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Orson John III’s Three Principles Led Him From Navajo Nation to NASA #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth

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Orson John III is a Reliability engineer at NASA who credits three fundamental principles that his grandparents and eleders taught him for his success, Via NASA

What was it like growing up in the Navajo Nation?

I was born and raised in New Mexico, the best state in the union. My grandparents raised sheep and crops. Life on the reservation has its challenges: unemployment, poverty and living conditions.

In the midst of all that, I was very fortunate to be able to listen to the teachings of my elders and to see the importance of education. In the history of the Navajo people, after our 1868 treaty with the U.S. government that provided the Navajo reservation, one of our prominent leaders encouraged future generations to pursue education by telling us, “Education is the ladder.” To make it in a “white man’s world,” we needed to be educated. Education is the way to make a difference for your people in this world.

The Navajo Nation is one of the largest tribes in the country. The US government recognizes 568 Native American tribes each of which has its own language and culture. We all work to benefit our people, both within our tribe and for other tribes.

Learn more about Orson John III’s three principles



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