We are the children, descendants of Navajo shepherds who grew up on the northeast rim of the Grand Canyon. To survive, we were physically stronger than the dark granite rock. We survived dust storms, snowstorms, hail, rain and heat.
About the only force we could not escape were government policies. They include the Navajo-Hopi land dispute and assimilation. The latter caused many of us to attend federally operated boarding schools during the 1940s through the 1980s.
Our jobs and opportunities took us away from our home but we never left the land we knew, not as Grand Canyon East, but as Bidaa, the Edge, or Tse Taa, among the fields of sagebrush.
We never moved to far away from the land. We continue to return to the land to restore our mind and soul.
Many of us belong to the earth-based faith. We journey to Bidaa, where we take our fine yellow corn pollen, sprinkle into the deep chasm of the rim that falls off into multi-tiered shadows. We pray to the Colorado River, the Little Colorado River, we know as a holy deities and ask for blessings.
Here is audio of what Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said to the people when he visited Grand Canyon East June 4, 2011. He spoke in Navajo about standing with the people who do not want development at the Confluence.
Read the English translation:
“And then the work (economic development) to be moved here where The Two Waters Meet (Confluence), this will not happen. I will support you on this and stand with you with a ‘No’.
And, then, I don’t know what you think – maybe you want development. I will listen for this, as well. If it is ‘no,’ then it will be ‘no.’ What else is to be said? That is the way it is and I want to tell you this: This will be it and I will stand behind you.”
Click the play button on the link below to hear what he said in our native language:
The Navajo tradition of sheepherding, once a dawn-to-dusk operation practiced by most families in the tribe, is in decline. Henry Lane, 98, is among the last to herd sheep in the traditional Navajo way.
Henry Lane steers his battered Silverado truck along a rocky path on the western edge of the Navajo Reservation.
He is searching for some wayward animals that have wandered from his flock of 150 sheep, goats and cattle.
The 98-year-old has spent the better part of two hot days in July in his pickup, rolling over rock, dead greasewood and bone-jarring gullies in his quest to find the lost sheep. Lane’s small frame is jostled inside the dusty cab. He clutches the steering wheel with still-powerful hands. Continue reading →
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 13, 2012
Tyrone Tsosie: 480- 577-0623
Francis Martin: 928-814-1177
A coalition of landholders and grazing permit owners on the western Navajo Nation are opposing an effort by the Navajo Nation to use a trio of individuals who gained favor with Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly to develop a tourism-based economy near the East Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Shelly signed a memorandum of understanding with Fulcrum Group, LLC to explore the feasibility of building a tram from the rim to the Colorado River, an airport and other tourism amenities. Continue reading →
The Confluence refers to the point where the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River meet in northern Arizona.
This point is about 13 miles north of the easternmost observation point on the South Rim, known as Hopi Point. Off Highway 89, it is a slow, rugged 2-hour drive over rock-strewn dirt roads. Along the route are numerous hogans made of rock by Navajos in the early 1800s, as well as a progression of traditional hogans built throughout the 20th century, including during the time of The Bennett Freeze. Below is an interactive map to explore the area. Continue reading →