We recently returned from a trip that took us through the old west. We went through Oakley KS(named after Annie Oakley),and through Durango, CO. We stopped on the four corners site (which is part of the Navajo Nation), and the reservation. We also went through Sedona, Santa Fe, and Wichita.
There are so many tales of the old west in these regions. Train robberies, gold and silver mines, bordellos, ghost towns, gunfights. There are much older stories to be heard here, and we had the privilege of hearing a few, most notably the Long Walk.
The Navajo had a long return to their land where many died, much like the more famous(or infamous), Cherokee Trail of Tears. The story was told to us by a man named Joseph (the Navajo will never tell you their "war name", it is only to be used in ceremony). He showed us the Navajo Nation flag and told us about the Navajo losing their land and regaining it. He told of the Long Walk, and the sacred mountains.
I knew much of the story from living in the Gallup area, but learned more details and was told the mountain names in Navajo (and don't ask me to repeat them). The one name is so difficult to pronounce that even the Navajo have a nick name for it. They call it DZ, and the words translate to Turquoise Mountain. Others call it Mount Taylor. I lived in the shadow of Mount Taylor, and it is a beautiful place.
The Navajo are always wonderful to talk to . They are so helpful , and teach with a promise of nothing in return, the true Native American way. I then learned about arrows and their uses (besides killing), and about juniper seeds and their powers.
It was good to hear the Navajo language again, and I even found the local radio station so Matt could hear it before we even left Colorado for Navajo land. It is so funny to hear Navajo words, interspersed with words like "Coca Cola".
There was so much to learn, it was wonderful to be back in that area of the world, a place where people are so up front and genuine. The Navajo speak plainly, there is no dressing up of things. No hugging and "I love yous" that never come from the heart. Just honest genuine plain speaking. Joseph didn't worry about telling me the horrible things the whites did to his people, and I wasn't upset or insulted. I was interested and told him that I am glad that the story had a happy ending. A happy ending is important to all of us, and even more so the Navajo. Things always need to be brought back into balance, into beauty.
...and that was only a small part of the stories we heard, the information we learned, and the things we saw.
I thank Joseph and all the other Native Americans (who use the term "Indians" in that part of the world by the way), for all their kindness, friendliness, help, and sharing...also for all the beautiful things that they create (some of which came home with me!).
What a wonderful trip it was, and what a wonderful time with such purely wonderful souls!
Thank you western US, and the Navajo, Pueblo, and Hopi folks we talked to along the way! Thank you Navajo Nation for allowing us to traverse your land, and to stop and talk for a while.
Walk in beauty!
(C)2011 Triple Moon Goddess Gina, may not be used, copied or reproduced without prior written permission.