Local

November 8, 2013

Airman walks balanced life

There is a different way of life to discover if you are willing to travel to Northern Arizona.

“It is called ‘Sa’ah Naghai Bik’eh Hozhoon (Dine),’ in English it means ‘as to walk in a balanced life, with longevity and happiness,’” said Staff Sgt. Paulette Yazzie, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron waters and fuels systems craftsman and Navajo Indian from the Dine Tribe of Chinle on the Navajo Reservation. “The Dine way of life places human life in harmony with the natural world and the universe.”

This way of life is that of my people, who live on the largest reservation in the United States, she said. Her people are rich in service to the country.

“Members of our tribe were Navajo code talkers, used by the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II,” Yazzie said, with a glimmer of pride in her eyes. “They had unbreakable code that helped win battles and ultimately end the war. My people have served in the military since the 1800s when the U.S. Army came out West.”

She was raised on the reservation, in isolation from those who were not from her tribe. She grew up riding horses and competing in rodeos, and attended kindergarten through eighth grade with only other Navajo children. It wasn’t until high school Yazzie encountered other cultures.

“My high school years were spent in Winslow living in a dorm and seeing my family on weekends,” she said. “This is where I finally went to school with other races, and where I saw how others really felt about Navajos. I didn’t know about discrimination until this time.”

Yazzie joined the Air Force in June of 2002, after graduating high school.

“I joined because I wanted to gain experience and have firsthand knowledge of life outside my own culture,” she said. “One of the leaders from long ago, Chief Manuelito, told us if we wanted to get ahead in life we should go to school and bring that knowledge back to the people. His words inspired me to want to do the best for my family and my people. The Air Force core values just added fuel to my fire of being the best person I can be.”

As Yazzie integrated into the Air Force, she noticed the tides of acceptance shifting.

“I saw that our country was slowly growing accepting of natives,” she said. “It was a merging of two worlds for me, western and Dine.”

She finds it difficult, at times, to explain her values to others, and she said there is a language barrier to battle through.

“I pray to the east as the sun is rising to give me strength,” she said of her traditions, which she observers today. “Our reservation is within the four mountains that protect our people. It was from when the four different worlds tried to reach this world. We have tons of stories.”

While her traditions are important to her and her tribe, Yazzie encourages Airmen to learn about other cultures as well.

“All natives are not the same,” she said. “We have similar stories, all rich in their own right. Take a day with a Native American to learn more about our country. Arizona has more to it than desert. Up north, there is a whole different world.”

From a childhood during which there was only one way of life, to fighting for a diverse country, Yazzie has much to be proud of.

“It’s like I’m fighting for two nations, Navajo Nation and America,” she said. “I hold both dear to my heart and am proud to make the sacrifice to protect the lands.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Pg-1-photo-150612-F-EC705-058

Emerald Knights go out with bang

Emerald Knights watch a burning piano during the 308th Fighter Squadron inactivation party June 12 at Luke Air Force Base. The 308th FS and aircraft maintenance unit have packed up and are transitioning to the 314th FS standing...
 
 

News Briefs June 26, 2015

607th ACS change of command Lt. Col. Charles Jones will relinquish command of the 607th Air Control Squadron to Lt. Col. Jerald Canny in a ceremony at 8 a.m. Wednesday in Hangar 999.   CMS change of command Maj. Scott Hall will relinquish command of the 56th Component Maintenance Squadron to Maj. Anthony Sutton in...
 
 
5_Courtesy-photo

Monsoon season blows in storms, rain, dust

Courtesy photo Arizona is known for being sunny with clear skies for the majority of the year, but every year “it” happens. As the clouds roll in, the sky darkens with thunderbolts streaming overhead, and the first drops of...
 

 

Clinic responds to shortage with changes

The Luke Air Force Base Pediatrics Clinic is undergoing a shortage of provider staffing due to humanitarian mission support, separations and a decrease of providers from five to four. This manning issue has impacted appointments available to children as well as increased the wait times to be seen by the clinic. The 56th Medical Group...
 
 
Senior Airman Devante Williams

CDC mission includes playtime

Senior Airman Devante Williams Danielle Gatlin, 56th Force Support Squadron Child Development Center assistant teacher, watches children during recess June 11 at the CDC at Luke Air Force Base. The CDC accepts children with res...
 
 
18_150612-F-EC705-053

Photo essay: Emerald Knights go out with a bang

Tech. Sgt. Tim Boyer 308th FS jets line up to launch from Luke AFB June 12 on their way to Holloman AFB.   Staff Sgt. Staci Miller Pilots flying F-16s from Luke AFB to Holloman donned the 314th FS Warhawks patch.   Se...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>