We, the 5 fingered beings are related to the 4 leggeds, the winged beings, the spiritual beings, Father Sky, Mother Earth, and Nature. We are all relatives. We cannot leave our relatives behind.
Betty Tso----Traditional Navajo
Yei-Bi-Chay Navajo Deity
The Four Corners region of the U.S. has a rich and varied culture. The Southern Ute, Sky Ute, and Mountain Ute clans of the Ute Tribe call southwestern Colorado home. The Navajo,(Utah, Arizona, New Mexico) Hopi,(Arizona) and Jiccarilla Apache Tribes(New Mexico) also call this area home. The cultural variety is incredible. I lived in Bluff Utah for 12 years. (pop 200) I then moved to Mexican Hat, Utah. (Pop 50) I hope to be able to display some of the local color for you, but I'm sure I'll never do it justice!
The Arts of this area are astounding! Navajo Rugs, Turquoise Jewelry, pottery, and paintings. There is such talent here! Visit the roadside stands. Buy yourself something pretty. You'll get better deals than if you go to one of the local traders, and you'll know that the artist was paid a fair price.
If you visit the Four Corners Area, find out what's going on. Go see a Pow Wow. The Fair grounds in Bluff are only 1/2 mile from my home. When Bluff holds it's Pow Wow, you can hear the drums beating well into the night. Imagine yourself, 150 years ago, listening to the drums. What visions does this invoke in your imagination?
I am including links to various places so you can learn more about the Navajo people and the issues that face them today. I care very deeply about the people here, and their struggle to live in the 20th. century, while preserving their traditional values. Not an easy chore. Many people don't realize that many many families on the Rez don't have electricity, or running water. Many Families haul water in 55 gallon drums from the closest town, and use kerosene lamps to light their homes. Some families have bought themselves generators, so they have DC current in their homes. While I know of a few families who choose not to have electricity, this is after all 1999, and one would think that we would be able to offer water and electricity to all of the Rez's inhabitants. There are people working on solving this problem, but it will be another 20 years (estimate) before all the homes here will be able to take advantage of these "modern" conviences.
The Seal of the Navajo Nation stands for many different things. The 50 arrows of the outside ring stand for the 50 states. The rainbow, for the beauty of life. The stalks of corn, for the ceremonial system, and the staple food of life. The leaves coming off the stalk stand for the many different paths one can choose in life. They are: the night way; the mountain way; the bead way; the lightening way; the family way; and the warring way. The 4 mountains stand for the sacred mountains that mark the boundaries to the land that the Holy Ones gave the Navajo 1000's of years ago. These Mountains are: Blanca Peak in the East, Mount Taylor in the south, San Francisco Peaks in the west and Hesperus Peak in the north. The animals represent life to the people, because animal husbandry is and was a vital part of Navajo life.
In 1864, 8,354 Navajos were forced to walk from Dinetah to Bosque Redondo in southern New Mexico, a distance of three hundred miles. They were held for four years until the U.S. government declared the assimilation attempt a failure. More than 2,500 died of smallpox and other illnesses, depression, severe weather conditions, and starvation. The survivors returned to Dinetah in June of 1868.