Dr. Gordon Bronitsky (Ph.D. Arizona, 1977) writes that the recent visit of the Yakuts delegation to Albuquerque and Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint, NM, was a great success. Members of the delegation were very impressed with the Gathering of Nations, the largest gathering of American Indians in the US and Canada, visited the thousand year old village of Acoma Pueblo in western New Mexico, and had a reunion with most of the Navajos who participated in the Navajo/Yakuts cultural summit in Yakutsk, which Dr. Bronitsky organized under the auspices of the US consulate in Vladivostok.
The visit to Navajo Technical University was a real highlight of the trip and included a formal welcome by President Elmer Guy, a traditional Yakuts blessing ceremony, a student-led tour of the campus, a chance to taste traditional Navajo foods like tanaashgiizh (blue corn meal mush), and presentations on Navajo life and traditions by Navajo faculty and students. The Yakuts visitors presented a ceremonial drum to the university, and the University President gifted a traditional Navajo basket to the Yakuts delegation.
A farewell dinner in Gallup, NM, was hosted by Navajo designer Virginia Ballenger (www.navajospirit.com) who had been one of the Navajo participants in the 2016 Navajo/Yakuts cultural summit facilitated by Dr. Bronitsky. Discussions are under way about creating a Yakuts pavilion at the Navajo Nation Fair in 2020 and a Navajo pavilion at the major Yakuts festival in 2022, as well as internships and cultural and educational exchanges and partnerships. (Anthro News digest date: 5/3/2019)