Youth Writer Spotlight: Ty Fierce Metteba

Oct 18th, 2015 | By | Category: BLTN Teachers, Fall 2015

TyHeadshot

Ty Fierce Metteba is a senior at Window Rock High School in Fort Defiance, Arizona. He represents Navajo Community Health Outreach as a youth ambassador. Ty loves to camp, hike, and travel, especially with Pollen Circles, Inc. He plays first viola in the Window Rock High School Orchestra. He lives in Deer Springs, Arizona, with his mom and two younger sisters.

Yá’át’ééh, Ty Fierce Metteba yinishyé. Táchii’nii nish. Tó Dích’íi’nii dashicheii. Honágháahnii dashinalí. Bh Bitoo’di kééhasht’

Hello, my name is Ty Fierce Metteba. I am of the Red Running Into the Water Clan, born for the Bitter Water clan; my maternal grandfather’s clan is the Salt People clan, and my paternal grandfather’s clan is One-Walks-Around. I live in Deer Springs, Arizona. My parents are Vicky and Gene Metteba.

NCHO Report

Ty Fierce Metteba presents at the September NCHO Youth gathering.

Ty Fierce Metteba presents at the September NCHO Youth gathering.

The Navajo Community Health Outreach (NCHO) project has exposed me to many new opportunities within the past year. In January, NCHO officially began with a winter retreat and an overview of their to help the youth leaders with their own individual projects. At the time I was unsure what I could contribute to my community.

Since August 2015, we have gathered at least once every month to prepare youth leaders for our own local projects. On Saturday, October 17, youth leaders Tiffany Silas, Ashley Lansing, and I planned out our community project as a team. Tiffany Silas had already begun her project of presenting food demos, like the green drink—a spinach smoothie—to other students at Hunters Point Boarding School.

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Link to a description of the NCHO Youth Leadership Program.

Ashley and I wanted to help her, so we joined her to start our own healthy food advocacy group. Through various workshops, NCHO has given us skills in writing, digital storytelling, and public speaking. Now we will apply those skills in our own communities. Through our Green Drink Team, we plan to not only present on food but to revitalize a culinary program at Window Rock High School.

Within the school year, I hope to see Window Rock’s empty kitchen produce some healthy prepared food. I know a challenge lies ahead for our group, but with enough support and networking, our group project can spread. My participation in NCHO has inspired me and my peers to set goals for ourselves and others. I desire to continue my health outreach and advocacy for my community.

 

 

 


Navajo Tea and Other Greens

By Ty Fierce Metteba

I live in Deer Springs, Arizona, a rural community that hardly anyone knows. My home nestles between Sawmill and Blue Canyon, Arizona, at an elevation of just about eight thousand feet. I think the name holds true when it comes to springs, because of the well nourished various plants that grow around my home. I honestly do not know many of them, but sometimes my father and I took walks after a heavy rainfall. When Mother Earth wore a fragrance of wet sage that wafted through the air, my dad told me about all the natural edible food around me.

NCHOYouthOuting

Writing with Technology: A mid-day writing excursion to Red Rock NM State Park. Foreground: McCalister Pablo, Jade Goodwill, Brawnson Gould, Sybil Casilac.

Along the foundation of my little trailer, and all along the road and, along the pathways through the woods, Navajo Tea grows. It has been picked and brewed into a deep red drink known as Deeh. When I was really young my family used to take walks and naturally we would start picking all the yellow blossoms. When we came home after our little excursion, we literally had bouquets of golden flowers. Then my mom started to take little bunches of the plant and tie the Navajo tea into a tiny bundle.

Today when I walk home from the bus stop or the weather cools down, or even on a Saturday night, I go to the kitchen, find an old glass jar, take several tiny bundles of the dried plant and drop them into the white kettle to boil. I pour warm red tea into my favorite mug and add some honey. The drink has its own aromatic flavor; the deep red tea soothes not only my physical being but my mind and spirit.

Aside from all the tea talk, I’ll mention that many other plants inhabit the land, Dinetah, like the more famous plants: all the various colored corn, pinto beans, and yellow or green squash. Then other plants include the more wild ones like piñon seeds, wild onions, wild spinach, sumac berries, and yucca bananas and technically not a plant but noteworthy,edible clay, or better known as 0/eesh.

