Navajo Nation Outreach

“I saw poverty traps in action which I learned about at Williams, but never really understood.”

Destination: Window Rock, AZ

Trip Organizers: Charley Wyser ’17 ([email protected]) & Rachel Waldman ’17 ([email protected])

The Experience

In this year’s Navajo Nation trip, participants traveled to Window Rock, AZ, a town in the heart of the Navajo Reservation, to work with children in grades K-12 within the Window Rock Unified School District. Each day, trip members went to St. Michael’s Indian School, where they provided logistical support in the classroom and helped both the teachers and the students. Furthermore, participants had the opportunity to participate in a panel entitled “Wonders of Williams,” where high school juniors and seniors from the area asked Williams students questions about college life and admissions. After school, the group played sports and led artistic tasks with children and staff at Rez Refuge Community Center. Participants also had additional cultural experiences, which included the opportunity to explore the surrounding area through hiking around the Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park, as well as a trip to the Grand Canyon. Trip members also participated in in a “healthy living skit” at the Navajo Cultural Museum.

Participant Quotes

  • “The most important and long lasting impact of the work however was on us. I learned so much from interacting with the Navajo people and I feel so lucky to have gotten to do the work we did because it was a truly eye‐opening experience for me.”
  • “I learned about Navajo Culture and life on the reservation in a way I never could have from a classroom at Williams. Additionally, living and working with 8 people in such an environment was a really great experience and led me to think about and debate things in a way I rarely truly get to do here.”
  • “I was exposed to a kind of rural poverty I had never experienced before, and I learned a lot about a culture that is foreign to me.”
  • “I saw poverty traps in action which I learned about at Williams, but never really understood.”
  • “I am more mindful now about what it means to do service, to treat people with respect and compassion,and how our own backgrounds affect the way we think and interpret the world around us.”