Johnnie Yazzie (Queen 2014-2015)
Mother: Elsie Kee
Father: John Yazzie
Tribal affiliation: Navajo
Clans: Red Running into the Water People, born for the Salt People, Meadows People is my maternal grandpa's clan, The Mexican People is my Paternal grandma's clan
- What made you want to run for ENMU's Native Queen?
I wanted to run for Miss ENMU Native Queen because I wanted to have the chance to represent my people, the diné, and to show who I am and where I come from.
- What made you attend ENMU?
I came to ENMU for the music program and the campus itself. When I saw the campus I was taken by it. Since I was already used to small towns, Portales was perfect for me.
- Describe where you are from and your family heritage.
I am from Gallup, New Mexico; that is near the Arizona Border in the four corner region. My dad's side is very traditional, but my mom's side is Christian. I am Christian, but I try to keep my culture close. My family can understand Navajo, but we're still learning how to speak the language. My parents and their parents can speak and understand the language.
- How do you embrace your culture?
Even though I really can't speak my language I can understand it very well. I try to keep in touch with my culture by going to ceremonies. Embracing my culture is important to me, as I am still growing I will learn all that I can from my elders.
- What do you feel you can contribute to Multicultural Affairs?
I feel that I can contribute a good working environment. I can help the other offices if/when needed.
- How would you encourage others to embrace their cultures?
To encourage others to embrace their cultures I would have people talk or give presentations of their experiences on how their culture has helped them in any way possible.
- What is was your favorite multicultural presentation so far?
My favorite multicultural presentation would have to be the Native American Kick-off: 49 laughs. The comedians were very funny!
- What is your favorite thing about ENMU?
My favorite thing about ENMU is that it is a small campus and the scenery is beautiful. The people who attend here are very nice.
- How has being the Native Queen affected your perspective on your culture?
Being the Native Queen really hasn't changed my perspective on my culture but it has opened my eyes that my culture is beginning to fade away. To keep this from happening, I want to spread awareness and tell my people how we can preserve it.
- What is the one aspect of the Hispanic/Native culture you feel most passionate about?
One aspect of the Native culture that I feel most passionate about would be our language. Our language separates us from any other person we meet but it keeps us close to where we came from and to keep us close to our elders so that we can tell their stories to pass on to the next generation so our culture and traditions keep going.
- If you could describe the Native culture with three words what would they be and why?
If I could describe the Native culture in three words it would have to be unique, challenging, and beautiful. Our culture is unique because there is nothing like it and there might be a few similarities but they are not the same. It is challenging because there is so much you have to remember and there are some restrictions to specific things. The teachings are very specific. Like our Navajo language, if you try to say something but pronounce it wrong, you are saying something entirely different. Our culture is beautiful because what we do for the people is amazing. We cherish the land and we have an amazing saying. "Walk in Beauty" Our culture's traditions and ceremonies are sacred and that's what keeps it unique, beautiful and difficult.
- What's your favorite part about being queen?
My favorite part about being queen would be that I can show pride in myself and represent my family.
- Who is your biggest influence and why?
My biggest influence would have to be my mother and father. My mother is strong and humble. She taught me to be independent and to be myself. My father is also strong.
- If there is one thing you wanted the ENMU community to know about your culture what would it be?
If there is one thing that I want the community to know about my culture is that it is sacred and beautiful. No matter what you think of my culture it is NOT like the stereotypes you always heard of. My people are strong and the people are my culture.
- What Is some advice you would give to future queens?
I would tell the future queens to be active in your community at ENMU and home. To hold your head up high and never look down on others. The last thing I would tell them is to be humble and to never forget where you came from.