• Naash gali Art2nd clan

  • Good morning Nataani's, staff and students,

    I am honored to work with our children again in this new school year 2023-24 at TILC. At this school, we have respect for our Dine history, language, and culture, which we use along with western academics. We work with the Arizona state standards. The standards are used as an assessment tool to help us monitor student growth and learning.

    It is only appropriate for me to introduce myself through the clan system. My first clan is Naashgali Dine'e which is affiliated with the Mescalero Apache bloodline or clan. My second clan is Tabaahi. In English, this translates to Near the Water People. My maternal grandfather's clan is To’ahheedlinii and my paternal grandfather's clan is Ma’ii Deeshgiizhnii. My parents were both born in and grew up in Canyon Del Muerto.

    I think the most fascinating part of my clan is hearing the stories about my great, great, great, grandmother's Apache heritage. Naashgali Dine'e would become known among the Dine as one of their new clans. I am sure that for my great, great, great grandmother this was not at all a pleasant experience because she was brought here by Navajo warriors who stole her from her tribe. Regardless, she built her life at Shush Bitoo’. Most likely, this did not sit easily with the matriarchs of the area at the time. Stories tell us that the main matriarchal clan once tried to scold the man who married her and told him to "take her back to wherever she came from." The clan would become accepted by the Dine Tribe. The Mescalero Woman inherited land from the Navajo man she married at a place we call Bear Springs in between Canyon Del Muerto and Canyon De Chelly. Today, my late mother's brothers, sisters and their children have made homes there at Shush Bitoo’.

    I attended kindergarten school through 12th grade at Chinle Schools. After high school graduation, I got accepted to The Institute of American Indian Arts in the early 90's earning an Associates of Fine Arts. After I.A.I.A., I went on to Fort Lewis College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. I taught Fine Arts on the Navajo Nation for 15 years and finally decided to go back to school. I earned a masters' degree in Art Therapy and Counseling in 2019.

    I grew up with many challenges on the rez. I grew up in a single-parent home, which can be heartbreaking and tough. I cried a lot, because my dad was not in my life during my teen years. Many of you are facing the same challenges, but you know what? If I can get through this hardship, so can you. My father did not even really come into my life until I went to college. I was lucky that those few teachers who believed in me encouraged me to get into a college. Those few teachers continued to taunt me about college, so I went each time I was given an acceptance letter. I want to encourage each of you to move into college after high school. This is why it is so important for you to stay in school. I hope you make the choice to come to school each day because the staff here want a better life for you after you graduate. Our children here at Window Rock Public Schools are the future. There will come a time when we will become the elders and look up to your leadership within our tribe. 

    Sincerely,

    Victoria Begay, TILC/TDB School Art Therapist/Counselor

TILC Counselor