I love to introduce to you a lady who loves creativity in her own life. In this post, Courtney, introduces herself and tells her story. Enjoy!
Yá’át’ééh shi Diné asdzáán.
Courtney Gambler yinishye. Tábąąhá doone’e nishli. Táchii’nii baa shishchiin. Naakai Dine’é dashicheii. Ta’neeszahnii da shinali’.
Hi, my name is Courtney Gambler from the Diné (Navajo) Nation! I was born and raised in Utah. I am the owner and designer of Shi Jei, a small Navajo-owned business located in the heart of Utah.
I started Shi Jei in 2016. I’ve always enjoyed creative doodling. As a beginning, I started filling a notebook full of ideas. My concept is to create t-shirts for Navajo women who want to feel empowered by the language and culture. My unique designs are created to allow people to wear it with Diné pride.
My wish is to share unique and beautiful designs from my perspective as a Native American woman from the Diné Nation. As the original inhabitants of this country, I offer exquisite handmade language design with careful thought and love.
Our Diné ancestors have sacrificed a lot for us to still be here. Our ancestors crafted a code using the Navajo language to help win WWII. This “unbreakable code” offer us pride in our heritage, language, culture, and tradition. As the great granddaughter of a Navajo Code Talker, I believe it’s important to display pride in our culture and showcase our language to the world.
I hope that my designs will spark questions and allow my customers the opportunity to educate others.
Powerful Diné women influence my life and art. Navajo women are truly the heart of the Navajo people. Shi Jei recognizes the value of a matriarchal society where Diné women are to be respected. I feel that our distinctive t-shirts are a way to portray this influence in a modern world. I want the world to know that we are strong and vibrant.
Shi Jei is here to express Diné beauty, resilience and strength of our culture.
I want my brand to continue growing so that I will be able to open my own store front. I want to expand of my company and educate Navajo children on how to accomplish their dreams by showing them an example of a Navajo-owned business.
My husband and I were married in a Navajo wedding ceremony. The key to a successful marriage include a long list of things. I pride myself on how many years that my husband and I have been together. We married young and we have learned a lot over the years. You have to start learning that your way isn’t always the right way and that there are two people in marriage. We communicate what is important to each of us and try to make sure that we don’t miss important dates when it comes to our family. I know that he will always be there for me when I need him. I have shortcomings but I know he will make up for my individual challenges. When we need guidance for life we pray together and ask for help.
There are so many proud moments that I have as a mother. It’s hard to choose one moment as my proudest. I have multiple children and each of them is different. Even though they each grow up in the same environment they each have very different personalities. I do believe that when I witness them stand up for values that we have tried to instill in them this is when my heart skips a beat because I know that what I am doing as their mother is resonating in their life.
How I want to be remembered
The one thing I want people to remember most about me is “how hardworking I am”. I am a Diné, a mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. I want people I love to know how hard I work for each of them and how much I love being a Diné woman.