WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. -- Every year for the past 16 years, Utah Navajos have
been treated to a weekend of Christmas festivities courtesy of the
Ya'a'teeh Keshmish, or Navajo Santa, program. This year, the organization,
which is chaired by council delegate Kenneth Maryboy, held the celebration
the weekend of Dec. 3 -- 4.
Council delegates Maryboy, Woody Lee, Tom Lapahe and Speaker Lawrence T.
Morgan joined approximately 500 Utah Navajo residents for the annual
celebration held outside Bluff, Utah.
For Maryboy's family and the many volunteers who are part of the Navajo
Santa organization, the day began before 8 a.m. as they worked to put up
the tent and prepare a turkey dinner with all the trimmings for the guests.
They also prepared the gifts for the community giveaway.
The actual work in soliciting donations, sponsors and volunteers, however,
is a year-round process and requires the help of all the members of the
Maryboy family, especially his wife and children, and numerous others who
are part of the Navajo Santa organization.
Utah Navajo families were given toys, clothes, blankets and hygiene packs.
They were also given the opportunity to participate in games such as
horseshoe throwing, a chainsaw contest and dummy roping, for one-of-a-kind
prizes like a Utah Jazz basketball cap signed by the players.
Following the give-away and contests, guests were treated to a dinner
served by volunteers as Navajo stories about the stars, narrated in part by
Maryboy himself and played over loudspeakers.
The next day, Maryboy donned his Santa suit to make deliveries to Utah
Navajo families in need. The Sub-For-Santa delivery matches up sponsors
with families to purchase the items on their Christmas wish lists.