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.


 
 

 
Airman 1st Class 
CORY GOSSETT

MRA graduates 11,000 strong

Airman 1st ClassCORY GOSSETT Detachment 12, 372nd Training Squadron mission-ready Airmen perform a preflight check July 21 on an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Luke Air Force Base. The MRA program teaches Airmen F-16 launching, recove...
 
 

In your comfort zone? Get out!

Being promoted means you are ready to take on the next level of roles and responsibilities, but how do you prepare for the next level of responsibilities? One tactic that has worked for me is to step outside my comfort zone. By doing this, I’ve learned more about the Air Force and experienced more situations...
 
 

Service before self, but don’t forget about self

As Airmen, we live and breathe the Air Force core values on a daily basis. However, don’t let our second core value, service before self, distract you from actually taking care of yourself. In my 13 years of active-duty service, there is one regret I hear most from people both in and out of the...
 

 
Senior Airman Jenna Sarvinski

Life, Liberty, pursuit of happiness brings Kenyan student to America

Senior Airman Jenna Sarvinski Senior Airman Robert Cheruiyot, 56th Medical Operations Squadron medical technician, greets Gen. Julius Waweru Karangi, chief of the defense forces, Kenya. Karangi and Cheruiyot met in a chance enc...
 
 

News Briefs August 1, 2014

Base-wide exercise The 56th Fighter Wing will conduct an active-shooter exercise Aug. 15. The exercise will include military and local, county and state law enforcement, and fire departments. On and off-base residents should expect traffic disruptions, gate closures or delays, and interruptions of customer service operations. Expect to see simulated explosions, smoke, role players depicting...
 
 

Thunderbolt of the Week

Staff Sgt. Gregory Scharp 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Phase floor chief Hometown: Sparta, New Jersey Years in service: Six Family: Wife, Maggie Education: Community College of the Air Force aircraft maintenance technology Previous assignments: Moody Air Force Base, Georgia; and Osan Air Base, South Korea Inspirations: Music and my wife Goals: To complete a bachelor’s...
 




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=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin