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Arizona

Volunteering: Navajo Nation Schools

Program No. 6262RJ
There’s a Navajo proverb that says “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Give back as you volunteer in schools on the Navajo Reservation.
Length
7 days
Rating (5)
Activity Level
Starts at
1,099

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Feb 12 - Feb 18, 2023
Starting at
1,099
Oct 22 - Oct 28, 2023
Starting at
1,099
Oct 29 - Nov 4, 2023
Starting at
1,099
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Feb 12 - Feb 18, 2023
Starting at
1,359
Oct 22 - Oct 28, 2023
Starting at
1,359
Oct 29 - Nov 4, 2023
Starting at
1,359

At a Glance

Assist the students and educators from the Tuba City School District on the Navajo Reservation, grades K-8th, where many families continue to burn wood for warmth, haul water and use generators for electricity. Learn about educational challenges on the Navajo Nation. The only requirement of volunteers is flexibility and adaptability.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Easy walking around lodge and school on mostly paved and flat surfaces. Elevations of 4,200 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Explore the rewards of helping students and working with teachers as you interact with children and educational staff in a classroom setting.
  • Enjoy a field trip to explore additional aspects of Navajo/Diné culture and a visit to the weekly market in Tuba City featuring traditional foods and crafts.
  • Evening programs on Navajo/Diné culture provide additional insight into the challenges faced by tribal members.

