âWithin Navajo culture, at least the way I see it and the way I was raised is that we are always moving forward,â Mitchell said. âWe move forward with three things: songs, prayers and stories. So everything we do in our culture relates to these three things.
âI grew up in this context all my life, I never knew anything outside of it. And I’m grateful for that, âMitchell said.
Raised by a family of storytellers, Mitchell felt his passion for storytelling rekindled in a mythology class while a student at South Mountain Community College, where Mitchell shared his favorite Navajo story from his childhood about the Warrior Twins.
For Mitchell, telling these stories in the original Navajo language is a spiritual experience that allows him to connect with the history of his ancestors and envision the future of Indigenous communities.
Helping Indigenous Students Obtain Scholarships
Storytelling has started to open up opportunities in the community, Mitchell said. In 2015, he was asked to lead South Mountain Community College’s Hoop of Learning Program, or HOOP, a bridging program aimed at helping Native American high school students secure scholarships and transition to college.
The name of the program was inspired by the Medicine Wheel, a concept held in Indigenous communities that emphasizes emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health.