Up to 50 people attended the Save the Confluence Community Cookout & Gathering on Saturday, Sept. 23, on the western Navajo Nation.
Four Navajo Nation delegates, Grand Canyon Trust officials, and local residents, toured the area in southern Bodaway to highlight the need to preserve sacred sites, the fragile ecosystem and the threatened way of life for families still living on the land.
Visiting delegates were the following: Speaker of Navajo Nation Council Crystalyne Curley, who represents Tachee/Blue Gap, Many Farms, Nazlini, Tselani/Cottonwood and Low Mountain. Cherilyn Yazzie, who represents Dilcon, Indian Wells, Teesto, Whitecone and Greasewood Springs. Brenda Jesus represents Oaksprings and St. Michaels. Andy Nez represents Crystal, Fort Defiance, Red Lake and Sawmill.
Navajo Parks & Recreation staff from Cameron also helped pick up trash at Salt Trail, a popular spot for international hikers.
Save the Confluence and Flagstaff-based Grand Canyon Trust helped organize the cookout. Funding for the event came from an environmental justice grant that STC received in 2021.
Here are scenes from the event. (Tip: Select any image to launch a full-screen slideshow.)
Rain sprinkled over Salt Trail Saturday in southern Bodaway on Sept. 23, 2023.
Navajo Nation Council Delegate Andy Nez views the Little Colorado River from the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon.
Yucca grows natively near the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon.
Navajo Nation Council delegates pose with Save the Confluence member Earlene Reid (second from left) at the overlook of the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers. From left, they are Dr. Andy Nez, council Speaker Crystalyne Curley, Brenda Jesus and Cherilyn Yazzie.
Members of Grand Canyon Trust view the Colorado River from the East Rim of the Grand Canyon, on the Navajo Nation. Save the Confluence member Earlene Reid points to the canyon, while guiding the group.
Navajo Nation Speaker Crystalyne Curley thanks Save the Confluence families for inviting council delegates to view the Confluence.
The sun sets over a hogan built by the Wilson family in southern Bodaway.
A number of Save the Confluence families grill food for lunch Saturday in southern Bodaway.
Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation staff picked up trash at Salt Trail trail head Saturday in southern Bodaway.
Navajo Nation Speaker Crystalyne Curley walks with her daughter to an overlook from the East Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Rain brings life to the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon on Sept. 23, 2023.
Save the Confluence member Marie Peyketewa serves mutton stew during the gathering of families, Navajo Nation Council delegates and Grand Canyon Trust members on Sept. 23, 2023, in southern Bodaway.
The hike to Salt Trail is more well-defined today than decades ago. The trail is a favorite of non-tribal member hikers.