Saturday, July 20, 2024

Learning the clan system with a mug of coffee

Learning the clan system with a mug of coffee


For the past year, young Navajos have been learning more about their culture by drinking a cup of coffee each morning.

But this wasn’t any cup of coffee. It is a special cup that came on the market in late 2014 that gave tribal members a short burst of energy through the coffee and a lasting burst of culture through the writing on the mug.

These are clan coffee mugs, developed by George Joe and his partner, Roz Begay, who formed Diné Gifts as a way to make money while at the same time teaching young Navajos a little about their clan system.

“The mugs were a success from the beginning,” said Begay who added that they were introduced to the Navajo consumer at the 2014 Navajo Nation Fair.
On one is of the mug is the name of a clan that the owner is a member; on the other side is a brief story of the clan’s origin.

This isn’t the first time that a marketer has placed a clan name on a mug; you can buy a mug like that at a tribal casino but Joe said this is the first time that the mug also includes the story of the clan’s origin.

The company started out with mugs for 14 clans and that has now been reduced to 10 because some clan names have sold out.

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About The Author

Bill Donovan

Bill Donovan wrote about Navajo Nation government and its people since 1971. He joined Navajo Times in 1976, and retired from full-time reporting in 2018 to move to Torrance, Calif., to be near his kids. He continued to write for the Times until his passing in August 2022.


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