Haskell is a home for a wide variety of talented male students. From bead work, to singing, to playing the flute, and drawing.
Troy Watterson, a sophomore at HINU, has a passion to bead; self-taught by some friends that showed him a few styles on how to stitch and bead. Watterson began more beadwork in 2011, “Some types of beadwork are the gourd stitch, Peyote, and medallions,” Watterson says. He mentions, “When I first sat down to bead it was out of curiosity, but then it grew into patience which I got down in my first few months.” Watterson does not look at himself as a professional Beader, he is always complimenting other people and their beadwork.
Robert Ankney, a senior at HINU, is a music artist and likes to write his own songs. He talks about how his dad influenced him to do music. As a younger child, his father played in a band even though Robert was there, he did not have a connection with him growing up after that. Ankney says he started writing songs when he was 14 years old, but did not record until he was 16 in all types of genres. He chose rap music because when he started living with his grandma and mom he could listen to other types of music and saw the art and talent behind the music. Ankney says, “When I first began writing songs they were about partying, but once I found my way in with Christ, my music is more of implementing God and giving Him the credit.”
Calvin Smith Jr., a junior at Haskell, who’s passion is playing the flute. Smith started playing when he was a freshman in high school where his brother gave him his flute. He was inspired by his brother for one, but his music teacher in high school was another where she taught him music theory and how to read notes in the native flute. He learned how to play contemporary songs, metal, and classical songs with his music teacher. Before learning how to play contemporary songs, he was learning traditional songs from the Lakota People and the Pueblo people since the native flute was not traditional for the Navajo. Smith talks about some of the flutes he has, one is hand-made, a bass flute, and a pocket flute. His current flute that he plays is a cedar flute that was given to him by a Canadian flute player who is Cree.
Orlando Begay (OB), a senior at Haskell, has made his own custom design shoes called OB Ones. When he was younger he had this friend who always wore Vans, and OB as he requested to call himself, wore Air Force Ones. Begay said, “My friend asked me to draw on his shoes, so I looked up some designs and wanted to keep it simple but native, so I drew a drum group design. After I was done I took a picture and posted the shoe design on Facebook and people loved it.” From that point on, Begay continues creating custom orders. When people would order his shoes, he would ask questions about themselves and after he gets enough information Begay would convert the info into a design. His goal out of making custom design shoes is to connect with different cultures and try to bridge them, and share each other’s teachings.
Haskell University has a huge cultural diversity of students, bringing in many native students with different backgrounds and talents. It’s important to support and acknowledge the hard work these students put into crafts. Many of these students aren’t afraid to show off their creative talents and would love to be asked about their work.