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One Day; One Fair: The 2012 Navajo Nation Fair


Leandra Thomas of Steamboat,AZ, is crowned Miss Navajo Nation 2012-2013. Leandra is Naakai Dine’é (Mexican People Clan), born for Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People Clan). Outgoing Miss Navajo Nation, Crystalyne Curley, crowns Leandra Thomas, overcome with emotion upon being selected to represent the Navajo Nation.(Sam Tsosie/The Navajo Post)

By Sam Tsosie

Editorial and Commentary

Window Rock, AZ – The title is a bit misleading since one day would imply 8 hours plus. I was there for five hours.  I had planned to cover the fair for several days, but my children became sick, thus giving me only Saturday.  I missed the parade, but I didn’t “miss” getting up at 4:30am to get there before Tse Bonito was closed off to traffic.  I arrived at Window Rock around 3:30PM.  The road through Window Rock reminded me of the 405 on a Friday in LA.  Instead of waiting in traffic, I parked at the Quality Inn and decided to walk to the fairgrounds, which took me approximately 10 minutes.   The midway was crowded with people and the smell of fried foods dominated all other fragrances.  Thank goodness, too, because there were like 40 porta potties by the main entrance.   I quickly made my way to the fry bread competition and then over to the exhibition hall where the artisans were housed.  After browsing through the fine art and photos, I headed over to the energy hall.  I watched President Shelly speak about preserving our resources and how we can improve as a nation.  I really wanted to ride the ferris wheel to get some bird’s eye view photos, but no single riders were allowed!!

(Sam Tsosie/The Navajo Post)

I left the fairgrounds to cover the coronation of Miss Navajo at NACE(Navajo Arts & Crafts Enterprise), near where I parked.  I arrived late (of course) and all the good spots were taken, mostly by some of the area’s finest photojournalists (DQ, Cable and Diego).  I finally made my way into the event and posted up near an old woman.  She seemed upset that I took the spot next to her.  But she wasn’t, she was upset with the spot she picked, near the back – behind the land of giants.    I was to the right of the stage and I knew that once they announced the winner (Leandra Thomas, Steamboat, AZ), all the people seated in the 8 rows in front of me would stand up.  And they did, blocking my view.  Fortunately for me I was able to stand on sandbags increasing my height by several feet.  The outgoing Miss Navajo Nation, Crystalyne Curley, gave a wonderful speech, in English and in Dine Bizaad.  She thanked the Native veterans who served their country and asked that they stand up to be recognized.  She then proceeded to thank all the tribal delegates, council members, chapter officials and Navajo Nation government officials.  She asked them to stand up, but no one did because none of our leaders were present. There was a quiet murmur and a few chuckles.  And of course they weren’t present, it wasn’t in their best intere$t$. 

After the coronation I headed over to Window Rock Airport to capture the balloon glow.  I arrived to a lonely, desolate tarmac.  In the distance I could see the caravan of balloonists, but they were not setting up.  I began to walk toward the end of the tarmac and was called over by Geri Hongeva, Media Officer for the Navajo Parks and Recreation department.  She told me they might cancel the balloon glow, due to high winds, which they eventually did.

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One Day; One Fair: The 2012 Navajo Nation Fair