2011 Tewa Holiday Project Wrap Up



2011 was another outstanding year for the Tewa Holiday Project. With the $13,847.53 raised another record was set. Thank you so much to all of those who donated and made 2011 the record year that it was. Not only did we set a record for the amount of money raised we set a record for the number of people that made the delivery trip to First Mesa. 70 people made the delivery trip to First Mesa, the caravan went on for a mile. The Tewa Holiday Project continues to grow thanks in whole to all of your efforts and word of mouth. The Tewa Holiday Project is a complete grass roots effort through the word of mouth of many of you spreading the news about how rewarding it is to feel the Holiday spirit when you make the delivery trip to First Mesa. My Holiday season would be empty without it.

Thanks to your efforts and generosity we were once again able to provide “Holiday Baskets” to 75 Tewa elders and their extended families. This was the third year that we have delivered to the Tewa Community Center. Through our continued efforts to reach the Tewa Elders it was really great to have most of the Elders come to the community center this year to take delivery of their baskets.

When I say baskets, it takes three or four people or one strong girl to get a Tewa Elder out the door with their “basket”. This years baskets included: each elder received a 12-14 lb ham, 10 lbs of apples, 10lbs of oranges, 5 lbs of potatoes, 2 lbs of carrots, 5 lbs of flour, 5 lbs of sugar, 2lbs of dried black beans, 4 lbs of dried pinto beans, dressing mix, canned soups, canned peaches, cranberry sauce, canned olives, oatmeal, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot sauce, mac and cheese, apple juice, sparkling cider, nuts,candy canes, trail mix,top raman, pancake mix, Boysenberry syrup, hominy, Spaghetti,spaghetti sauce, sugar cookie mix, rice chex cereal, canned vegetables, tortilla chips and salsa. In addition they received personal items of shampoo, lotion, razors, shaving cream, tooth brushes,tooth paste, floss, bar soap, liquid soap, flash lights, batteries, ball point pens, gloves and a blanket. This year we were also specially gifted with hand made knitted caps, gloves and scarfs that were coveted by all. Plus there was a gift of teddy bears for the young ones that brought smiles to all faces.

The delivery was a totally moving experience with tears shed by both the recipients and the givers. The tremendous feeling of gratitude is overwhelming when you are there to experience it first hand.

One of the great benefits of being involved with the Tewa Holiday Project is the many people that I have met and got to know that I would otherwise never become acquainted with. One of those folks is Kristen Johnson. I have known Kristen as a fellow Realtor since I moved to Sedona in 1994. But I really did not know her. Kristen made her first trip to First Mesa in 2010 and made the trip again in 2011. After her trip this year she felt moved to write and sent me the following poem. I think you will find is as moving and meaningful as I do. Thanks Kristen!

Thoughts on a Second Trip to Tewa

On the road again one more time climbing the canyon in the morning cold, red banners flapping in the wind, headed for the Mesa one more time speeding up the highway in happy anticipation of greeting the Village waiting for us as we have been waiting all year to make this Christmas pilgrimage.

“Good Morning,Good Morning” voices greet us at the Tewa Center. “Good Morning, Good Morning” sing the voices of the Elders, families, shy children smiling in the corners as the bounty is unloaded. “Good Morning,Good Morning”- the first of many rewards to come.

Lunch has been cooking all morning in the host family homes-A hungry pilgrim’s lunch of tangy hot pesole, “out of the oven” fry bread, pumpkin bread and cherry cream cake gratefully consumed at tables set by the woodstove in Ruth’s flagstone-floored great room. Darlene’s kiln is smoltering out back firing wonders in a special firing for us on this special day.

“Walpi,Walpi “singing in my head all year. Now I am at last at the top of the world feeling flight,vertigo , and wonder standing at the edge of the earth under the gold-streaked sky absorbing the ocre of the ancient stones, the worn steps, the yellow fields far below- mental camera shots to hold in my memory.

A quick stop-in at Ruth’s house for Darlene’s treasured corn pot fired that afternoon.

Then off on the road again under the lowering winter sky past the snow capped mesas to magical La Posada for dinner in the company of fellow travelers

After dinner, a moving “Thank You” from Cathy Sahmie, director of the Tewa Center, answered by “thank you’s “ all around. Thank you again Tewa for this Christmas.

A late night gathering upstairs in the Howard Hughes Room talking by candle light of dances, clowns, corn and rain: the last reward in a day of rewards to hold for the year to come until we are on the road again. Kristen Johnson


The Tewa Holiday Project Takes a Community – Thank You……..

For making the 2011 Tewa Holiday Project a Success!


