Navajo Culture is King at Tobe Turpen Pageant

Third-grader at Tobe Turpen Elementary School Charles Haswood demonstrates how to make a moccasin on Nov. 19 in Gallup during the Tobe Turpen Elementary School pageant in Gallup. Navajo Times Photo by Donovan Quintero

Third-grader at Tobe Turpen Elementary School Charles Haswood demonstrates how to make a moccasin on Nov. 19 in Gallup during the Tobe Turpen Elementary School pageant in Gallup. Navajo Times Photo by Donovan Quintero

Published November 30, 2015

GALLUP, NEW MEXICO — Some of the skills displayed by Navajo girls and boys at a Tobe Turpin Elementary School pageant on Thursday came from tradition through generations of family.

The boys and girls showcased their knowledge of their Navajo culture at the Cultural Night and the Princess Tobe Turpen Pageant in the school gym.

Brian Largo, 34, of Gallup, said his daughter had learned the skill she would demonstrate from her family over generations and years as she interacted with her grandmother, her parents and her four siblings.

Tobe Turpen Elementary School pageant contestant Shyanna Tsosie, 3rd grade, uses her tsé bee nálzhóóh during the Tobe Turpen Elementary School pageant in Gallup.

Tobe Turpen Elementary School pageant contestant Shyanna Tsosie, 3rd grade, uses her tsé bee nálzhóóh during the Tobe Turpen Elementary School pageant in Gallup.

“I’m going to be demonstrating the cradleboard, by wrapping up my little sister,” Elana Largo, 9, said during the talent portion.

As she wrapped the 8-month-old in the cradleboard, the baby tried to sit up a few times once swaddled, but didn’t cry or fuss.

Their father said the cradleboard she used had passed between each of his children after he had a local make it while he was away in the military. Otherwise, he said, he could have made it himself. “Navajos, in Navajo family tradition, they have that inside their home.

“It’s common knowledge to put them in that, raise your children in that,” he said. She finished as the second runner up, while second-grader Amanda Juan, 8, became this year’s Miss Tobe Turpin.

A slideshow at the event showed the events the winner from last year attended – parades, ceremonies, and educational events – before the pageant crowned a new princess.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published in the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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