A summer storm at the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon, on the Navajo Nation.

A summer storm at the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon, on the Navajo Nation.

The land out here is endless.

It looks like Mars to the newcomer – endless red and blue-green sagebrush. Dust everywhere.

Pillow Hill contains a sleeping monster, and the grave of one of our elders at the top of it.

William Longreed roams out here, looking for the last remaining goats belonging to his aunt.

Yet, everywhere you look are signs of life: The old stray Chevy-van that one of the in laws bought for $500 to chase his wife’s sheep around in. The sheep scatter when they see it. Wild horses that are descendants of Spanish invaders. Hogans from the 1970s sporting solar panels, despite The Bennett Freeze forbidding such amenities. Then, there are the marks of bulldozers fighting back the erosion of a scant 2 inches of annual rainfall — but when the rains do hit, they wipe out all roads. The Navajo Nation has done little, if nothing, to maintain those roads.

But,now, the Nation wants to spend millions to upgrade those same roads to bring thousands of tourists out here. Why?

Money, of course.

The only problem with that is this: There are no promises that even 1 cent will come back to the people who have been scraping a living off this land since the late 1700s.

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