MESA, Ariz. – Mesa Community College recently hosted the annual American Indian Academic and Artisan’s Conference, showcasing artwork and academic papers by talented American Indian students and artists.
The event was a collaborative effort between the MCC English Department and American Indian Institute. The awards were administered by a group of private donors and the MCC English Department under the direction of MCC English faculty Eddie Webb. A total of nine award winners received recognition for artistic creations and academic papers.
Artist of the Year went to Dustin Begay, who received a $1,500 scholarship. His work consisted of traditional Navajo themes highlighting women in culture as well as the connection native people have to the land where they are raised.
First runner-up was Hanna Manuelito, whose artwork expressed a very strong female theme using her sisters, mother, grandmother and great grandmother as role models for her in life as well as in her artwork. Second runner-up, Zaneta Brown, shared an eclectic collage of her work. Other award winners received scholarships of varying amounts. Topics such as teen pregnancy, graffiti, and native dancing shared the spotlight with homages to music, family, and the Navajo calendar.
Keynote speaker for the conference was Rebecca Tsosie, a member of the Yaqui Nation and currently a Regent’s Professor at ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. She spoke to students about a number of topics but focused primarily on issues related to tribal sovereignty, identity and protection of indigenous rights of nations. She also encouraged students to learn how to get involved in the struggle to maintain federal recognition and know their rights as indigenous people. The Maricopa District funded the Keynote Speaker.
Scholarship award recipients
Dustin Joseph Begay (Navajo) – Artist of the Year
Hanna Manuelito (Navajo) – 1st Runner up
Zaneta Ashley Brown (Navajo) – 2nd Runner up
Academic Paper Awards
Eddie Clark (Navajo) – The Navajo Calendar
Shaina Chato (Navajo) – Graffiti: Art or Vandalism
Dominique Hunter (Pawnee) – The Dancer’s Universe: A Reflection
Christine Kaibetoney Begaye (Navajo) – Person of Exemplary Integrity
David Teller (Navajo) – Thoughts of Being Native American in the Digital Age
Jessica Thomas (Navajo) – Teen Pregnancy
Dawn Zimmer (480) 461-7892 Dawn.Zimmer@mesacc.edu
Sally Mesarosh (480) 892-1393 Sally.Mesarosh@mesacc.edu
About MCC’s American Indian Institute
Mesa Community College’s American Indian Institute strengthens leadership through culturally extensive support to empower American Indian students. The Institute is dedicated to American Indian student's academic excellence, well-being and cultural balance. The Institute's student-centered environment encourages students to become active participants in their educational planning. Learn more online here.