Roberta Begaye

January, 2021

“I am the Bitterwater clan, Tódích’íi’nii.
I am born for the Zuni-Edgewater clan, Naasht’ézhi Tábaahá.
Maternal grandparents : Towering House clans, Kiyaa’áanii.
Paternal grandparents : Bitterwater clans, Tódích’íi’nii.”

Roberta Begaye hails from the Navajo Nation, born in Fort Defiance, Arizona and raised in Kayenta, Arizona; attended Monument Valley High School and transferred to and graduated from Ganado High School, both schools in the Navajo Nation. She is descendant of medicine people and traditional rug weavers, both maternal and paternal grand and great-grandparents.

After high school. Roberta declined a stint in the Marine Corp and chose to care for her grandmother, Marie Y. John, a medicine women, herbalist, and traditional Navajo rug weaver in the Wide Ruins style.

“My grandmother Marie, spoke only Navajo (Diné bizaad), raised churro sheep, grew organic heirloom corn, and lived the traditional ways. She was hard working; strong, yet gentle; dedicated to her family and her traditions. She was everything to me! Since her passing in 2015, portions of her traditional rug designs find their way into my paintings. In this way I honor her. She continues to weave, as I continue to paint. I weave paintings, or perhaps she was painting weavings…”

With a desire to be of service and a calling for EMS / Rescue work, Roberta completed EMS training.

In 2001, she received an Associates Liberal Arts degree and since 2002, Roberta has been employed as a Firefighter with Kirtland Air Force Base Fire Department, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Read more about Roberta’s work.