Dr. Karletta Chief is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. As an Extension Specialist, she works to bring relevant science to Native American communities in a culturally sensitive manner by providing hydrology expertise, transferring knowledge, assessing information needs, and developing applied science projects. In 2011, Dr. Chief was named AISES Most Promising Scientist or Scholar, 2013 Stanford University Distinguished Alumni Scholar award, and 2015 Native American 40 under 40.
The picture of my family is my daughter’s 1st Laugh Ceremony.
The Navajo celebrate a baby’s first laugh with a special family party, called a First Laugh (A’wee Chi’deedloh). The first time a Navajo baby laughs, the child expresses their personality. For a long time, babies don’t even recognize faces. Laughter is seen as a moment where the baby has its first true interaction that represents comprehension as a human being. Whoever is the first person to make the baby laugh is then responsible for the First Laugh called A’wee Chi’deedloh. This is a party that the new baby is technically “hosting” with the help of the adult that made them laugh. At the A’wee Chi’deedloh (the baby laughed) party, rock salt is given out to the guests. This part of the tradition dates back to when salt was a commodity that was hard to come by. It represents giving in hopes that the baby remains generous with their joy and happiness and share it with others in their lifetime.
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