenticeship

 shall have the commitment and dedication to teach

 shall be responsible and have the determination to teach

 shall be courteous and respectful

 shall identify two other practitioners for reference on the application

B. Teaching Requirements:

 shall agree to train the apprentice in the apprenticeship

 shall submit practitioner application

 shall be interviewed by the Education Specialist

 shall sign the Practitioner Training Agreement, if approved

 shall report to the Education Specialist for orientation on policies and procedures, monitoring, evaluation and quarterly reports

C. Teaching descriptions

 shall teach the ceremony at least 24 hours within each two week period

 shall monitor and evaluate the apprentice progress at each quarter

 based upon the practitioner's evaluation, the practitioner shall confer with the Education Specialist on the progress of the Apprentice

 shall confer with the Education Specialist when the apprentice is near completion of training and to start the traditional internship

6. Relationship

A. Training qualifications:

B. All participants shall indicate on the application form whether they are related to one another while training jointly as practitioner and apprentice.

C. The term "immediate family" means family members who are related by blood, clan, or marriage to the practitioner or apprentice as a father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece.

7. Employment

A. All applicants for the Traditional Apprenticeship Project shall indicate on the application form their current employment status.

B. Additional employment, if approved, must not impair performance on the Traditional Apprenticeship Project. This includes conflict of interest, neglect of duty, absence from the work station, and performing duties associated with additional employment during normal working hours.

8. Prohibitions

A. The practitioner shall decide whether or not to allow the apprentice to utilize any of the following methods for the purpose of learning during the apprenticeship training.

(1) picture taking

(2) video taking

(3) tape recording

(4) notetaking

(5) drawing on a buckskin or cloth, etc.

B. The practitioner shall not allow the public to utilize any of the following methods of recording while attending the apprenticeship training.

(1) picture taking

(2) video taking

(3) tape recording

(4) notetaking

(5) drawing

9. Completion of Apprenticeship

A. The practitioner shall keep the Education Specialist informed of the apprentice's progress at the end of each quarter.

B. The Education Specialist shall coordinate with the practitioner in arranging the traditional commencement at the completion of the apprenticeship

The traditional commencement confirms that the apprentice is now a practitioner and is qualified to conduct the ceremony.

 

VII. Awards and Denials

The Education Specialist shall award, or deny applicants

1. The Education Specialist shall screen all applicants and determine which applicants meet all the requirements of the Apprenticeship Project.

2. The Education Specialist shall interview applicants who are considered potential candidates for the Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

3. The Education Specialist shall award or deny applicants for the Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

4. The Education Specialist shall notify applicants of award in writing within ten (10) working days after the determination has been made.

5. The Education Specialist shall notify applicants who were denied in writing within ten (10) working days after the determination has been made.

The denial letter shall contain at least the following:

a. Applicant's full name, census number, and Social Security Number.

b. A brief statement of basis for the denial.

Plan of Operations

 

Article 1. APPRENTICESHIP COMMITTEE

 

Section 1. Establishment

The Apprenticeship Committee is hereby established in the Division of Diné Education of the Executive Branch of the Navajo Nation.

 

Section 2. Purposes

The Apprenticeship Committee's general purpose is to assist in the development, implementation, and appeal process of the Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

 

Section 3. Membership; selection; appointment; chairperson

A. The Committee shall consist of six (6) members from various Navajo Nation departments and organizations as follows:

  One (1) member from the Education Committee. If members do not meet the qualification, the committee may appoint another person with the specified qualification from another committee.

  One (1) member from the Diné Cultural and Spiritual Society.

  One (1) employee from Diné College Indian Studies. If employees do not meet the qualification, the college may appoint another person with the specified qualification from another office or organization.

  One (1) employee from the Navajo Nation Historic Preservation Office. If employees do not meet the qualification, the college may appoint another person with the specified qualification from another office or organization.

  One (1) employee from the Office of Navajo Nation Scholarship and Financial Assistance. If employees do not meet the qualification, the college may appoint another person with the specified qualification from another office or organization.

  One (1) employee from the Office of Diné Culture, Language and Community Services. If employees do not meet the qualification, the college may appoint another person with the specified qualification from another office or organization.

B. The Committee shall select a chairperson from among its members.

 

Section 4. Qualification

A. Shall speak and comprehend the Navajo Language.

B. Shall be knowledgeable about the different Traditional Navajo ceremony(s).

C. Shall be knowledgeable about the Traditional Navajo value and clan system.

D. Shall be knowledgeable about the Traditional Navajo Culture.

 

Section 5. Term of Office

Each member to the Apprenticeship Committee shall serve a term of two years provided that the member is employed by or a member of the organization he/she represents on said Committee. When a vacancy exists, a successor shall be appointed in the same manner provided in section 3 above to serve the remainder of the term.

 

Section 6. Compensation

Each member to the Apprenticeship Committee shall serve on a volunteer basis without any form of compensation and cost reimbursement.

 

Section 7. Powers

A. The Committee shall have such power as is necessary and proper for the accomplishment of the purposes set forth above.

B. The enumerated powers of the Committee are:

  Review and recommend to the Education Committee of the Navajo Nation Council regulations, policies and procedures to implement the Traditional Apprenticeship Project.

  Recommend the list of Navajo ceremonies that are near extinction to the Education Committee.

  Receive and review project monitoring, evaluation, and other quarterly reports from the Education specialist.

  Report to the Education Committee of the Navajo Nation Council the state of the Traditional Apprenticeship Project as requested by said committee.

 

Section 8. Meetings, quorum

A. The Apprenticeship Committee shall conduct one regular meeting at the end of the Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer Terms as provided below:

  Fall Term - August, September, and October

  Winter Term - November, December, and January

  Spring Term - February, March and April

  Summer Term - May, June and July

B. The Apprenticeship Committee shall meet periodically to review and decide on the appeal process.

C. At any meeting, a quorum of the Apprenticeship Committee shall consist of four (4) members of the Committee.

List of Ceremonies

 

Coming Soon.

Contact

 

Dr. Vangee Nez

Education Program Manager

 vangeenez@nndode.org

 928-871-7660

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