Our Affiliated Site: The Tonalea School in Tonalea, Arizona
Situated in northern Arizona, the remote community of Tonalea (a Navajo word meaning “Red Lake”) is surrounded by a stark and mysterious landscape, created by sandstone mesas that rise from the barren desert floor. It is here that the Tonalea School (a Navajo school) functions within the boundaries of a Hopi Indian reservation. The Hopis won a legal dispute with the Navajos over their right to the land, even though it lies within the huge Navajo Reservation.
Despite its rich cultural history, residents of the Reservation are desperately poor. There is virtually no employment here, and broken homes, alcoholism, and inadequate food are constant manifestations of poverty. For this reason, the Tonalea School serves as a beacon of hope to its surrounding community, providing children here with a quality education – the key to breaking the cycle of poverty so that students may rise above the difficult economic circumstances from which they come.