Here we are just outside of Flagstaff at the EcoRanch, directed by one Jeff Meilander. The San Francisco peaks nearby have been our morning companions, being first touched by a warm light before we camp-dwellers can see the sun itself come up over the horizon. The past five days of orientation have already been rich with information and experience, both of the Native culture and our own tribal culture that is gathering itself. Three days ago, we spent time with a non-Native man who spoke of his time growing up in Ganado, a place that once had a very strong mission presence. Two days ago we were blessed to speak with a local Dine (“Di-nay”, which is what the Navajo call himself) media activist whose thoroughly introduced to us the struggle and controversy over “the Peaks Issue”, where the San Francisco peaks, a sacred site to many Native populations of the southwest, are being sprayed with fake snow made from reclaimed sewage water by the Snowbowl resort, and all despite the many strong complaints and request that they stop and the surmounting evidence that the reclaimed water has severe adverse health effects on both humans and animals. Yesterday we went to the NAU campus in Flagstaff and heard from the a Latin American studies professor about boarder issues and how it relates to Native and non-native people alike, a talk that foreshadows our time down south when we learn about this issue more closely. So, as you can tell, already the trip has begun with a stimulating level of intensity. In-between such speakers we have been shaping together how we want to live, work, travel, and play together as a group in the coming weeks. We have been also making sure to keep it light, playing games and telling funny stories. There has also been group meals cooked on camping stoves, sitting around the camp fire each night and sharing jokes, sleeping under the stairs or in tents, and waking up with beautiful sunrises where light touches morning dew all around: It’s been a good start.
Today marks the beginning of our journey on the road and we will first say goodbye to Flagstaff and make our way to the famous Grand Canyon. After that we will head to the Hopi Tutskwa permaculture project where we will settle in for two the two weeks and get our satisfying work in with the current ongoing projects.
In Pictures Above:
1) Good morning at camp IAM EcoRanch with the San Francisco peaks in the background. Erich, Angie, Tom, Connor
2) DJane meets a new group member Connor, who also happens to be a part-time bear.
3) San Francisco peaks at sunset.
4) Connor takes the lead and fixes up broken group gear.
5) Group goes over the trip itinerary at sunset, last night before we hit the road.