TEEC NOS POS, ARIZ. — As she took a break between songs, singer Delphine Tsinajinnie spoke about why she loves to educate children about her style of singing.
"We need to keep our unique language, our unique perspectives alive. That's why I encourage you to sing," said Tsinajinnie during a celebration on Friday at the Four Corners Monument.
Tsinajinnie and several entertainers took part in the Four Corners Monument Annual Appreciation Day.
The event was organized to give back to the community and to thank the public for its support of the monument, said Karen Yazzie, the monument's manager. For the event, organizers hired Native American artists to perform music and comedy routines.
"We're trying to expose our native entertainers, but not many programs or events bring them out to the community level," Yazzie said.
The day started with a 10K fitness walk in the morning from the Teec Nos Pos Arts and Crafts building, located at the intersection of U.S. Highways 64 and 160, to the monument.
A tent was erected on the New Mexico side of the monument's grounds, where the performances were held and lunch was served for the first 300 people who stopped at the monument.
A number of musicians and comedians took the stage throughout the day, including comedic duo James and Ernie and Razor Saltboy, who performed country tunes.
Martin Begaye, department manager of the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department, shared historical information about the monument and the renovation of the plaza and the vendor spaces, which was completed in August 2010.
Begaye spoke about his traditional upbringing, without water and electricity, and how he now leads a tribal department. That, he said, mirrors the progress of the monument, which started with a few simple markers and has since blossomed.
"I compared (my childhood) to the place here, where we had a similar situation with only a few sheds set up and a cement plaque to mark the Four Corners," he said.
Begaye said he feels the event reaches out to members of the Teec Nos Pos Chapter and others who have welcomed the monument, which is on tribal land.
"We feel like it's a privilege for us to be here to take care of it for them, so they can benefit from the monument," Begaye said. "What I really like is the joy people have when they come out here and see the entertainment. It's what really motivates us to do this."
Yazzie said the organizers of the event may host the event on a Saturday next year to increase attendance.