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Notah 'one of us'

As qualified as anyone in today's scientific academe (professor emeritus, biology, Cal State University - Northridge), I remain somewhat mystified by the continued paucity of positive Indian role models. What is the reason for this ongoing shortage? Have we yet to learn the simple lesson of overcoming oppression together? How do we start to respect and give recognition to one another so that the way is made easier for others of our kind who may elect to follow our footsteps?

Allow me to recognize, and therefore focus on, a rare exception, Notah Begay. [See ''Notah Begay lends a hand as ambassador,'' Vol. 27, Iss. 17.] Mr. Begay has been internationally known as a pro golfer for quite some time. As a 33-year-old Navajo (I prefer Dineh, our self-identifying name in our Native language), Notah Begay III has been in the elite circle of pro golfing for several years. The Indian world needs to know that Mr. Begay is one of us, and continues to be one of us as indicated by his recent involvement in playing in the first-ever Turning Stone Resort Championship.

Notah Begay III represents pure class. He continues to remember and value his Dineh roots and his first love (golfing) and showing us how to intertwine two aspects of his exemplary life. Bii gha he', shi k'is (''right on, brother'').

- Tacheeni Scott, Ph.D.

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Flagstaff, Ariz.