Loving Native America: January 2024

January Trip
Our next trip to the Hard Rock Chapter is coming up and we are excited to be able to engage with the community in new ways this year. Our main focus this trip is to support the student athletes at the local school, Rocky Ridge Boarding School. You may remember that we highlighted in our last newsletter how important sports is in the Navajo Nation in bringing the community together. In conversations with Hard Rock Chapter President Jay Begay, we brainstormed ways to provide resources to families who have to travel a long way to watch their kids compete in games. We are putting together what we’re calling “Bobcat Cheer Kits” as the Bobcat is the Rocky Ridge School mascot. In these kits, which will be housed in a reusable drawstring bag, we will have snacks and other food items, as well as gas cards for the families who need to make the long journey to attend games. Items we are requesting are:

  • Money donations for gas cards (we will purchase the gas cards from a local gas station) and for any additional needed supplies. Our goal is to purchase 12 gas cards with the value of $25 each, and we still have a long way to go!
  • Chewing gum, mints
  • Individually packaged snacks (chips, crackers, beef jerky, trail mix, etc.)

(We’ve already received enough water and sports drinks. Thank you to those who have already donated!)

Additionally, we’ll be taking a load of supplies for the Hard Rock Senior Center. The list of items needed include:

  • Dry food and canned goods
  • Dish detergent
  • Plastic Silverware
  • Napkins
  • Paper towels
  • Food containers
  • Shampoo, conditioner, body wash
  • Body lotion
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer Sheets

You can drop off donations in the church lobby during the week or during Sunday morning services, and make monetary donations at: vineyardgilbert.com/nativeamerica.

How Can I Get Involved?
Besides donating any of the listed items above (we could still use a lot of donations!), we will have a Service Day on Sunday, January 21, which will be held right before the trip. You are invited to join us to put together the Bobcat Cheer Kits and load up the church van. 

Who: Everyone’s invited!
When: Sunday 1/21 from 4:00pm-5:30pm
Where: Vineyard Gilbert 
What to Expect: Together with the I-61 group (one of the Vineyard community groups), we will be putting together the Bobcat Cheer Kits, organizing the donations, and loading up the vehicles that we will be driving to Hard Rock. 

Cultural Fact
History was made at the Golden Globes this year, with Lily Gladstone being the first indigenous person to win best actress for her role in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” In her acceptance speech, she said “This is for every little rez kid, every little urban kid, every little Native kid out there who has a dream, who is seeing themselves represented and our stories - by ourselves, in our own words - told with tremendous allies and tremendous trust with and from each other.” Read more here.

“But we must also find joy in our sufferings on his behalf. For we know that when the trail gets rough, we must walk with firm steps to reach the end. As we walk firmly in his footprints, we gain the strength of spirit that we need to stay true to the path. This gives us the hope we need to reach the end of the trail with honor. All of this is because of Creator’s great love that has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who is his gift to us from above.”
Romans 5:3-5 (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.