General Notes

Schools on the Navajo Reservation require volunteers to have a current State Of Arizona Fingerprint Clearance card before entering the schools. Information on this requirement will be sent to participants approximately 6 months prior to the program start date. /// Due to the nature of this program, listening devices are not available.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Tracy Kee
A native of the Deep South, Tracy Kee grew up primarily in Tennessee. During her time living in Italy and teaching English, she met her full-blood Navajo husband, Eric, while he was teaching English to Italians. In 2007, after marrying, Tracy moved to the Navajo reservation. Tracy teaches part-time business and computer classes at Diné College in Tuba City, Ariz., where they currently reside. They have three children and enjoy a variety of outdoor recreational activities in northern Arizona.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Tracy Kee
A native of the Deep South, Tracy Kee grew up primarily in Tennessee. During her time living in Italy and teaching English, she met her full-blood Navajo husband, Eric, while he was teaching English to Italians. In 2007, after marrying, Tracy moved to the Navajo reservation. Tracy teaches part-time business and computer classes at Diné College in Tuba City, Ariz., where they currently reside. They have three children and enjoy a variety of outdoor recreational activities in northern Arizona.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
In the House of Rain
by Childs, Craig
In this landmark work on the Anasazi tribes of the Southwest, naturalist Craig Childs dives head on into the mysteries of this vanished people. The various tribes that made up the Anasazi people converged on Chaco Canyon (New Mexico) during the 11th century to create a civilization hailed as "the Las Vegas of its day," a flourishing cultural center that attracted pilgrims from far and wide, and a vital crossroads of the prehistoric world. By the 13th century, however, Chaco's vibrant community had disappeared without a trace. Was it drought? Pestilence? War? Forced migration, mass murder or suicide? Conflicting theories have abounded for years, capturing the North American imagination for eons.
Diné: A History of the Navajos
by Iverson, Peter; Roessel, Monty
This comprehensive narrative traces the history of the Navajos from their origins to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Based on extensive archival research, traditional accounts, interviews, historic and contemporary photographs, and firsthand observation, it provides a detailed, up-to-date portrait of the Diné past and present that will be essential for scholars, students, and interested general readers, both Navajo and non-Navajo.
The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing
by Alvord, Lori
The first Navajo woman surgeon combines western medicine and traditional healing. A spellbinding journey between two worlds, this remarkable book describes surgeon Lori Arviso Alvord's struggles to bring modern medicine to the Navajo reservation in Gallup, New Mexico—and to bring the values of her people to a medical care system in danger of losing its heart. 204 pp
The Fourth World of the Hopis: The Epic Story of the Hopi Indians As Preserved in Their Legends and Traditions
by Courlander, Harold
Folklorist Courlander traces Hopi legends from the tribe’s search through the wilderness for its home location to its settling on the Hopi Mesas and development thereafter. 239pp
Dine Bahane: The Navajo Creation Story
by Zolbrod, Paul G
This is the most complete version of the Navajo creation story to appear in English since Washington Matthews' Navajo Legends of 1847. Zolbrod's new translation renders the power and delicacy of the oral storytelling performance on the page through a poetic idiom appropriate to the Navajo oral tradition. Zolbrod's book offers the general reader a vivid introduction to Navajo culture. For students of literature this book proposes a new way of looking at our literary heritage.
Native Roads : The Complete Motoring Guide to the Navajo and Hopi Nations
by Kosik, Frank
Using the mile markers of the US, Arizona, and Navajo highways and routes running through the Navajo and Hopi nations as her organizing principle, the author offers a travel guide to the sites found in the area. Natural, historical, and cultural points of interest are covered, along with some information on lodging and services. 280 pp
Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West
by Sides, Hampton
In the summer of 1846, the Army of the West marched through Santa Fe, en route to invade and occupy the Western territories claimed by Mexico. Fueled by the new ideology of “Manifest Destiny,” this land grab would lead to a decades-long battle between the United States and the Navajos, the fiercely resistant rulers of a huge swath of mountainous desert wilderness. In Blood and Thunder, Hampton Sides gives us a magnificent history of the American conquest of the West. At the center of this sweeping tale is Kit Carson, the trapper, scout, and soldier whose adventures made him a legend. Sides shows us how this illiterate mountain man understood and respected the Western tribes better than any other American, yet willingly followed orders that would ultimately devastate the Navajo nation. Rich in detail and spanning more than three decades, this is an essential addition to our understanding of how the West was really won.
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7 days
6 nights
17 meals
6 B 5 L 6 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Cameron, AZ
D
Cameron Trading Post Motel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 4:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. This is a Road Scholar Service Learning program. These short-term experiences engage participants in volunteer projects to benefit the common good. Projects utilize the skills and energy of participants to meet demonstrated needs of the local and/or broader community. In addition to a significant amount of time in the specified Service Learning project and activities, participants will learn about relevant aspects of local history, culture, nature, etc., within the available time and as appropriate to the themes and settings.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, we’ll have plated meals with salad, a choice of entrées from a variety of American, Mexican, and local favorites, plus dessert and beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase; no alcohol sales on the reservation. The restaurant is decorated with beautiful Navajo rugs, baskets, Tiffany glass cabinets, and pottery and has an antique pressed-tin ceiling.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Minimal walking during program. Depending on your volunteer assignment, you may need to bend down to speak with children, sit in smaller chairs, or even get up and down from the floor. You will be moving around during the day and may be asked to move boxes or books, climb a step-stool to create or work on a bulletin board, and the like. Dress comfortably in clothes you can move in easily. Slacks, khakis, and nice jeans are recommended for all. Daily transfers to our assigned school – about 5 - 30 miles one way, approximately 1 hour roundtrip depending on location – will be by university passenger van. You may need to step up and into the smaller van using a provided step-stool. Please be sure to speak with the Group Leader if you have questions about your school assignment. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Meet School Staff & Students, Native American Arts & Crafts
Cameron, AZ
B,L,D
Cameron Trading Post Motel

Activity note: Daily drive of approximately 30 miles one way to; about 1 hour total driving time throughout the day. Walking and standing during classroom activities.

Breakfast: In the hotel restaurant, we’ll order plated meals from a select menu with choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, oatmeal, waffles, and toast, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll board the van shuttle and ride to the school through the beautiful Painted Desert portion of the Navajo Nation. First, we’ll meet with the principal for an orientation to the school, its history and its students while we also learn about the unique activities and challenges for each individual classroom. Then, after receiving classroom assignments, we’ll work with teachers and students until lunch. Group assignments vary and may include work in the library, putting up a bulletin board, or other school needs.

