Nizhónígo Nee Ado’ááł (Have a beautiful day)

Andrew Letzerich - Amazing Senior

Introducing an amazing senior from Maple Mountain High School. Andrew Letzerich; Cherokee, Hispanic, Caucasian. He is very proud of his ancestry and is continually learning about each culture he comes from. Andrew’s friends describe him as kind and a leader.  He also is very loyal to his family and friends and would give anything to help them. Sometimes we forget that the greatest contributions we can make are to our own family and friends. 

 In his spare time Andrew loves to ride his motorcycle, work on his friend’s farm and weld. His favorite movie because of its spotlight on motorcycles is, Sons of Anarchy. A quote from that series, “Not my place to judge, we all fall down, it’s about how we get up.” – Gemma.

 Andrew loves Arroz con pollo and Indian Tacos. Not necessarily in that order. His color of choice is orange and his favorite sport is football. His favorite class in school is welding. One of his most memorable moments in high school was during his sophomore year, watching his friend’s brother jump from the school balcony above the lunch room. No students were hurt during this crazy stunt.

 After he graduates, he plans to go on a mission for his church and then return to college. He was one of the recipients of the Title VI parent committee scholarship this past week. One of the items on his bucket list is to one day go skydiving. Andrew has things to do, places to go and people to influence. Good Luck Andrew on all your endeavors and congratulations on receiving your diploma.

We leave you with a short line from one of Andrew’s favorite quotes/scripture: “. . . my cup runneth over.” 

April Newsletter

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Julius Chavez telling about the Navajo wedding basket.
(more pictures available)

Many families, students and teachers in the Nebo School District braved the snowy blast from Mother Nature on Monday night to attend the Title VI Storytelling Night held at Larsen Elementary.  It was truly an authentic, accurate and enriching event. Holding with tradition; on such nights where the land is covered with snow and the cold sends you inside, Native American families throughout our country would gather together in their hogans, tipis, wickiups, long houses or pueblos and tell stories, give counsel and sing songs. And so it was on Monday Night. We welcomed our district family to Larsen Elementary.

The evening started with a dinner of Indian Tacos.  Some just wanted frybread with honey butter. But, there was no honey butter, cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar to be had, because, traditionally a pinch of salt is the only topping put on frybread.  Some tried it, others ate their frybread plain, a new experience for their palette.

 The Nebo Performing Arts Group entertained during the dinner hour with songs and dances they learn on Wednesdays at the homework lab held every week.  These students recently represented Nebo School District on the hill by invitation from our Superintendent, Rick Nielsen. On this night, the students were able to share their cultural knowledge and yes, dance gratitude for the moisture that the land just received. Among the dancers, our own two beautiful Nebo princesses shined with grace. Jenna Woods, Navajo and Tava Groves, Hopi-Ute are examples of strength and vitality of Native American youth in our district.

 The highlight of the evening were two storytellers.  Julius Chavez weaved his telling through how things came to be and into how young men and women should carry themselves. He sang songs that told their own stories and ended with a charge for all to search out what the creator has set them here on earth to do. Larry Cesspooch told humorous personal stories of his early life experiences.  Through these tellings, the audience was able to reflect on how different yet similar childhood is.  He explained how the six fingered flute came to the Ute people. He also gave counsel on finding your strengths and allowing these gifts to carry you through life. Both storytellers enthralled those in attendance.

 The Storytelling Night was attended by many Native American families. But, the most pleasant surprise was the attendance of many non-native families. Our own superintendent Rick Nielsen and director of federal programs, Mike Larsen with his family joined in the gathering. Others came with friends or even alone. Many of these were students whose teachers offered extra credit for this event. Applause to these students who were willing to step out of their comfort zones even if it was for a few extra points. Their authentic learning will last longer than the class. One student said, “Where can I go to another one of these?” An indication that hands were stretched across cultures.

 A very special thank you to those teachers who saw this event as an opportunity for students to experience firsthand traditional ways.  And, most importantly these teachers didn’t limit learning about Native Americans to a three-week unit in their history books last fall. It is to such educators we say, the world looks bright. Thank you also goes to Larsen Elementary principal, Cami Thomas, who saw the worth of such a night.  She dove right in and learned how an Indian Taco is made by helping serve those who gathered. She also experienced Native humor which might still make her chuckle.   

 All in all it was a memorable event. It happens every winter, storytelling; now in apartments, brick homes, condos, and yes, schools.  Just as it should be.


Storytelling is a tradition among all Native Americans. This is a time to relate history, give counsel and explain natural phenomenon.  The storytellers are charged not only with entertaining but also with passing down oral traditions.  This writer remembers cold winter evenings sitting by her grandfather as he told stories that brought vivid images to her mind.  It was a time for family togetherness, wisdom shared and new learning. 

This Monday, February 27th, Nebo's Indian Education program will be holding their storytelling night at Larsen Elementary.  Two featured tellers, Julius Chavez and Shawn Cesspooch will take center stage.  Our own Nebo Performing Arts Group will also entertain with some hand drum songs and dances. 

To begin the evening, Indian Taco will be for sale for $7 a plate or 5 plates for $30.  All monies will benefit the Parent Committee Scholarship Program which in the past has handed out over 15 scholarships to students graduating from Nebo School District High Schools. 

Come and join us with your family for this event. It starts at 6:00 p.m. with dinner until 7:00 p.m. At 7:00, the storytelling portion will begin. It is being held at Larsen Elementary in Spanish Fork, Utah. Please call Eileen Quintana for more information. 

