Dr. Alta Begay-Piechowski, Diné, lives in Utah and Arizona. She grew up in a traditional home where Navajo culture and language were taught. Her extended family members are rooted in Navajo traditional healing practices and lifeways. She has a BA in Human Services in Psychology, a MA in Counseling, with endorsement in School Psychology. Her family home in Jeddito Island was part of the Hopi-Navajo disputed lands. She and her immediate family subsequently built a relocation home in Blanding, Utah. She worked for Native Americans for Community Action, Inc., counseling other individuals who were relocated to the Flagstaff area. She was a co-founder of Diné be’ iiná, Inc., a nonprofit Navajo organization preserving the lifeways and culture based on the Navajo-Churro sheep. She has been recording healing songs of Navajo practitioners.
Alta is part of the first year project. Her assistant is her husband, Terrell Piechowski, who is also in the healing profession. She is heading the Lore of the Land team investigating the preservation of the tape library of Navajo aural history recorded in the early 1960s. She will be collecting aural histories from traditional Navajo and non-Navajo spiritual healers who serve the Navajo population. She plans to document the viewpoints of Navajo teachers and administrators about their roles in creating an educational system that fits the cultural needs of the Navajo people. These interests in healing and education complement her work in counseling and school leadership.