Navajo Gaming Delivers Navajo 4-H Livestock Harvest to Chapters, Senior Centers

Fire Rock employees meat donation for Church Rock Chapter

Published November 20, 2019

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (Navajo Gaming) is giving back to the community with the purchasing of 4-H livestock and donating the meat to Chapter Houses and Senior Centers on the Navajo Nation. The livestock purchased was raised by Navajo tribal youth and purchased during the Navajo Nation Fair in September and Shiprock Fair held every October. Over 35 livestock cattle, lambs, goats and pigs harvested equated to more than 6,000 pounds of meat. The meat was then divided up for distribution by the four Navajo Gaming properties, who donated to local chapters and senior citizen centers across the Navajo Nation.

The initial benefit of this process was, of course, to the Navajo youths’ entrepreneurial educational experiences, raising livestock from birth to market. There are more than 35 4-H clubs throughout the Navajo Nation teaching hand-on projects like health, science, agriculture and civil engagement.

Tyann Layton of Sanders, Arizona, is a 4-H member of Heritage Stock & Roots Club. Sanders shared her experiences with Navajo Gaming, stating “It brings out the best in me, shows me respect and how to care for others and not just myself.” Her mother and role model, Kimberly Yazzie, beef marketing specialist for Navajo Beef, Labatt Meat Company, added her experience working with the youth of this 4-H club. “It’s rewarding to see these children grow in knowledge, showmanship and even basic entrepreneurship skills at a young age,” said Yazzie.

The second part of giving back is the variety of recipients of the more than 6,000 pounds of meat. The recipients were numerous chapter houses and senior centers throughout Navajo Nation. Dilkon Chapter President Lorenzo Lee Sr., picked up four large containers filled with over 1,000 pounds of meat from Twin Arrows Casino Resort. Lee said his chapter community manager informed him they have more than 400 elders within their community. When asked how this meat will help the community his response was, “This will help the elders and veterans who don’t often get out to social events.”

Gloria West, Fire Rock Casino general manager, and her team members delivered meat to Church Rock Chapter, Iyanbito Chapter and Church Rock Senior Center which provides services to Iyanbito Seniors. The timing was perfect as Susie Jensen, cook for Church Rock Senior Center, mentioned, “I had just run out of meat to cook for the over 50 elders I feed on-site each day. Meat is very expensive and I greatly appreciate the donations made by Fire Rock Casino.”

Northern Edge/ Flowing Water Casino general manager Clifford Ehrlich and his team members donated meat to Tse Daa K’aan and Upper Fruitland Chapters.

Brian Parrish, Interim CEO for Navajo Gaming, said, “Next year we will increase the budget to purchase additional livestock to help more Navajo youth increase their entrepreneurial skills, which will allow us to reach even more chapters and senior centers throughout the Navajo Nation.”

Melinda Tomchee, Navajo Gaming Board Vice-Chairwoman, said growing up on the Navajo Nation she had the opportunity to participate in Shiprock’s 4-H Club, where she raised Suffolk-bred lambs and entered them into competition at the Northern Navajo Nation Fair. Tomchee can appreciate the educational aspects provided from raising livestock from birth to harvesting.

“It’s a very effective method of ‘learning-by-doing’ for our young, aspiring livestock owners. Navajo Gaming’s active support of our Dine’ youth 4-H activities helps support our local chapters and senior centers through the donation of high-grade meat purchased at these auctions. Our Navajo chapters and senior centers feed numerous community members, and sometimes this might be their only hot meal of the day. By supporting our Navajo 4-H programs through the purchase of livestock at the 4-H shows, it provides our Dine’ youth to learn life skills in animal husbandry practices and serves as a steppingstone in becoming young entrepreneurs. This is a holistic approach in caring for our Navajo people,” said Tomchee.

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