In 1992, a Tohono O’odham woman opened Fry Bread House in Phoenix with just three items on the menu. “…[S]he made $50 on opening day,” says daughter Sandra Miller.
Two decades later, the James Beard Foundation named the restaurant one of “America’s Classics,” recognized for its “timeless appeal” and “beloved for quality food that reflects the character of the community.”
At Fry Bread House, an all-Native staff hand-stretches warm, puffy fry bread and tops it with red chile stew, chorizo and cheese, or any other number of toppings.
For 13 years, Fry Bread House has operated on Seventh Avenue in an innocuous building marked simply by a sign indicating “Native American Food.” Inside, a smaller sign notes the establishment is “Tohono O’odham Owned and Operated.”
Now owner Cecilia Miller and her son and general manager Michael Perry have found a bigger location, still in central Phoenix. Sometime in August, Fry Bread House will move to 1003 E. Indian School Road, the site of the former Pancho’s Mexican Buffet.
Shelly signed an agreement June 25 with the Public Service Company of New Mexico to provide copy million in funding for job training of Navajo students at colleges in Crownpoint and Farmington, New Mexico. (Courtesy Navajo Nation)
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly formalized an agreement Thursday afternoon with Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) that will provide Navajo Nation members with funding for workforce training at colleges in Crownpoint and Farmington.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly joined PNM Chairman, President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn to sign a memo of understanding for the new job training initiative at Navajo Nation headquarters in Window Rock, Arizona.
The PNM-Navajo Nation Workforce Training Program is part of a copy million commitment PNM made this year in recognition of the job impact related to its proposed 2017 closure of two of four units of San Juan Generating Station near Farmington. The two-unit closure is part of an agreement announced Feb. 15, 2013, that would allow San Juan to comply with a federal visibility rule. The copy million would be paid in $200,000 installments over five years and would not be funded through rates.
“Working with PNM, our goal is to provide funding directly to Navajo students in fall 2013 at both Navajo Technical College and San Juan College. We need to invest in our Navajo people and I believe this is an important way to do that. When we invest in our people, they make the Navajo Nation stronger,” President Shelly said.
“PNM is committed to supporting the long-term economic health of the state and the Four Corners area in particular. We are extremely pleased with the collaborative process that has allowed us to craft a meaningful way to invest into job readiness for Navajo members,” Vincent-Collawn said. “The Navajo Nation has demonstrated that same spirit of cooperative collaboration in finding an effective path forward for San Juan to meet the regional haze rule.”
New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner Theresa Becenti-Aguilar said that when PNM first announced their proposal to shut down units at San Juan Generating Station, she asked that there be no lay off of workers.
“I said, I don’t want to see any lay off of workers. They work hard and we need to keep them working,” she said.
Under the terms of the memorandum of understanding signed yesterday, members of the Navajo Nation can qualify for copy,000 to $2,000 in funding per semester at Navajo Technical College in Crownpoint and San Juan College School of Energy in Farmington. The goal is to prepare Navajo members for jobs that are in demand and that are important to the Four Corners area and the Navajo Nation, so only certain certificates and associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs qualify.
Add One / PNM-Navajo Nation Workforce Training Program
The fall 2013 semester begins August 19; Navajo members who are 18 years of age or older are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Details on applying and certificates and degrees that qualify for funding can be found at PNM.com/Navajo. In addition, information on academic eligibility is at www.navajotech.edu/index.php/admissions or by calling (505) 786-4107 and at www.sanjuancollege.edu/energy or by calling (505) 327-5705.
Students who are currently enrolled and meet the eligibility requirements can contact the colleges and qualify for funding for the next semester.
The grants are intended to cover most and in some cases all of the tuition costs for the various degree and certification programs.
The Capay Valley’s hot Mediterranean-like climate creates prime olive-growing conditions. (Séka Hills website)
“The American consumer is really short-changed when it comes to fresh, virgin olive oil,” says Tribal Chairman Marshall McKay, reflecting on recent studies challenging the purity of many olive oils in the U.S. “So we decided one of our main quests would be to provide that for consumers.”
In 2008, after much research and consulting with the University of California Davis olive center, the Yocha Dehe tribe planted its first olive trees on 80 acres of poor, dry soil—the perfect conditions to grow Arbequina olives, a Spanish variety that prospers in Mediterranean-like climates. And in fall of 2011, they reaped the fruits of their labor.
“We completely sold out of our first year’s production,” says Jim Etters, director of land management for the tribe, who says their olive oil has been described as smooth and buttery, with a hint of grass and black pepper. “It was a strong start and started us on the right foot, helping us develop the market and learn the business.”
The biggest challenge for the tribe was finding a mill where they could process their olives. The nearest facility was two hours away, and for olive oil to be exceptional, it must be milled soon after picking.
So the Yocha Dehe did what any self-sustaining, economically independent tribe would do—they built their own state-of-the-art olive mill, a 14,000-square-foot facility custom-manufactured in Florence, Italy, and among the first of its kind in the U.S., where they process, store and bottle their oil. What sets this mill apart is that it prevents oxygen from ever touching the olives, thereby preserving freshness and flavor. RELATED:Yocha Dehe Olive Oil Attracts the Attention ofThe New York Times
The new olive mill has been a welcome addition to the Capay Valley, as it is where custom oil for 46 other olive growers is processed and bottled. “The tribe is proud to be able to partner with other local growers in and around the Capay Valley to help build the region’s reputation for world-class olive oil,” says Etters.
