March 4, 2020
Las Vegas, N.M. – Kansas Begaye, an internationally known Navajo recording artist and inspirational speaker, is the keynote speaker for the New Mexico Highlands University International Women’s Day Celebration March 8.
The free public celebration will be from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Margaret Kennedy Alumni Hall at 905 University Ave. The celebration includes a potluck of diverse homemade foods prepared by Highlands University students and the community.
“Kansas Begaye is part of an organization called the Changing Woman Initiative in Santa Fe, which focuses on Indigenous midwifery services,” said Erika Derkas, Highlands sociology professor and director of the Gender and Women’s Studies program. “We’re very fortunate that Kansas Begaye is coming to share her knowledge and celebrate this historic day.”
Begaye is of the Diné Nation (Navajo Nation) and was born in Waterflow, New Mexico. She has performed worldwide for 15 years as a singer and traditional Navajo flute player. Begaye has recorded albums such as “Native Rose” and “Sacred Reflections of Time.”
Begaye also speaks to youth and Indigenous communities about cultural preservation, language revitalization, women empowerment and anti-bullying.
Begaye was crowned Miss Indian World at the Gathering of Nations in 2013.
The International Women’s Day Celebration at Highlands also includes Highlands students and faculty singing, dancing and reading original poetry. A step dancing group from the University of New Mexico’s Nu Tau Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta sorority will also perform.
“The program celebrates the achievements of women globally and honors their contributions to the advancement of women worldwide,” Derkas said.
Sponsors for the International Women’s Day celebration include the Highlands University Gender and Women’s Studies program and Casa de Cultura.
Derkas said this is the 10th Annual Women’s Day Celebration at Highlands. It is one of thousands of events being held worldwide to mark International Women’s Day March 8.