Navajo Kentuckians Present at National Indian Health Service Conference

May 1st, 2014 | By | Category: BLTN Teachers, Spring 2014, Uncategorized


Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim with the Navajo Kentuckians presenting to a packed room at NCTE in Boston

Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim with the Navajo Kentuckians presenting to a packed room at NCTE in Boston

Brent Peters, English and Food Literacy teacher at Fern Creek High School in Lexington, Kentucky has written about the evolution of the “Navajo Kentuckians” group in each of the previous issues of the journal. (See “The Case for Food Literacy,”  and “Navajo Kentuckians in the Garden of the Home God.”) In this excerpt from a recent report, Peters updates us on recent activity by the Navajo Kentuckians group, and succinctly describes the impact of the group’s public work on teaching, learning, and a sense of “home.”

 This past year has been an exceptional opportunity for Food Lit and the Navajo Kentuckians to gain momentum and move forward. The Food Lit class, the “In the Garden of the Home God” Food and Digital Lit exchange last year with the Navajo Nation, and the creation of the Navajo Kentuckians are all Bread Loaf initiatives. The true magic of these experiences are the ways that student passion and compassion emerged in the form of truly unique voices that are wise, humble, and true. Navajo Kentuckians from the Navajo Nation and from Fern Creek HIgh School have presented at Middlebury College’s first annual food summit called Cultivating Food Literacy, at NCTE in Boston, and at the National Indian Health Board’s Tribal Health Summit in Billings, Montana. Students are the teachers. They speak of a deep experience and connection to family that they did not know that they had. They speak of a connection to community and home and a connection to the home inside themselves that can never go away. They speak with confident voices of change for future generations of young people who have not yet had similar experiences in communities across the nation. The students hope that others may join the table with the Navajo Kentuckians and go into their communities to research and document topics related to food supply, food access, and food education. They hope that others will speak to community elders as primary sources and bring that knowledge back to their schools and other schools. More important, the students want young people to to live up to the version of themselves that they know is inside. These experiences help young people become closer to the hidden and unacknowledged self, waiting to be accessed.When students see that their voices matter and that what they do matters, they see home as a place they want to improve. They act with the inspiration that results from embracing challenge. Students excel at knocking down walls. Teachers see that having faith and trust in students and taking risks leads to positive transformations.

Below is a photo collage posted by Navajo Kentuckian student Courtney Jones on the project blog at 

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