Jones Benally was born in a traditional hogan on the Navajo Nation at Black Mesa, Arizona. His grandparents and parents began teaching him traditional dances, ceremonies and the many uses of plants and herbs when he was seven years old. A historian of Navajo culture, Mr. Benally was the first Medicine Man employed as a Traditional Consultant at the Winslow Indian Health Care Center. He is a world champion Hoop Dancer and toured the world for over fifty years sharing his culture.
Jean Sahmie is a nationally recognized, traditional Hopi and Tewa potter from First Mesa, Arizona. She is part of the famous Nampeyo matriarchy. Mrs. Sahmie’s pottery is in many national collections including the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, and the Wheelwright Museum in Santa Fe, to name a few. Her pottery has been featured in numerous magazine and newspaper articles, and represented in most of the major books published on the pottery of the Southwest. Mrs.
James Peshlakai was born at home, in the area of Wupatki National Monument Visitor Center, north of Flagstaff, Arizona. His father, uncles and grandfathers were all medicine men and he traveled with them throughout Arizona to various ceremonies. The Female Shooting Way is the ceremony that he has been ordained. He learned of the sacredness and the abstract knowledge of the ceremonies as well as the metaphysical connections of ceremonies to the lives of the Navajo.
Ena R. Lopez was born, raised and continues to reside in Santa Rosa, Arizona. Her deep respect for her parents dictated a traditional form of education, including the customs and ways of self-sustaining, low-impact survival in the desert. She has successfully shared her knowledge of the Tohono O’dham and the environment with both O’odham and non-O’odham speakers.
Homer Beatty grew up in Cibecue, Arizona, where the culture is rich in Apache traditions in a family that practices traditional healing and ceremonies. He carries on the oral stories as one way of teaching the Apache culture as well as through the beautiful songs he sings at ceremonies, cultural events and pageants for diverse audiences. Mr. Beatty has traveled throughout Arizona with the Apache Cultural Advisory Group sharing his knowledge on endangered medicinal plants and as a cultural advisor on the effects of proposed construction projects.