By Louise Benally
NAVAJO NATION. The Diné Language Teachers Association (DLTA) has received a $40,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to support and bring community awareness to Diné language learning by promoting Nihizaad doo baa dáádidiikah da (We will not leave our language behind.) to educators, parents, community members and administrators and improve their services to the Navajo Nation community.
DLTA realizes that the Diné People are at a critical state of Diné language survival and maintenance especially for the young ones, the youth and their parents who are struggling to learn and grow in their ability to communicate in the Diné language.
DLTA will work with community members to test out the Mentor-Apprentice models as a viable alternative for young and older adults to learn Diné language to keep it alive and pass it on to their children. DLTA has committed to supporting the families and provide mentorship to them as they acquire the Diné language to promote Nihizaad doo baa Dáádidiikah da.
Barbara Jenni, Adar Anisman, Onowa McIvor, and Peter Jacobs in their study, Exploration of the Effects of Mentor-Apprentice Programs on Mentors’ and Apprentices’ Wellbeing found that the participants repeated themes that have to do with the holistic concepts of wellbeing and health, i.e., finding comfort, achieving sobriety, personal empowerment even to achieving leadership positions within their community. In other words, it had a healing effect.
DLTA’s goal is to promote nihizaad doo baa dáádidiikah da. The pilot testing of the approaches will be presented as a professional development to train coaches and mentors at the annual DLTA conference in the fall. For more information, visit dinelanguageteachers.org or the dinelanguageteachers facebook page) or call 505-728-9091 and leave a message and we will return your call as soon as we can.