Gerald Anstine
Ed Baron
Susan and Paul Blechmann
Gregory Brackett
Stephanie Brand
Tom Brandvold
Carol Burtt
Susan Cammock
Rune Carlson
Howard and Leah Cloud
Lee Congdon
Randy and Milton Crewse
Hal and Shirley Driggs
Debbie and Steve Ehlers
Judy Ellickson and Melissa Crider Andrea
Peter and Janet Fagan
Pam Fazzini
DeMelody Feiner
Linda Ferry
Dan Garland
Cathy Gazda
Elaine Gunderson
Jim and Lois Graif
Barb and Jim Haggerty
Tom and Jennifer Haraden
sid Haskin and Michael Merchant
Steve and Kim Irwin
Bud and Bobbie Jaeger
Mary and John Jorski
Earl and Aloma Kern
Bill and Pam Klauser
Helon Knoll and Bob Cleland
Elizabeth Ann Johnson-Anstine
Mac and Margaret Jefferson
Tom and Barbara Kunigonis
Konnie and John Laufersweiler
Carol and Ken Lawlor
Barbara Litrell
Karen Livesay
Ruthmary Lovitt
Paul and Mara Majane
Mac and Sue McGuinness
Marjorie Miller
Jack and Marilyn Morley
Heather Nelson
Linda Nicholas
Maya Dream, LLC
John and Parker
Jim and Pam Pease
Diane Phelps and Chuck Budden
Lew and Darlene Reilly
Brigette Rensel
Brenda Reynolds
Rick Rosenzweig
Jill Sands
Ann Sakowicz
Bob and Nackey Scagliotti
Karen Schlozman
Harry and Lelia Schoenberg
Karen Schumann Witte
Ray and Debbie Schwartz
Carol Sharp
Andy Smoak and Mary Barry
Dale and Rosemary Stellick
Karen and Ernie Strauch
Sharon Thaler
Lorie Thomas
Leroy and Sammy Townsend
Laura Van House
Kim and James Wachter
Shelley and Ralph Woellmer
Serge and Kathy Wright
Jay and Sherry Young
Jean Zimmer

The Tewa Holiday Project ends its day with a dinner at La Posada. By the time we get there we are tired but totally inspired by the events of the day. It is always a time to reflect on the days events, the drive to First Mesa, the delivery,out to lunch at a host family, the overwhelming gratitude and the sense of community shared between two cultures, yet one people coming together, helping each other to move through this time we call a life. It never ceases to provide me shear joy when I look back on the pictures taken at these dinners. The faces show a sense of peace and love. They are happy faces of people that have a sense of accomplishment and contentment after a day that will leave them with a lifetime of memories like no other they will have. Making the trip to First Mesa is a gift to our souls, that as a race and a culture is lacking in most of our lives. A gift to be cherished.

I want to thank Brigette Rensel,DeMelody Feiner, Laura Van House, Mac and Sue McGiunness, John parker, Steve Irwin and my wife Milton Crewse for providing me with this year’s pictures. To see all of the 2011 Tewa Holiday Project pictures


People get tired of hearing me talk about the Tewa Holiday Project. I cannot say enough about how it has enriched my life emotionally and spiritually, words do not justice. So I like to let you hear it directly from those that make the trip to First Mesa.

Here is what they have to say:

Tewa Holiday Project 2011 #6
How can I express again the heartfelt quality of this amazing experience that is so giving and loving a thing to share with so many people. This year there were 70 people who made the trip to Hopi. As we looked back to see the 25 cars following us at 7:45 am Saturday morning my son Keith was so excited and had a big grin on his face. To be a part of this group is a life changing experience.

The twenty five cars heading up to the Hopi Reservation is quite a sight. When you have been to Hopi as many times as I have, you come to realize the importance of this caravan of generous people from Sedona (and a few other places) who have their vehicles filled with food and household supplies for the Tewa community seniors on the Hopi Reservation.

This year there were 70 people traveling the three hours to the Tewa Community Center on the reservation. About 30 of the participants were making their first trip. Each year it brings tears to my eyes to be a witness to the giving and kindness of this wonderful  grass roots group of people. Everyone pitches in to help sort, pack and transport the gifts. It is hard to explain the feelings that pull at your heart strings during this adventure. First, there is the amazement of all the people involved  but some of the more touching moments are one on one experiences with the Tewa people.

The joy and energy created are seen in everyone’s  faces at the dinner in the Turquoise Room Restaurant at La Posada Hotel in Winslow, AZ.  Once experienced, this is a trip of giving that everyone wants to repeat the following year.  Having started this project six years ago, Randy Crewse, Peter and Janet Fagan and I so appreciate all the people who attend, contribute clothing and monetary donations to make this a successful undertaking each year. Do join us  next year on December 15, 2012.
Laura Van house

