News Release – Hot Topic Partners with Diné College during Native American Heritage Month

Diné College Student Design Submissions for Hot Topic
Diné College Student Design Submissions for Hot Topic

Hot Topic Partners with Diné College during Native American Heritage Month


November 8, 2021

TSAILE, Ariz.— Hot Topic and Diné College have partnered during Native American Heritage month in their Tees That Tell Stories campaign.

Diné College Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design Students, Aiyana Gatewood, Edwina Redsteer, Karl Pinto and, Troy Tso’s tee designs were selected by Hot Topic to be sold during the month of November.

The Diné College Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program promotes Diné culture, creativity, and excellence in the creation of art. The program supports and promotes personal development in the visual, traditional, and literary arts. Imbedded in the program’s approach to teaching and learning is the Diné Educational Philosophy of thinking, planning, living and achieving, and evaluation and competency.

Matthew Bollinger, Diné College Fine Arts Professor implemented the Diné Educational Philosophy into the Hot Topic Tees That Tell Stories projects for his students. The following was Bollinger’s approach:

  • Thinking: In considering your project, the Nitsahakees aspect will be explored.
  • Planning: For the planning portion (Nahat’a), students will develop sketches relating to the idea.
  • Doing: After refining the idea or concept in your sketchbook, create a finalized project (Iina) using appropriate materials/tools/technology.
  • Reflecting Siihasin: Finished projects will be evaluated in a group critique.

“I am very proud of the level of professionalism, that my students exhibited to get the job done, exactly the way they envisioned,” said Professor Bollinger.

Aiyana Gatewood is a student from Fort Defiance, Arizona. Gatewood’s design was inspired by her grandmother’s stories about growing up on the reservation and finding beauty within oneself and in your culture. She utilized a photo of her great-great grandmother as reference in her design.

Edwina Redsteer, a student from Kayenta, AZ, created a design consisting of an elderly woman with a Navajo hair bun. “Within my design there are three words: Beauty, Balance and Harmony. I specifically chose these words because in Diné teachings there is this saying to “Walk in Beauty” and it has so much meaning to it. As for Balance and Harmony, again the Diné teaching for Diné people is to maintain Balance and Harmony on Mother Earth,” said Redsteer.

Karl Pinto, is a student from Ramah New Mexico. Pinto’s design includes a commanding, earth-times figure inspired by memorial statuses, tribally designed turtles to represent the World Turtle mythology, flowers, a medicine wheel, and two tomahawks representing warriorship. “Before I began my work, I put a lot of thought into this piece. I wanted to show something universal, something that represents “Indigenous”… The two tomahawks represents the battles we gone through in life. But we are still here, and still standing strong,” said Pinto.”

Troy Tso utilized a Navajo rug inspired designed and incorporated colors of the morning sky, a time for prayer, and soil to honor Mother Earth. He also included a Navajo Woman to depict strength and resilience as well as a Hogan where families traditionally gather for songs and prayers.

All proceeds from tees designed by Diné College students will go directly to the College in addition to a $50,000 grant from the Hot Topic Foundation for scholarships for future students. Visit to purchase a tee.

Diné College appreciates the partnership with the Hot Topic Foundation and their efforts to provide students with an opportunity to obtain a quality education from a tribal college.

Diné College is a four-year tribal college located on the Navajo reservation with six campuses and two microsites across Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and primarily serves Navajo students. The school offers 20 bachelor degrees, 16 associate degrees, and 6 certificate programs. The school is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The College, established in 1968, is the first tribal college and was formerly named Navajo Community College.


Chris Burnside,
Marketing & Communications Manager

Jazzmine D. Martinez, Marketing Assistant
Marketing & Communications

Dillon Nopah, Videographer

Patrick Begay,
Graphic Designer

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