The Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program started through the efforts of Linda Myers (right in photo) of Park City, Utah and Grace Smith Yellowhammer, a traditional Dine' woman. In the late 1980's Linda, an artist, was very moved by a Rug Show displaying the Navajo (or Dine' as they prefer to be called) weavings of the Elders of Northern Arizona. Touched by the stories of the Dine' people as told by Grace (left in photo) and Rose Hulligan during that Rug Show, Linda was soon very involved in gathering donated food, clothing and simple medicines and was driving to the reservation in Northern Arizona to deliver them to Elders living traditionally on the Land.
Within a year, and with the help of Jeannie Patton, a network grew around the vision that Linda and Grace had for supporting the traditional Elders in the native tradition of the Giveaway. At first it was just a group of one or two four-wheel drive vehicles making their way through the remote areas of Northern Arizona -- but those few were soon joined by many others who were touched by the purpose of the Program. Today over 2500 people from all over the United States and a few foreign countries have joined in the Spirit of the Giveaway Circle.
The Program supports over 500 traditional Elders who live in the Northern portion of Arizona and Southern Utah. The activities of the Program focus on helping traditional Elders live on the Land in the traditional ways of The People, as they have for thousands of years.
This Program is assisted by traditional Dine' people who serve as coordinators in various parts of the reservation to help us determine the needs of the Elders in their own culture and lifestyle.
Three videos are available to view which provide additional information about the program. The first is a production created in 2011 for BYUtv. It contains excellent information about the history of the program as well as illustrating the work we do on the reservation. It lasts about 25 minutes following an ad and can be viewed here. The second is an interview with C.J. Robb, our assistant director, which took place on Comcast Newsmakers TV in 2014. It is about 4 minutes in duration and can be viewed here The third video aired on CNN in March of 2017 when Linda was named a CNN Hero. This production is just under 3 minutes and can be viewed here.
We are not a religious or political organization. Many organizations exist to assist the Native Americans with the political issues they face. Our focus is on supporting the traditional Elders who desire to remain on their Lands, living in the traditional ways of the Dine'. You can read more about the vision of the Program in this blog article.
All services of the Program are provided through donations. Administrative work is provided by volunteers, many of whom donate hundreds of hours each year. We are a federally tax exempt, private, non-profit, charitable organization. If you would like to make a donation to support the activities of the program click here.