Gavin, our 8 year old grandson, asked Erin, our youngest daughter, if they could go to Hopi this year.  Gavin wanted to see “real Indians.”  He knew that Emily, our middle daughter, and her kids, Justin and Sydney, had been part of the Tewa Project last year.  There is no way to say “No” to such a request.  Both Hayden and Gavin helped us load goods into three Tewa Elders’ vehicles and we had a delicious lunch with Sadie and Alberta.  The fry bread and yeast rolls were huge hits with the boys … and us too. Love for the Tewa people grows every year and it was clear that it went both ways this year more than ever.  We thank Randy and Laura for this meaningful experience. Mac & Sue McGuinness

I had a great time and put a Tewa grandmother on my wish list for Christmas.  It was a wonderful experience and it filled a void on my charity I did back in California.  I had adopted a low income school near where I used to work and I and fellow employees provided them with a Christmas.  Since I am no longer involved in that, this was a wonderful opportunity for me to get involved again.  The warmth of the Tewa people will for sure bring me back again.  There is nothing more satisfying then helping people at this time of year!    Jayne Feiner

We would like to thank you and Milton for giving us the opportunity to be involved in the Tewa Holiday Project. You are both to be commended for beginning such a worth-while venture. It was an outstanding experience and it really brought home the meaning of Christmas and how much better it is to give rather than receive. It got pretty emotional when we were helping the elders to their vehicles. Some of them were crying, which brought us to tears as well, and all of them were extremely grateful for what we were doing. It put us on top of the world. Sandy, Carol and I could not stop talking about how wonderful a day it had been.  We were also very fortunate to have the honour of having lunch with Tonita Hamilton Nampeyo. Her and her grand-children were very kind and prepared an excellent lunch for eleven of us. She entertained us with stories of her life and those of her family. We were fortunate to be able to purchase a small pot that she had just removed from the kiln – it was still warm. It was a wonderful experience and we hope that next year when we return to the reservation that we will have an opportunity to meet with “Toni” again. We have become great proponents of the Tewa Holiday Project and have already spread the word to friends. We are looking forward to including many of them in next year’s project.  John and Sandy Parker

First, thank you so much for putting together with Laura this very special fundraising program. Since it was my first time to the Mesas, I have to say that the whole experience was amazing. I felt that there was a unity in the group of volunteers and a serenity in the work done from putting together the bags of apples and oranges to just trying to be as efficient as possible in helping the Elders carrying their food to their cars. I could feel the giving spirit in everyone and also the appreciation in the Tewa families. I thought it was very nice of them to invite us for lunch and could see that they went their ways to please us as well and give back.  Brigitte and Jim Rensel

Randy, to me the best part of the trip was going to the host family’s home for lunch. We went to Toni’s house and she shared with us a thumbnail sketch of her personal history. Her degree in education from NAU, her husband, her son, her Mother and Grandmother. How she came to make pottery, how she is the head of her clan. She was gracious and welcoming to all of us. And, we were, I think 13, for lunch. I’m looking forward to next year.    Jean Tierney

Randy, we really enjoyed our first Tewa experience.  It was very rewarding.  I liked the way we drove down the street and saw people standing outside their houses waving at us coming into town.  They all seemed to appreciate what we did for them so much.  You’ve come up with a good selection of food and products that they need and in an organized way.    It was very interesting seeing their home, trying their native food, and getting a chance to talk to them a bit about their lives at Tewa.  You did a great job, Randy!  We look forward to next year!  Debbie and Ray Schwartz

Participating in the Tewa Holiday Project was the highlight of this Holiday Season for us!  It was an incredible experience and an honor indeed to meet the Tewa people and be invited into their homes. The joy and appreciation we felt in gifting the Elders (and indeed the entire tribe) was matched by the same expressions on their faces.  We had a wonderful lunch at Ginger’s home, and she, along with Earnestine (sp?) and two Elders, treated us with stories of Tewa history and tales of growing up on the reservation.  There were 12 of us at the table and we laughed and laughed together as we shared reflections on our shared and diverse lives.  Thanks for all the work that you, Milton, and others did in organizing everything – we wouldn’t have missed it for the world and very much look forward to participating again next year. Melissa Andrea and Judy Ellickson

I had a great time! This having been my first time, though it seemed chaotic at times, I found the packing of boxes, the unloading of cars, distribution of food and clothing went very well and quickly! It was impressive how much is done, organized and given. I probably wouldn’t suggest changing a thing. The team work from our side was beautiful and working alongside the Tewa was great.  Our little group had a great time at lunch. The food was great, the stories informative and our questions all answered. I would have liked to have had more time to see the villages, which would mean leaving and arriving earlier. Our host family was very grateful to be given the food and goods and were thankful that we step up and help their elderly. What you have created is amazing! The people you have drawn to you are lovely and diverse. I thank you for your effort and energy and for a great time. Jody Florman

Hi Randy.. My Tewa experience was very humbling.. it is a shame that so many people have to do with so little.. I am on board for future trips.. I will start collecting things now and storing them to bring up next year..Thanks again for all that you do… this was a life changing experience for me.. Lynda Tomlinson