Chairman McKay echoes that sentiment. “One of our goals was to bring neighbors together and create agribusiness and a feeling of family in the valley. These olives have really done that for us.”
What’s next for the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation? “We have organic fields that we are nurturing, sustainable beef that we are raising, conservation of lands, restoration and distribution of energy,” McKay shares. “For centuries, we’ve been tenders of the land—farmers, really. And post-Gold Rush, we are still serving that purpose, nourishing and nurturing the land.”
Porcupine teeth and claws are among the variety of natural and manmade items for sale in the Four Shells store.
Jesse Tinsley photo Buy this photo Allyssa Haynes, left, shows Peggy Mahoney her beaded medallion at the Four Shells store in Plummer, Idaho, on Monday. Haynes works at the store, which is run by Mahoney’s family. It is one of the few places where Native American crafters can find almost any material needed for Indian regalia worn at traditional gatherings.
PLUMMER, Idaho – Peggy Mahoney always wanted to open a regalia store.
She spent hours stitching intricate beadwork on the outfits that her husband and kids wore for powwows and other special occasions, and she knew plenty of other Native American families crafting heirloom-quality clothing that would patronize a local supplier.
Four Shells Regalia Supply started out as a small selection of beads tucked into a corner of War Path Tribal Corp., a convenience store, gas station and gift shop that Mahoney, her husband, Pete, and their children run on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation.
Three years ago, the shop expanded into the regalia store that Mahoney had dreamed about. The shop attracts both native and non-native customers, who can spend an hour or more browsing through the inventory and talking about their current projects.
Four Shells Regalia stocks items that don’t appear in chain craft stores.
There are stacks of brain-tanned buckskin, deer and elk rawhide, and otter, mink and beaver furs. The display case features elk teeth, porcupine quills, cowrie and dentalium shells. And there are hanks of dyed horsehair, packets of face paint and geometric Indian prints in cotton, fleece and wool.
Four Shell’s biggest draw, however, is the three walls devoted to glittering glass beads, which gives the store a rainbow appearance. The beads are imported from the Czech Republic and end up in the intricate beadwork decorating moccasins, jewelry, chokers and other clothing and accessories.
Mahoney, who is Lakota, grew up watching female relatives doing beadwork. “When you are making the items, you put a lot of prayer into them,” she said. “And it’s a way to pass on tradition and culture.”
She said she’s seen a revival of interest in handcrafted regalia in recent years, particularly among the younger generation. One of Four Shell’s clerks, Allyssa Haynes, is already an expert bead worker at 17. Haynes, who will be a high school senior next year, frequently doodles, and her doodles turn into original designs.
Four Shells attracts regular customers from as far as British Columbia, Montana, Oregon and Wyoming.
“They come this way every year or so, and this is one of their main stops,” said Mona Gonzales, another of Four Shell’s clerks.
Vivian and Pete Williams, of Creston, B.C., were browsing in the shop this week.
Both do beadwork – Pete uses a loom – and they make the 2 ½-hour drive to patronize the store because of its large bead selection, Vivian Williams said.
Jeanne Sijohn Gravatt was also shopping for beads. Gravatt, who lives on the Spokane Reservation, has five orders pending for handcrafted gifts, including cradleboards.
Gravatt said that finding a local bead supplier was one of her top priorities after moving to the area from South Dakota. A friend told her about Four Shells.
Gravatt’s husband, Mark, knows not to interrupt her when she’s lost in thought in the store. Her creative wheels are spinning over color combinations and designs.
Four Shells will be busy with tourist traffic through October. But it’s December through February when the most dedicated customers stroll the aisles. They’ll be busy sewing and beading outfits and accessories for the next powwow season.
“It makes you feel pretty good,” Mahoney said of the store’s popularity. “It wasn’t just my hair-brained idea.”
The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development honors Dr. Clinton Pattea, President of Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, on his passing Friday, July 5, 2008. Dr. Pattea is recognized for his tireless efforts in representing his community and opportunities for development throughout Indian Country. He played an important role in protecting his ancestral lands during the proposed Orme Dam as well as his role as a pioneer in Indian gaming both for his community and other tribes in Arizona.
Countless accomplishments in leading his tribe are evident in the success of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. He stood strong and proud at every turn, but was quick to kindness, a model for us all. On a personal note, we will miss a kindly, humble man who gave so much to all he came in contact with, both young and old and looked forward to a better future for all American Indians.
Derrick Watchman (NCAIED Chairman), and Gary Davis (President and CEO, NCAIED) and the staff at NCAIED wish to express their support for people in Oklahoma who have been affected by the tornadoes in recent days.
To show our support NCAIED is making a donation to the Red Cross who is there helping people.
People who wish to make a donation can support American Red Cross Disaster Relief, which helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters like the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas as well as disasters big and small throughout the United States by visiting redcross.org, dialing 1-800-REDCROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.