Adult Education Elders Present at State Conference
By Laura Jijon
|Mr. Anderson Lee|
Adult Education Director, Laura Jijon, briefly introduced the presentation, explaining how North Campus is committed to inspiring hope and bringing healing to our area and introduced each participant. Elder, Mr. Anderson Lee began with a traditional Navajo morning song, then Elder, Mr. Harry Lee offered a traditional Navajo blessing for the gathering. He then continued by sharing a map of Navajoland and explaining how Gallup is located within the Four sacred mountains and offered a context for where we are and the inspiration of our work.
|Ms. Diane Butler|
prepared for the Gallup Flea Market.
Ms. Butler also shared about a book that our adult education students published with the help of 4th World ATD. These stories called “The Roles We Play” are autobiographies that included the personal traumas so many of our students experience. Seeing the narratives of their lives in print, including photos of themselves surrounded by classmates and other supporters, transformed their stories of pain into strength and hope, and began the healing process for many.
|Mr. Aaron Evans and Mr. Harry Lee|
Finally, our center’s Lead Teacher, Mr. Shawn Ashley, concluded, sharing how working with the Elders has helped him understand and appreciate grandparents, and how our Elders can serve as grandparents in a community where many children, young people, and adults may not have Elders in their lives or have damaged relationships with them. He spoke how this is a form of healing, infusing hope into our community.
We were grateful to have our Division Chair, Mr. LD Lovett in attendance as well as ALTS representative Ms. Tup Tupper who placed our Elders at North Campus. What was most remarkable to all of us was that our presentation at the conference was packed—standing room only! Over 100 people crowded into the room and those who couldn’t get in asked if we’d be making another presentation at the conference. When we finished, all of the presenters were inundated with wonderful, encouraging comments and numerous invitations to visit Senior and Community Centers around the state to help other communities find creative, meaningful, and traditional ways to encourage the contributions of Elders to heal their communities.
Our North Campus students and staff are so proud of our Elders, and we hope the entire UNM-G family is as well!