Walking the journey of life

Walking the journey of life

Easter song and dance brings back memories for elders

By Krista Allen
Special to the Times

TONALEA-RED LAKE, Ariz.

Julia Wesley, 93, from Hard Rock, Arizona, was having fun in her purple outfit that she made a couple of months ago and that was packed away in her garment bag.

“They were neatly packed away, but this morning I took them out to wear them and now I’m having a ball,” Wesley said in Navajo as she laughed. “I enjoy song-and-dance events, for which I’ve traveled far and wide in my younger years.”

Wesley, who is an attendee at the Kaibeto Senior Center, was one of many elders who attended Tonalea Senior Center’s Easter Song and Dance on April 18. When Wesley was younger, she didn’t attend song-and-dances just to watch and then leave. She participated to compete in the dance and traditional outfit contests, winning each time in her age category.

“Now, I can barely make two rounds,” Wesley said as she looked out on the dance floor where her relatives by clan were adorned in turquoise and dressed in colorful outfits. “I get tired. I’m 93 years old and everything starts going downward when you’re old. It’s not like when I was young.

Every year and every birthday, it gets hard.” Attending song-and-dances today is no longer about competing, said Wesley — it’s about feeling good, dressing up, and feeling young again.


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