Originally published March 30, 2021 at 9:12 am

WINDOW ROCK, Arizona – Navajo Nation First Lady Phefelia Nez gave a virtual presentation to Diné College students on March 23, focusing on “Holistic Cure and Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

Nez spoke about the importance of integrating the Navajo Wellness Model into our daily lives using the cultural perspective of thinking, planning, acting and reflecting, and the importance of cultural and spiritual balance as a Navajo people.

“We’ve seen the loss of people, the loss of jobs, we’re going through this as a group of people,” said Nez. “We have a collective bond, we share collective experiences that strengthen us to hold out in difficult times.”

She also encouraged students not to cherish their feelings, but to be aware of their feelings and share them. She spoke of the importance of prayer and other cultural rituals that bring healing.

“When you believe in something, you always have something to return to,” she said.

Nez also encouraged parents to spend time strengthening their bonds with their children, drawing on the teachings of the elders, and putting those teachings into practice.

“As parents, our main responsibility is to protect our children, encourage them and give them lessons that will prepare them for the future,” she said.

This presentation was part of the initiative of the Student Activities Program at Diné College to reach out to students.

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