Summarized by Rosemary Pollock
(LDS) Navajo's dreams would take him far from home
(Phoenix) AZ Republic 10Nov99 P2
By Betty Reid : The Arizona Republic
TUBA CITY, ARIZONA -- Jeremy Yazzie is a member of the Class of 2000.
His hometown, Tuba City, straddles U.S. Highway 160, the gateway to
Monument Valley, the painted Desert, the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell.
The weather is perfect as he sits on the rustly tailgate of a bright
blue pickup. Jeremy is watching a sea of people getting ready for a
homecoming parade and thinking of his future.
The float bears a silver lettered message: Naasgoo Nei'niji Hoozhoo
Doo - "May there be beauty in the uphill climb toward the future." "I'm
comfortable here," Jeremy said. "It'd be hard to leave. My mother
wants me to stay."
In Navajo, Tuba City is called Toh'nanas'deezi and means meandering
streams. Tuba City has 24 percent unemployment with the closest
university 7l miles away in Flagstaff. Jeremy, l7, hopes to become an
electrical engineer and has dreams of a job and an apartment to replace
the beige trailer that is home. It is parked near a sand dune not far
from the busy intersection of U.S. 160 and Indian Route 263.
Leaving Tuba City is not unusual for bright Navajo youths. They must
often leave to pursue their dreams. Jeremy's mother, Ella, stayed as a
teenager with a Valley Mormon family that sent her to Phoenix Union
Hight School District.
Jeremy and his family are faithful members of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints. They attend an immaculate chapel, west of
the famous Tuba City Trading Post. His father, Lorenzo, an avid sports
fan, says keeping busy is the key. Jeremy has remained level-headed
while peers have turned to drugs, alcohol and chosen to drop out of
"Sure I tell him about my wild days, but I use those as teaching
stories for him," Lorenzo says. "When the boys were little, I took them
on the cookouts and fishing down Oak Creek."
At the same time, Jeremy's relatives draw on him to remember his
Navajo beliefs. One Uncle pulls him into a sweat lodge once a month,
where a purification ritual is performed and tribal philosophies are
discussed. "Faith is important," Jeremy says. "What is there without