In the Governor's Office
(more pictures available)

On Monday February 6th, Nebo Title VI (Indian Education), participated in American Indian Caucus Day at the State Capitol.  This is a time when tribal leaders and state leaders are able to meet together and discuss issues that impact Indian people in our great state. Community members and partners of the Native community were also invited. 

This year, forty three Native American students and parents were able to make the trek up to the Capitol.  Nebo’s own performing arts group was invited to sing some hand drum songs and do a sign language performance to open the Caucus meeting. Some of the students were able to meet concern citizens from Monument Valley.  They were able to ask questions of these Elders about various issues facing their respective communities. One student said, “I was surprised by what they had to say.  It made what I see on TV more real.”

The group was also able to take a tour of the capitol with a knowledgeable docent that gave them a peek into the governor’s office.  They were also able to have some time in the House of Representatives to view the bills that were being discussed and debated before votes were taken. Another tour was taken with the state’s historian to view the maps that were on display in the capitol.  It was wonderful to note that on every map there was evidence of Indigenous communities past or present.

One of our own Native American Seniors- Nicholas Nez was able to job shadow a representative during the day.  He spent the day with one of our representatives who gave him a look into the responsibilities of representing a community.  Nicholas had a long day on the hill but had an incredible experience.

Eileen Quintana, program manager said, “We want Nebo American Indian students to be involved, informed and inspired to be active participants in the issues facing their communities.  Soon they will be the leaders of their Tribal Nations.”   

This is the third year in a row the Nebo Title VI has participated.  They plan to continue making this trip year after year. 



Join Us for American Indian Caucus Day on the Hill
(more pictures available)

Join us for a wonderful opportunity! We are taking a bus on Monday, February 6, 2017 to the State Capitol to participate in the American Indian Caucus Day. This is an opportunity to interact with legislators and state and tribal leaders. We will take a tour of the capitol, watch the process of the passing of bills in the House of Representatives chambers and meet legislators. In addition, we will listen in on discussions between state and tribal leaders in our great state.  It is also a time to hand deliver letters to your legislator and give voice to your concerns or opinions on matters effecting Native Americans. Parents are also welcome to write letters to be delivered.  The issues become of greater importance if a legislator receives hand written letters from their constituents.

A note and permission slip was sent to every Junior High and High school to be handed out to Native American students. If an elementary student would like to participate, we will need a parent or high school sibling to occupying them. Come to Larsen Elementary in Spanish Fork or Cherry Creek Elementary in Springville at 7:00 a.m with lunch in hand or money to buy a lunch. We will be home between 1:30 and 2:00.  Please contact Eileen Quintana or Brenda Beyal for more information. 

Image result for massasoit at the Utah state capitol

January Newsletter

Please download our January Newsletter.


Let me share with you an account I found years ago. It is about
the true story of the first Christmas in the Americas. The
encounter of the Tainos*1 and Columbus as was told by Christopher
Columbus himself but reported by very few historians. In my
opinion, this is a great piece of history to share with our

"Indeed it is true that the things here are
marvelous, and so also are the great villages of this Island
Hispaniola*2... And all the people behave in a remarkable friendly

"Our Lord Willed
that at midnight, when the crew saw me lie me down to rest and
also saw that there was a dead calm and the sea was in a bowl,
they all down to sleep and left helm to a boy. The current carried
the ship (Santa Maria) upon one of these banks. Although it was
night, the sea breaking on them made so much noise that they could
be hear and seen at a 3 miles distance. The ship went upon the
bank so quietly that it was hardly noticeable. When the boy felt
the rudder ground and hear the noise of the sea, he cried
out...The master and many others jumped into the small boat, and I
assumed they were going to follow my orders. Instead, their only
thoughts were to escape to the Niña...When I saw that some of my
own crew were fleeing and that the sea was becoming more shallow
with my ship broadside to it, I did the only ting I could. I
ordered the mast cut and the ship lightened as much as possible,
to see if it could be refloated. But the water became even more
shallow, and the ship settled more and more to one side. Although
there was little or no sea, I could not save her (Santa Maria)...

On hearing the
news the King (Taino) wept, showing great sorrow at our disaster.
Then he sent all the inhabitants of the village out to the ship in
many large canoes. Thus we began to unload her (Santa Maria) and
in very short time we had cleared the decks. Such was the help
that this King gave us. After this, he himself with his brothers
and relations, did everything they could both in the ship and on
shore to arrange things for our comfort. And from time time he
sent various of his relatives to implore not to grieve, for he
would give me everything he had.

I assure your
Highnesses that nowhere in Castile would one receive such great
kindness or anything like it. He had all our possessions brought
together near his house and kept them there until some houses had
been emptied to receive them. He appointed armed men to guard them
and made them watch right through the night. I certify to your
Highnesses that in no part of Castile could things be so secure;
not even a shoe string was lost!"

(*1) Tainos is the name of the
group of Natives who welcomed Columbus

(*2) Haiti and Dominican Republic

Source: Columbus Diary, 1492

Fuson, R.H. (Ed.), The Log of Christopher Columbus, International
Marine Publisher Co., Camden, Maine, 1987

Cohen, J.M., (Ed.), Christopher Columbus, The Four Voyages,
Penguin Books Ltd., New York, New York, 1969

Landstron, B., Columbus, The Story of Don Cristobal Colon Admiral
of the Ocean and his Four Voyages Westward to the Indies, The
Macmillan Company, New York, 1967

Map of
Central America and the Caribbean Islands




Educational Material Non Co


Check out this video that details "Earth Connections Camp", which is part of a collaboration we do with the BLM during Camp Eagle Summer School.


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