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Arts Briefs | Diné princesses introduced to mainstream culture

ALBUQUERQUE

Book cover of Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye, by Jenny Fulton, illustrated by Indra Grace Hunter.

Jenny Fulton is an award-winning children’s book author, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation, and a current New Mexico resident.

Her children’s books “Princess Lillian and Grandpa’s Goodbye” and “A Princess’s Guide to the Alphabet” center on an intelligent and gentle Navajo princess with a big imagination.

Since its publication in 2021, “Princess Lillian” has won the 2021 Firebird Book Award and is a finalist in the children’s religious category of the 2021 International Book Awards.

“A Princess’ Guide” was released on June 15 and introduced Warrior Princess Zoe, Lillian’s rough-n-tumble little sister.

In addition to teaching sounds and language arts concepts, this book presents the idea that there are many kinds of princesses and personalities a girl may have.

Although Fulton didn’t grow up in New Mexico, her connection to the area runs deep.

Her great-grandpa was a Navajo medicine man and her grandma, Lillian (Deshnod) Litfin of the Bitterwater Clan, was an interpreter at Torreon Navajo Mission near Cuba, New Mexico.

Fulton’s family visited the Navajo Nation frequently when she was young, and she loved every moment. She dreamed of returning to live there, and after teaching in China for three years, she did.

The Native roots accompanying Jenny in her international travels led her to a teaching position in the Navajo Nation and then to Albuquerque, where she currently resides.

Fulton decided to feature a Navajo princess as her main character based on personal experience.

“I was in awe of the traditional Navajo clothes when I was young,” Jenny said. “The women looked so beautiful.

“I was dressed in those clothes when I was a flower girl for my uncle’s wedding,” she said, “and I remember loving the way the skirt swished around my ankles.

“I’ve always been proud of my Native heritage,” she said, “and it’s a joy to be able to share it with others.”

‘Merciless Indian Savages’ opens

FORT GARLAND, Colo. — On June 24 at 11 a.m., the public is invited to a free opening-day celebration for the Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center’s newest exhibition, “Gregg Deal’s (Pyramid Lake Paiute) Merciless Indian Savages,” featuring a special appearance by the artist.

The exhibition features renowned contemporary artist Gregg Deal who leads visitors through an Indigenous exploration of what American Democracy means in Indian Country.

Deal’s works reveal a political process that marginalizes Native peoples in the service of American mythmaking.

The celebration will honor Indigenous people’s history, beauty, and strength, beginning with a performance by the Dineh Tah Navajo Dancers at 11 a.m.

At noon, Deal will discuss the history and inspiration for the exhibit.

The event will conclude with a poetry reading and discussion by Indigenous poets, including former Albuquerque Poet Laureate Jessica Helen Lopez.

In addition to “Merciless Indian Savages,” the museum will also be opening a Ute STEM exhibition on June 24 with various interactive children’s activities.

The museum opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 5 p.m. on June 24. Admission will be free all day.

Looking for a good story

VIENNA, Austria – “I’m looking for a good story,” said Stefan Yazzie Herbert.

“Yá’át’ééh, my clans are Tó’aheedlíinii and Tódích’íi’nii. I am a half-Austrian, half-Navajo filmmaker, and I am working on a documentary called ‘Stark!’ (translated ‘Strong!’) for German TV.
“It is a children’s show that portrays children roughly from the age of 6 to 12 that are going through some kind of challenge.

“The show has a wide variety of topics ranging from preparing for a sports competition to dealing with sickness in the family,” he said. “They are 15-minute episodes that portray everyday life and interactions with family and friends.

“Now, I am looking for a Navajo youth who is facing a challenge and would be willing to have their experience filmed,” he said. “We would spend two to three days following their journey, spread out over the week of 4th of July to 10th of July.

“In exchange, we can provide a sum of $600 to the family,” he said.

If you think you have a good story or know somebody who would be a good fit, please email or message via Signal or WhatsApp at the following address.

Information:nyazzbert@gmail.com or +43 650 305 8632.


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