DIRECTIONS: Read the following selections and answer the questions 1 - 8.
Fred Begay: The Hard Walk
1 Fred Begay was born on a reservation in the American West. Begay’s father and mother were Native American. They were from the Navajo tribe. They did not own a house, but traveled from place to place, sleeping in a tent or out in the open. Begay learned how to hunt, and his parents taught him how to tell time by looking at the sun. Begay and his family all spoke Navajo.
2 Begay was only nine when his mother took him to the river near where they lived. "We have no food," she said, "but if you follow that river fifty miles, you will find food and a place to stay." A few days later, he arrived at the Indian Affairs School. For two years, he did not see his parents. Years later, Begay would become the first Navajo to become a doctor of physics.
3 When Begay entered the Indian Affairs School, he felt as if he had entered a different world. It was his first meeting with white people. All the students had to wear uniforms. He could not speak his language, Navajo, but was taught English instead. He was not allowed to practice the ceremonies his parents had taught him. Begay even had to change his name!
4 The school taught students a trade. Begay learned farming and English. But Begay spoke English poorly. He could only read on a second-grade level. He wanted to learn more, but the Indian Affairs School offered very little. Begay’s big break came when he received a letter saying that there were scholarships available to Navajos who wanted to go to college. Begay jumped at the chance. In 1955, he entered the University of New Mexico. At first, the university did not want to accept him. The only way he could attend was to go to college during the day and finish high school at night. Begay was excited to be there, even though he had to work very hard to catch up with the other students. He discovered he liked science and pursued a degree in it. He received his first degree in 1961 and his second in 1963.
5 Begay worked for NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, during the 1960s. In 1971, he became a doctor of physics. He was the first Navajo to ever do so.
6 Since then, Begay has strived to improve education for children living on reservations. He has improved the math and science programs at all Navajo high schools. He has also helped direct a million-dollar math and science project at Arizona State University.
7 Begay has won many awards for the work he has done to help Navajo children excel in math and science. In 1994, he won the National Science Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award.