By Jaron Kee
My name is Jaron, I’m a member of the Navajo Nation and a fourth-year medical student at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. I was raised in Crystal, NM. Growing up in a traditionally centered family, we were taught the importance of kinship from a young age. At the heart of this discussion was an emphasis on our intricate clan system. As Navajo people, we inherit our mother’s clan. This highlights the role our mothers serve and also reaffirms our culture as a matrilineal society.
On the reservation, my family continues to farm and maintain the livestock we inherited from our grandparents. To this day, I continue to see first hand the extreme energy and time that my aunt’s and mother place into maintaining our family’s homestead.
A few years ago now, we lost our mother/aunt to domestic violence. Back home, she was our leader for many of the projects back on the ranch. With our grandparents being gone for quite some time now, she served as a grandparent, a mother, and a sister. This year, my family and I decided to run the CSVANW 5K in remembrance of her.
Unfortunately, domestic violence across Native Country is far too common. Partaking in this event and similar ones is an attempt to bring light to a topic that has historically been underdressed. As native people, we need to return to our cultural teachings and identity to better address the difficult reality of partner violence.