CoolPeople at CoolSys-Native American Heritage Month
Keeping Native American Heritage and Culture Alive
In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we’re celebrating two members of our CoolSys family.
Michelle Longhair is an accounts payable clerk in Phoenix, Arizona. Her heritage is Navajo, and her family is from Wheatfield, Arizona, in the Navajo Nation, where she grew up on and off throughout her childhood. Michelle is teaching some of the Navajo language to her three children, ages 15, 12 and 10, and they practice with her grandfather, who speaks fluent Navajo.
When the family gathers for a holiday or special celebration, they make traditional foods like Navajo tacos, frybread and mutton stew. Michelle feels it is “a blessing” to be Native American, with such a rich culture of prayers, ceremonies and songs that celebrate the sacredness of nature. One of Michelle’s favorite Navajo songs is the “Navajo Peyote birthday song,” which is about blessings, healing and happiness for the future.
Etsitty Widehat is a Construction Installer in Phoenix, Arizona. He and his family are Navajo, and he was born in Kayenta, Arizona, part of the Navajo Nation. Etsitty has lived mostly in Phoenix, but he spent summers growing up on the reservation, where he has lived a few times as well. Etsitty’s grandmothers and parents speak Navajo, and he said, although he isn’t fluent, he is able to communicate with them.
Etsitty enjoys attending pow wows, where he joins a diverse group of people to share and celebrate their tribes’ unique food, jewelry, arts and entertainment. One of his favorite experiences was attending the Gathering of Nations, an annual event in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is the largest pow wow in North America.