Navajo royalty work as waitresses for a good cause
Navajo royalty work as waitresses for a good cause
By Karen Francis
WINDOW ROCK Customers at the Diné Restaurant were treated like royalty
In reality, they were waited on by royalty as Miss Navajo Nation 2007-2008,
Jonathea Tso, and other royalty from throughout the region, greeted and
waited on customers all for a good cause
The Tip-A-Royalty day at the restaurant was to raise money for a very
special cause the Navajo Nation Special Olympics. Throughout the day
royalty from all over came to help out the nations special education
It was a great opportunity for tourists visiting the area to meet Miss
Navajo, princesses, and one brave from around the Navajo Nation, especially
for one Gallup couple who brought their friend visiting from Virginia .
We came here to eat not knowing this was going on, Stephen A. Shepp from
They want to help. I had five come at once, he said.
Patrons were generous many leaving $10 to $20 tips for the extra special
Oh boy, this is successful! coach for St. Michaels Special Education
School Larry Curtis said as he helped to wait tables.
Miss Northern Navajo Alyssa Harrison was one of the royalty waiting tables
for the cause. She noted that the royalty draws a lot of crowds.
People want to see what is going on, she said.
Harrison was using humor to get the customers to cough up extra money.
I tell people Youre sitting at the $30 tip table. When I come back I
see $20, she said.
Their duties included greeting customers, taking and delivering orders and
cleaning tables. Regular wait staff from the restaurant helped them get
through the day.
We just walk them here, seat them, give them drinks, bus tables, Miss
Window Rock High School Latasha Tom said. So I think Im hired, she said
Tom, a senior at the high school, was at the restaurant all day beginning
at 8:30 a.m., as were many other of the royalty. When they got tired, there
was inspiration like Crystal from St. Michaels Special Education School to
keep them going.
Crystal, 13, was at the restaurant with a teaching device specific for
Navajo children. Pressing two buttons, she made it say Hello Miss Navajo.
Shes one of the students were trying to assist with, Jovita Curtis, a
teacher at St. Michaels Special Education School, said.
Crystal is one of 54 athletes at the school who participates in the Special
Olympics program, particularly the softball throw and the relay race.
The Special Olympics is a year round program that gives challenged children
the opportunity to participate in sports and physical activities including
bowling, basketball, aquatics, cycling, gymnastics, track and field, golf
Its important because we would like our handicapped kids to also have the
same experience other kids have, Coach Curtis said.
Curtis agreed saying For a lot of children with disabilities, theres not
much they can participate in and they enjoy being a part of activities and
games just as regular students.
She said that its an event that the pupils look forward to each year.
They want to be out there practicing and being a participant, she added.
Curtis said that the coaches from around the Navajo Nation meet regularly
and when they found out they were facing a funding shortage this year, they
decided to do something about it. Noting that other Special Olympics
programs enlist the aid of law enforcement for Tip-A-Cop activities in
Phoenix , the group decided that type of fund raiser might work for them.
Since former Miss Navajo Nation Jocelyn Billy was heavily involved in the
Special Olympics this past year and the current Miss Navajo continued her
support, the decision was made to hold the first ever Tip-A-Royalty day at
During Miss Navajos leadership meeting last month for royalty around the
Navajo Nation, the project was announced and they began planning for the
day, which included getting food handlers permits.
Im just really grateful because these girls are donating their time, Tso
said. She added that they were getting a lot of good tips and that the
table space fees from the bazaar also held at the restaurant would be going
to the Special Olympics program as well.
I think its something different. Its nice to see royalties doing
something like this, Miss Diné College Danielle Goldtooth said. Its been
a lot of fun.
Goldtooth said that one of her cousins is in special education programs and
described her as one of her heroes.
Theyre really special people. Their disability gives them a different way
of seeing things, she said.
She added that what she has learned from her cousin is, No matter what the
day brings you, you can be happy.
Though she hasnt been able to attend any Special Olympics events yet, she
said she cant wait to see one. Goldtooth is a sophomore at the Shiprock
campus majoring in biology.
For Miss Tseyi Shannon Gorman, a junior at Chinle High School , it was an
opportunity to do something she always wanted to do.
Its pretty awesome. I always wanted to be a waitress, she said smiling.
The royalty were routinely rounded up as customers repeatedly requested
photos before leaving. The princesses smiled through it all.
I think when they come in, theyre not expecting to see us, Gorman said.
She laughed adding that people were asking if they did this sort of thing
all the time.
While this fundraising event is the first one of its kind on the Navajo
Nation, plans are underway by the Central Agency royalty to hold a similar
fundraiser in Chinle.
Miss Central Navajo Dorothea Paul is working with other royalty from the
Central Agency to organize that event in Chinle for a yet to be determined
Paul was helping out at the event in support of special education students
because she has family members who are part of such programs.
Its about time we noticed them, she said.
Curtis said that there are approximately 500 athletes from across the
Navajo Nation who participate in the Special Olympics.