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Saturday, October 31, 2009

bragging on my nephew

I've been meaning to post these pictures for several days but kept getting involved with other things and forgetting them. The very distinguished man in the tuxedo is a self described "plain ole Navajo man from sagebrush country," my nephew, Irving Nelson. The second picture is his 'everyday self."

On October 7th, he received one of the first two Prism Awards ever presented from the Smithsonian National Museum of American Indian! "The NMAI Prism Award is given to a person who labors tirelessly and lagely anonymously in a tribal community to improve the lives of community members in some way. ...the Prism Award reminds us that it is in the communities throughout Indian country where the most important work is done. Prism Awards recipients forge strong, healthy , civic-minded communities. "

The Smithsonian provided transportation and lodging for him and his son, Christopher, to and from Washington DC. He attended a Gala Dinner on the sixth and the Award was presented in special ceremonies on the seventh. The young man on the right is Christopeher, Irving's son. I don't remember the name of the man in the center. Some dignitary I believe.
Irving has been the director of the Navajo Nation Library System for 32 years. He has worked tirelessly during that time to improve the extent of library branches and the quality of the library collection. He has also implemented the increased number of volumes to exceed 73,000 books! Many of these have been donated by organizations and government agencies that Irving has lobbied personally.

In addition to the Prism Award Irving received a lifetime achievement award at the Tribal Archives, Libraries and Museums Conference that took place at Portland, Oregon, on October 17th.
I'm so proud of him. But I look at the distinguished man and still see the ornery ten year old that was in my Sunday School class on the mission. This is one of those times when I see the truth of the verse, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." I know Irving has had ups and downs in his life but I trust that some of the lessons we did in Sunday School had an impact on the man he is today. When he wrote to tell me of his award, his first sentence was: "Praise to my almighty God!!! He has blessed me with my job that I have had for 32 years and has blessed our main and branch libraries with thousands and thousands of free books from donors across the United States."
And I do praise Him for that.


  1. Congrats to your nephew!!
    What I great experience.
    And the perfect role mode for Christopher.

  2. "What A great experience", I meant.