I appreciate the fact that I have well knowledged people around me who still know many of the plants around Dinetah to teach me about. So when I visit my grandma in early spring I find myself eager to gain the knowledge of years before me. Thanks to my father and family friend Gino Antonio, I know that have access to more knowledge about the plants. I cannot wait to hear the pitter patter of rain and smell the aroma of sage as I get the opportunity to walk with my grandmother and father every year. I hope to carry on the knowledge of all the plants and eventually share them with my children because I know that the main source of food originally came from the wild.

 

10 Comments to “Youth Writer Spotlight: Ty Fierce Metteba”

  1. David Wandera says:

    I have met Ty a number of times and always admire his insight and sense of maturity. Ty is a proud Navajo youth leader and his contributions, to discussions on how to tap into traditional Navajo wisdom and to anchor community action research in local epistemology, are always incisive and superior. Ty is going places!

  2. David Wandera says:

    I have met Ty a number of times and always admire his insight and sense of maturity. Ty is a proud Navajo youth leader and his contributions, to discussions on how to tap into traditional Navajo wisdom and to anchor community action research in local epistemology, are always incisive and superior. Ty is going places!

  3. Lou Bernieri says:

    We are blessed in BLTN to have people like Ty and his peers teaching us so much about youth empowerment, and, as Casey so well put it, what it means to be “confident public health champions.”

    Wonderful article, Ty, beautifully written and elegantly composed.

  4. Lou Bernieri says:

    We are blessed in BLTN to have people like Ty and his peers teaching us so much about youth empowerment, and, as Casey so well put it, what it means to be “confident public health champions.”

    Wonderful article, Ty, beautifully written and elegantly composed.

  5. Ceci Lewis says:

    Ty,
    Thank you for sharing your ideas and your writing with us. I am so excited about the healthy food advocacy group and the work you, Ashley, and Tiffany are doing. The youth that you will be presenting to will surely have a stronger understanding of the choices that can make it when eating. Thanks for carrying the message.

  6. Casey says:

    It’s so great to read about the steps that the NCHO Program is taking towards creating change within their community and to read that they will be using all the skills that they have obtained in the past year. Truly inspirational. I had the great honor to observe these motivated and passionate leaders grow into empowered, confident public health champions that I know will make great changes within their community. For me, the most powerful moments were reading and hearing the leaders’ writings–as you see in Ty’s post, these students can engage readers, write powerfully about what they are most passionate about, and ultimately to write in way that raises awareness, opens the communities’ eyes to issues that are important to youth, and creates change in the community. I’m very excited to see all the awesome accomplishments by this exceptional group of high school students.

  7. Ceci Lewis says:

    Ty,
    Thank you for sharing your ideas and your writing with us. I am so excited about the healthy food advocacy group and the work you, Ashley, and Tiffany are doing. The youth that you will be presenting to will surely have a stronger understanding of the choices that can make it when eating. Thanks for carrying the message.

  8. Casey says:

    It’s so great to read about the steps that the NCHO Program is taking towards creating change within their community and to read that they will be using all the skills that they have obtained in the past year. Truly inspirational. I had the great honor to observe these motivated and passionate leaders grow into empowered, confident public health champions that I know will make great changes within their community. For me, the most powerful moments were reading and hearing the leaders’ writings–as you see in Ty’s post, these students can engage readers, write powerfully about what they are most passionate about, and ultimately to write in way that raises awareness, opens the communities’ eyes to issues that are important to youth, and creates change in the community. I’m very excited to see all the awesome accomplishments by this exceptional group of high school students.

  9. CHRIS BENSON says:

    I enjoy Ty Fierce Metteba’s writing “Navajo Tea and Other Greens” very much. It is so concise, so concrete and real, yet so strange to me, who lives in South Carolina, where the climate, land, and ecology are so different. I like very much the way Ty’s writing makes the unfamiliar familiar to me. How does he do that? I’m not sure what “fragrance of wet sage” smells like when Mother Earth wears it, but I can imagine it is as lovely and exciting as the scent of earthy moss in our wet forests in our Oconee forests. You know what… I’m going to make a pot of tea right now!

  10. CHRIS BENSON says:

    I enjoy Ty Fierce Metteba’s writing “Navajo Tea and Other Greens” very much. It is so concise, so concrete and real, yet so strange to me, who lives in South Carolina, where the climate, land, and ecology are so different. I like very much the way Ty’s writing makes the unfamiliar familiar to me. How does he do that? I’m not sure what “fragrance of wet sage” smells like when Mother Earth wears it, but I can imagine it is as lovely and exciting as the scent of earthy moss in our wet forests in our Oconee forests. You know what… I’m going to make a pot of tea right now!

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