Lunch: Along with the students at school, we will eat school provided lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll work for the remainder of the school day on our assignments. Afterwards, we’ll meet with staff in the school library to discuss the week ahead and have an opportunity to field any questions. After returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon will be free.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: In a meeting room at our accommodations, we’ll be joined by an expert staff member who will give a presentation on the many Native American art and craft traditions represented in this area.

DAY
3
Classroom Assignments, Contemporary Navajo Issues
Cameron, AZ
B,L,D
Cameron Trading Post Motel

Activity note: Daily drive of approximately 30 miles one way; about 1 hour total driving time throughout the day. Walking and standing during classroom activities.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: We’ll travel to the school for a second day of service learning, volunteering our time and talent to assist staff and students at the Navajo school. The history of the Navajo people is ancient, rich, complex, and a story of overcoming great odds since European colonization and American migration. Anthropologists believe the Navajo (Diné) followed archaic hunter gatherers who themselves followed Ice-Age Paleo-Indian hunters from thousands of years earlier. The Navajo Nation is larger than the state of West Virginia and comprises more than 27,000 miles in the Four Corners states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.

Lunch: Along with the students at school, we will eat school provided lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our volunteer assignments until the close of school for the day.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: In a meeting room at the Trading Post, hear from Navajo community members about some of the social issues and challenges facing those living on the reservation.

DAY
4
Classroom Assignments
Cameron, AZ
B,L,D
Cameron Trading Post Motel

Activity note: Daily drive of approximately 30 miles one way; about 1 hour total driving time throughout the day. Walking and standing during classroom activities.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: We’ll transfer to the school for another morning of volunteer assignments.

Lunch: Along with the students at school, we will eat school provided lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our volunteer assignments until the close of school for the day, then return to the hotel where the remainder of the afternoon will be free to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Classroom Assignments, Navajo Culture Lecture
Cameron, AZ
B,L,D
Cameron Trading Post Motel

Activity note: Daily drive of approximately 30 miles one way; about 1 hour total driving time throughout the day. Walking and standing during classroom activities.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: We’ll transfer to the school for a morning of volunteer assignments. Education can make a critical difference for kids growing up on the reservation. Road Scholar and Northern Arizona University have been providing volunteers in classrooms on the Navajo Nation since the 1990s.

Lunch: Along with the students at school, we will eat school provided lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our volunteer work in the classroom until the close of school for the day, then return to the hotel.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal.

Evening: In the hotel meeting room we’ll attend a presentation on Navajo culture given by a long-time presenter and well-known Navajo entertainer.

DAY
6
Classroom Assignments, Tuba City Market, Program Wrap-Up
Cameron, AZ
B,L,D
Cameron Trading Post Motel

Activity note: Daily drive of approximately 30 miles one way; about 1 hour total driving time throughout the day. Walking and standing during classroom activities; opportunities for more in Tuba City according to personal preference.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal.

Morning: We’ll transfer to the school for our last morning of volunteer assignments. The Navajo Nation has its own Department of Diné Education that promotes and fosters lifelong learning for the Navajo People, with nearly a dozen active programs including those to promote resilient, healthy generations of youth to find balance and live in a diverse society. These programs as well as our volunteer service contribute to helping students develop positive attitudes, enhancing their self-image, confidence, and maturity.

Lunch: Along with the students at school, we will eat school provided lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our volunteer assignments then say our farewells to the students, teachers, and staff we’ve assisted. Once the school day is over following lunch, our Group Leader will transport us several blocks by van to where she will orient us to Tuba City’s weekly 'Swap Meet' for an opportunity to try local food, peruse indigenous crafts, and mingle with community members. We’ll have time to wander around independently before returning to the hotel. We’ll return to the hotel with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Hotel plated meal. Share some of your favorite experiences of the program with new Road Scholar friends and fellow volunteers.

Evening: We’ll have a final session with our Group Leader with an opportunity to discuss the week’s activities and accomplishments in service to the school and its students. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
7
Program Concludes
Cameron, AZ
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Hotel plated meal. Ahéhee'! Thank you! Yá'át'ééh! See you later! This concludes our program.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.