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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


April 17, 2004 - Issue 111


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Central Schools hosts annual Navajo Knowledge Bowl

A Day at the Fair by Ray Swanson

A Day at the Fair by Ray SwansonSHIPROCK — More than 300 pupils representing 19 schools from the Four Corners will put their Navajo language skills to the test as they compete in the 9th annual Navajo Knowledge Bowl at TseBit’Ai Middle School Friday.

The language festival, sponsored by Central School District, has grown to be one of the highly respected Navajo language festivals with the competition representing all aspects of formal language education, according toi a news release. Pupils will demonstrate their abilities to speak, read, write, think and sing in their native language. Equally important, the competition provides pupils the opportunity to demonstrate their roots as Diné people and boosts their self-esteem by performing before an audience.

Navajo reading and singing are two of the more popular contest categories of the Navajo Knowledge Bowl. In the reading event, pupils read short stories in Navajo before a panel of judges and a small audience. The singing event draws a gymnasium full of spectators. The speaking event can also be very entertaining as pupils showcase their storytelling abilities. The Navajo writing and spelling bee contests reinforce formal teaching occurring in school systems. Judges of this writing contest, which is judged prior to the event, noted that this year’s entries incorporated excellent grammar and language usage. The writing entries also displayed evidence of the old Navajo way of teaching as well as Navajo humor, humor that is not translated from English. The winning writing entries will be on display at the event.

The general knowledge competition promises to challenge pupils in their understanding of Navajo History, language and government. Student teams of four complete a multiple choice test and then compete orally in a game show type event.

The 9th annual Navajo Knowledge Bowl will begin at 8:30 a.m. with opening ceremonies featuring Miss Navajo Nation Marla Billie and Miss Northern Navajo Nation Sunshine Bia. Competition will begin promptly at 9 a.m. and will continue throughout the day. An awards ceremony is scheduled for 3 p.m.

The Navajo Knowledge Bowl is sponsored by Central School District’s Indian Education Office with the help of the District’s Navajo Language teachers. Navajo language educators and administrators from the Navajo Nation Office of Dine Culture and Language and the Johnson O’ Malley Program in Window Rock, San Juan College, Dine College in Shiprock and Bloomfield School District provide invaluable support in judging the event. And this year, the language festival has received special financial contributions from community businesses BHP Billiton and KNDN.

Information: Monica Lujan, (505) 368-4984.

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