Youth News

Julian Begay of Many Farms, Arizona will be traveling to Australia and New Zealand to participate in the Down Under International Sport Tours in July of 2004. Julian is a cross-country runner representing his high school, the Dine Nation, the state of Arizona and the United States. This is an amazing opportunity for a 16 year old Dine youth. You can contact Julian or his parents, Gary & Pamela Begay, at (928)781-4297/PO Box 761, Chinle, AZ 86503 if you would like to support Julian in this Aussie adventure. The cost for the tour is in excess of $3,000.

The Soggy Bottom Singers by Pam Williams

As part of the Crestone presentation (story below) the audience was enchanted by a performance of Crestone's own Soggy Bottom Singers. Ranging in age from 6 months to about 3 years old. These young boys played the drum and sang songs most of us didn't recognize. We look forward to seeing them on the rez top 40 in the coming years.

photo by Caroline Romedenne

Grant Writing Continues by Pam Williams

Sacred Mountains Foundation is pleased to welcome Carrie Martin. Carrie arrived a couple weeks ago to begin grant writing for SMF projects. She is originally from Pennsylvania and has spent the last year traveling and writing grants for issues she feels called to. She is also a co-founder of Earth Rhythm Inc., which supports the survival of Indigenous peoples and their right for self-determination, as well as to celebrate and honor the beauty of Indigenous culture and an elementary school teacher/substitute. Carrie can be reached via email at

Spring Pipe Ceremony by Pam Williams

The Spring Pipe Ceremony took place in Pinon, Arizona on Saturday, March 20, 2004. When we arrived, many of the preparations of the land and grounds had been taken care of by the Begaye family. The weather was beautiful, very warm during the day and cool at night. Three cars came from Crestone carrying Paul Tohlakai, Carrie Martin, Matthew Crowley, Charles from Shutesbury, MA, three representatives from Shumei International and myself. Even though many of the preparations had begun there was still a lot of work to be completed. We set up camp and went to work. During the day and night sundancers, supporters, friends and family arrived. Several people came from Prescott, Arizona, they are organizing permaculture workshops and grants, and Dr. Orit Tamir came from New Mexico. Dr. Tamir is an anthropologist from Highland University in NM. She is hoping to receive a grant to study the effects of diabetes on the Dineh and seek alternatives to western medicine. She has had many years of connection with the people of the Navajo reservation. The Pipe Ceremonies happen four times a year at the Sundance site. The next ceremony will be on June 19. Following the ceremony, Paul presented SMF plans to the people. Support is mounting for the many projects being visioned by SMF. Contact us for more information on how you can help.

Presentation at Highland University in Las Vegas, NM by Paul Tohlakai

Highland University hosted Paul Tohlakai recently with a power point presentation on "Contemporary Dineh Sundance Movement" with Dr. Orit Tamir of the university. The subject is part of an on-going research project by Dr. Tamir covering the last three decades of the Lakota Sundance presence on the Navajo reservation. The collaborative effort of Spiritual Advisor and Sundance Helper, Paul and Dr. Tamir was well received. Some of the questions of ceremonial sharing of nations were addressed. It is hoped that such events will foster greater understanding and support in addressing indigenous issues with ceremonies. For further information, you may contact Paul at Sacred Mountains Foundation, Inc.

image by Dr. Orit Tamir as part of Sundance Presentation

The Cranes Came by Pam Williams

Spring in the San Luis Valley brings the Cranes. For about two weeks flocks flew overhead and danced in the fields. The cranes migrate every year from Mexico heading for Canada. Mating season has begun. These birds have elaborate and amusing habits. The valley celebrates their coming, a whole weekend dedicated to the cranes. There are a couple wetland preserves in the area, we saw not only the cranes and geese, but also eagles and hawks. For the Dineh, the winged ones have an important part in ceremonies, such as the cranes. A reminder of past eras of traditional healing ceremonies.

photo by Caroline Romedenne

SMF Makes Introduction to Crestone Community
by Matthew Crowley

On Sunday March 14th Sacred Mountains Foundation formally introduced it’s mission and plans to the residents of the Crestone Community, “Preserving ancient ways using modern tools.” Well, this was a good example and we all, myself included, got educated in the use of one of those modern tools - - PowerPoint! Many people put a lot of time into developing a PowerPoint presentation which effectively summarized the history, mission, reasons for coming to Crestone and the immediate plans and needs.

The way the presentation came together is a prime example of why we are here. The Shumei Institute offered the use of their beautiful, modern and well equipped facilities to make this presentation. It was attended by about thirty five people who have not been previously involved with SMF. It was wonderful to see a number of children there, the generations for whom we are working. Paul presented the history, mission and the “why” of our presence here using PowerPoint, in a one hour presentation. Among those who took time from a beautiful Sunday to support the presentation were Marvin Clifford and Dave Braveheart along with their families. Marvin and myself took the microphone and spoke for a few minutes as well. Marvin of his support for SMF’s mission and of his own hard work in bringing the Youth Peace Journey to the San Luis Valley. I spoke briefly of the rich rewards I experience in giving my support and in turn receiving the teaching and sharing of these beautiful and ancient traditions.

Virtually everyone in attendance offered letters of support to SMF. When the open invitation was offered several people expressed interest in coming to Pinon the following weekend to attend the Spring Pipe Ceremony. Plans were made for Taizo, Linda and a guest to travel their with us. (see article on the Spring Pipe Ceremony above). Again this kind of community cooperation and involvement is precisely why SMF is here in Crestone. On behalf of SMF I would like to thank the Shumei Institute for the use of their facilities and their interest and involvement. I want to thank Marvin and Dave for their support, involvement and songs. And most of all I want to thank all those who came, listened and offered their support.

In the midst of the presentation and again at the close, Marvin, Dave and Paul gathered together around the medicine drum and sang traditional songs before the modern presentation screen that slides neatly from the ceiling at Shumei. Modern tools and ancient ways coexisting in a beautiful way. I cannot sufficiently describe in words the feeling I had as we gathered together and experienced these beautiful songs heard once again in this sacred place of pristine beauty.

photos by Matthew Crowley and Caroline Romedenne


Copyright Sacred Mountains Foundation, Inc. 2004. All rights reserved.

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