Loving Native America: September 2023 Update

We are excited to share some new ways we will be engaging with the Hard Rock community in these upcoming months. After the school supply drive, we were looking for more ways we could be involved with the students at Rocky Ridge Boarding School, especially in the area of athletics. Jay (the president of Hard Rock) shared what a huge role sports play in the lives of the students. For kids that live in a very isolated area like the Navajo Nation, sports are not just an extracurricular activity, but they give them something to look forward to, and to work hard toward. Sports are an opportunity to build skills, reach goals, and to take pride in achievement. With this in mind, the student athletes will often have the wrong shoes for sports (i.e., wearing basketball shoes for cross country), or worn down shoes, which can limit them or even cause injury. So, we will be doing a sort of shoe drive, specific to students identified by the teachers of the school that most need it. Sports offered during the Fall season for grades 5-8 are cross country and volleyball, and they run from August-October. This year, there are about 15 students on the volleyball team, and 20 students in cross country. So far, here are three students we would like to provide new running shoes for:
  • Nalzasin, size 8.5 mens
  • Wane, size 9 mens
  • Leveah, size 8 womens

If you are interested in sponsoring shoes for one of these three students, please let us know ASAP by responding to this email! You can either make a monetary donation, purchase the shoes online to ship directly to the school, or buy the shoes and we will ship them for you. We are looking to try to have the shoes shipped to them by mid-end September so that the kids will be able to get some use for them before the end of their season.
Additionally, you can also choose to help with other athletic gear. For the Fall season, it would be:
  • Socks
  • Athletic shorts 
  • Knee pads 
  • Reusable water bottles

Another idea proposed was to create incentive kits for parents to either enroll their children in sports, or to hand out to parents during games to encourage attendance, as parents often have to travel a long distance to attend games at the school. This can include but is not limited to snack packs, sets of towels, hygiene kits for men, or gas cards.

You can start dropping off any of the above listed items during office hours (M-Th 10am-4pm) or during Sunday morning services in the lobby of the church. Again, if you’re able to provide shoes for one of the three students listed above, please reach out to us directly! Thank you for all of your continued prayers and support.

As we’ve mentioned in this email, sports play a big part in community life in the Navajo Nation (as in many Native American reservations). Basketball or Nothing is a 2019 American documentarian non-scripted reality television series on Netflix filmed in Chinle, Arizona. The premise revolves around the lives of the Chinle High School boys’ basketball team based on the Navajo Nation reservation (Wikipedia). We encourage you to watch this six episode documentary for a look into life on the Rez. Stream on Netfix.
Always dance with joy before our Honored Chief! I will say it again: dance with joy! Let everyone see how kind and thoughtful you are. Our Honored Chief is close at hand. Do not let your hearts be weighed down with anything. Instead, with every step you take, send your voice to the Great Spirit, asking him for the things you need. And in all your prayers remember to give him thanks. Then the peace and harmony of the Great Spirit, which goes far beyond our small and weak ways of thinking, will watch over your hearts and minds through the Chosen One, Creator Sets Free (Jesus).

Philippians 4:4-7
First Nations Version
For more information on past conversation nights and blog posts, or to make a monetary donation toward our partnerships in the Navajo Nation or the White Mountain Apache Reservation, check out our page: https://vineyardgilbert.com/nativeamerica.