Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Navajos respond after basketball referee makes players take down traditional hairdo


FARMINGTON, NM — A traditional Navajo hair bun worn for generations - tsiiyeel - was deemed too dangerous to be worn during a basketball game in Flagstaff this week. Now, basketball players in the Four Corners are telling everyone why the tsiiyeel is more than just a hairdo.

"It is representing a school and a community, not just one person. It is representing everybody on the Navajo Nation," explained Wheylaya Becenti. The Navajo Preparatory School freshman wore her hair up, tied with black, turquoise and white yarn—a nod to the school’s colors. She wears her hair up in a traditional tsiiyeel on a regular basis -- on and off the basketball court.

"If I play with my hair down, it's all over and it gets in the way," Becenti said.


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