Arizona Indian Living Treasures Awards

To Honor the Cultures of Arizona Native American Tribes

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Sheldon Swick


Mr. Sheldon Swick is a Mohave elder who has dedicated his life to perpetuating the Mohave language and culture within the Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) community. Mr. Swick has shared his knowledge with the Tribal Council, community schools, as well as the CRIT Library and Museum since the 1980s. The community has benefitted greatly from Mr. Swick’s knowledge of Mohave spirituality, land, water and cultural history. On numerous occasions, the CRIT Council has asked him to apply his knowledge of Mohave language and culture to serve as an advisor to them. Mr. Swick participated in several projects where he and other Mohave elders translated oral history for the tribe. More recently, he has participated in ethnographic studies of Mohave land use areas for the renewable energy projects. His vast knowledge of the Mohave ancestral lands have been recorded and are documented as tribal history to preserve those lands.

Throughout the years Mr. Swick has worked hard to support the preservation of the Mohave language by video recording Mohave number systems, traditional names of mountains and culturally sensitive areas in the Mohave language. These recording have been used for cultural instruction in programs such as CRIT Head Start. Mr. Swick has worked hard to revitalize the language and has been teaching the Mohave language at the CRIT Library since 2008. He continues to teach weekly language classes. Mr. Swick also participates in the Annual Yuman Language Summit as a co-presenter of Mohave Language.

Mr. Swick has demonstrated throughout his life a remarkable ability to stem the loss of culture, to touch people personally, to inspire and lead. He believes deeply in preserving and revitalizing the endangered Mohave language.

Cultural Preservationist
Gourd Rattle Making
language master

Previous AILTA Recipients

Royce Manuel
Craft: Calendar Stick Carrier, Men’s Agave Basket Making, Storyteller
Tribe: Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
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With your gift, The AILTA organization will continue our work to honor the lifetime achievements of Arizona American Indian traditional artists, teachers, cultural and language preservationists.
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