July 3, 2007
“G.O.N. sponsors young Navajo
family to the Magic Kingdom"
I had recently received the honor to become apart of the Gathering of
Nations Web/Media Team. For years I have always dreamed of working or
some how participating in the Gathering of Nations behind the scenes or
in the pow wow arena as head dancer. Most pow wow people have that dream
to be honored in such a way you get recognized for doing something you
love to share and love to do. This dream was only the start at the
Gathering of Nations.
morning of May 2nd I got a very special prize. I had received this email
from the Mathews' and the Gathering of Nations: "Everyone here is
really happy to have you on board as part of our tech. media team.....
Lita has recommended to me that you are the most current recipient of an
act of kindness. Lita and the Gathering of Nations wants to send you and
you kids to Disney Land, in California. The dates of the trip will be
June 4- 8. You will leave Albuquerque, via Amtrak on the afternoon of
June 4. You arrive in LA on the morning of June 5th. From there you go
directly to Disney Land and the Magic Kingdom. You will stay in a Disney
Hotel and experience the fun and the Magic for the next 2 days. You
return to Albuquerque begins on the evening of June 7th, and arriving in
Albuquerque on June 8. Lita wants you and your kids to experience this
time and place while they are at the most impressionable ages. So now
you must make the arrangements to make the trip..."
At the point where I read Disneyland I started to
tear up and cried. My co-worker came over to pinch me and calm me down
and immediately I asked my boss for time off. Being a single mother of 4
children is very hard financially and mentally. I have never have a day
off...or find time for myself. I have to keep pushing every hour and
pull long nights. I have to take on extra jobs like website work,
graphics, sewing pow wow regalia, doing beadwork, working a full time
job and going for my Bachelor's Degree in Information Security Systems.
To give my kids this opportunity....something that would take me years
to afford...this was one of my big dreams. We had finally been
Most pow wow people
that know me personally have seen me with bad luck for the past years
and to be blessed in such a way this year still brings a tear to my eye.
Things like this don't happen to me!!! We recently returned from
Disneyland and my mind is still there. When we walked into our hotel at
the Marriott Anaheim which was provided by the Gathering of
Nations....talk about breath taking...we were treated like royalty. I
was amazed with the service we got and the amazing room with view. Two
rez women and native kids in a 4 star hotel...vary rare but we felt we
were on cloud 9.
continued for me, my 4 children: Alliana, Ephraim,Jr., Kee and Nizhoni
and another surprise my mother Lena Peters was invited to go with us.
Walking through those gates and seeing something all generations had
been dreaming of was overwhelming....the kids eyes lit like nothing I
had ever seen. One smile from ear to ear...My mother and myself had no
worries...it was definitely a dream vacation. Disneyland and the
California Adventure theme park were amazing, my mother and myself rode
the rides with the kids and met characters. Mickey, Minnie, The fairy
godmother, tiger and my personal favorite Alice from Alice in
Both theme parks we enjoyed....we
were so into Disneyland we stayed an extra two days. My mother's one
wish was to one day see the ocean before she dies. I was able to take my
mom to the ocean during our stay in California. Walking onto that beach
with my kids, myself and my mom is a moment in my life I will never
forget. The kids had never seen the ocean so it was another dream come
true. My mother and I have never ever taken a vacation...it was nice to
get away. We spent 3 days in both theme parks and topped off the day
with parades, rides and the "Remember...dreams come true" fireworks
show. I cried silently during this amazing display of fireworks I had
not seen. I never knew fireworks take many different shapes, best I'd
This was always a
dream for all of us...it's funny because the week before the news my
kids saw a Disneyland commercial and asked when I could take them. There
are so many stories I have to tell from this trip and so many photos
that I wish I could share but to make a long story short...WE THANK THE
MATHEWS FAMILY, CLYDE AND SCOTT (My Gathering of Nations Web Mentors)
AND THE GATHERING OF NATIONS. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!
After all the hardship, the tears and the wonder of
how I would get my kids to Disneyland....how a little lonely person like
myself could take the dreams of my loved ones and see it happen.....It's
something I will never ever forget nor explain. I still tear up when I
think about the trip....I'm crying right now but the memories I will
always cherish. I again want to thank everyone who made my babies
dreams, my mothers and my dreams come true. Remember everyone keep your
head up and keep dreaming...like they say DREAMS DO COME TRUE!
WHY THIS LITTLE GON RANDOM
ACT OF KINDNESS FOR Le Andra AND HER YOUNG FAMILY?
Every once in awhile someone will cross my path and I take the time to
really see beyond the exterior of a person. Throughout my academic
career I had to learn how to observe people and to see beyond the
surface or the veil of a person. Le Andra, has been on my radar for two
maybe three years now.
Actually Le Andra has been directly involved with the
Gathering of Nations website and web-master (Clyde Hubbard) for about
two years. Derek made the initial contact with Le Andra who just so
happens to be a jingle dress dancer and is the web master of her own web
www.NewMexicoPowwows.com. As the Gathering of Nations website
increases in size and popularity, the amount of work to keep it going
does too. Derek immediately identified Le Andra as the person who could
assist with the Gathering Of Nations website. While at the same time
Derek had a vision of creating his own online photo gallery where he
could display his photography. Once again Le Andra was the perfect
person to assist in the development of this new photo project,
Star Horse Photos.
Le Andra is a strong young native woman who, a single
mother, is raising her children, working a full time job in the
technical industry, and is a fulltime college student as well. She keeps
up with the responsibilities of four young children; ages 3-8. Le Andra
keeps all this together! So this Random Act of Kindness from the
Gathering of Nations (me / Dr. Lita) towards this little family is a
gift of magic to open up the possibilities and to inspire more happiness
in the future of those children and their mother.
I admire her energy and determination.
With many thanks that we can do things like this for someone,
Dr. Lita Mathews, Ph.D.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The
Gathering of Nations for the past 24 years has made opportunity for
native people to enjoy and explore worlds beyond the rez and the powwow
arena. The Gathering of Nations has sent kids and families to Disney
Land and Disney world, Hawaii, to Michael Jordan basketball camps, sent
handicap kids on cruise ship vacations. Offers college scholarships at UNM, and more! It is what the Gathering is all about. With out major
sponsorships or federal funding, the Gathering of Nations makes all this
and more possible with the support of the people.
NORTH AMERICA’S BIGGEST POWWOW!