Navajo Nation, Kyrgyz Republic Pursue Cultural Exchange at Embassy Meeting

Navajo Nation Kyrgyz meeting
L-R: Director Justin Ahasteen; Speaker Crystalyne Curley; and Ambassador Baktybek Amanbaev.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a significant step toward cultural collaboration, Speaker Crystalyne Curley of the Navajo Nation Council, and Ambassador Baktybek Amanbaev of the Kyrgyz Republic to the United States and Canada, met at the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic to discuss avenues for strengthening cultural relations and mutual understanding between the Kyrgyz Republic and the Navajo Nation. Also joining the discussion was the Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office, Justin Ahasteen.

The meeting was held at the invitation of Ambassador Amanbaev, who is interested in pursuing a cultural exchange to explore similarities between the Navajo people and the Kyrgyz. Though the two nations seem distant and foreign at a first glance, a shared history of colonization, economic and geographic similarities, and cultural traditions such as weaving suggest there may be more in common. The Ambassador recommended an initial cultural exchange to be organized in the coming months, with potential for the establishment of permanent exchanges, including sister city agreements, if all goes well.

“I’m grateful to Ambassador Amanbaev for welcoming the Navajo Nation to their embassy to discuss ways of enriching our knowledge and understanding of their culture,” said Speaker Curley. “Any opportunity for people to learn more about other cultures increases our appreciation for diversity and humanity. We look forward to continuing our dialogue and hopefully to welcome the Ambassador to the Navajo Nation at some point.”

Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren was unable to attend the meeting but sent his regards, saying, “While I regret not being able to join today’s historic dialogue in person, I am proud that the Navajo Nation was represented by our esteemed Speaker Crystalyne Curley. The Navajo and Kyrgyz peoples have beautiful cultures, rich in history and tradition, and much to teach one another. This meeting marks the beginning of what I hope will be a long-lasting friendship between our two nations.”

As a symbol of goodwill and friendship, Ambassador Amanbaev presented Speaker Curley with a traditional Kyrgyz wall tapestry and a jar of Kyrgyz honey. The gifts reflect the cultural heritage and culinary flavors of Kyrgyzstan, showcasing the country’s traditions and hospitality.

In return, the Executive Director of the Navajo Nation Washington Office presented Ambassador Amanbaev with a turquoise necklace, a symbol of Navajo culture and spirituality.

Ambassador Amanbaev and Speaker Curley both expressed their enthusiasm for future exchanges and collaborative initiatives aimed at deepening cultural and economic ties and enhancing mutual understanding. They emphasized the importance of promoting cross-cultural dialogue and fostering meaningful connections between their communities. Details of the next steps in the cultural exchange will be worked out in coming weeks.