Thursday, February 7, 2008

Censored News, on the great journey west

Dear friends,
Thanks to all of you for your kindness and encouragement during the past year which helped transform the Censored blog into a daily news website.
The Censored blog now begins with a clean slate, on a new journey west. Please come along and listen to the stories.
Today, a few old friends are on my mind. First, I remember Hopi Dan Evehema, who I met when I stopped by his daughter's house in 1996 on Hopiland. Dan had just finished protesting a backhoe digging through the village. It was raining and he was drenched. He was around 106 years old then. He sat me down and told me how things are. He wanted to make it clear that the traditional Hopi, the Sinom, never authorized the formation of the Hopi Tribal Council. Dan wanted to make sure that I understood that the traditional Hopi never gave approval for the coal mining on Black Mesa or any action that would lead to the relocation of Navajos.
Dan reminded me of the Hopi who were arrested, then imprisoned at Alcatraz, because they resisted colonization and were true sovereigns, without compromise in the ways of the spirit. Dan died when he was 108 years old in 1999.
There is another friend on mine on my mind today, a Navajo friend from Big Mountain on Navajoland. She was the first to tell me, "Corporations lie." It was decades ago and I was new at the news business. "Really?" I said surprised. Of course now I know that corporations lie to news reporters all the time.
Today, I'm also remembering Howard McKinley and how we used to sit on his porch at Fort Defiance, Arizona. "Tse Ho Tso, Meadow between the rocks," he would say before telling me how it was for Navajos in the early Twentieth Century when he was a Navajo boy. He remembered eating the yucca bananas and how the stone building down the road was filled with ice from Blue Canyon before summer came. He walked everywhere, and then walked right into the Spirit World when he was around 100 years old.
I also remember Dan Deschinny, spokesperson for the Navajo Medicine Men's Association and my cousin by marriage. When Dan died, it was hard for those who knew him to speak of him, remember him, because he had touched lives so deeply. I remember his songs and stories of horses, his reminder to each person of who they really are.
Finally, I remember all my Navajo neighbors in Crystal, New Mexico. I remember those who lived and died protecting those forests and mountains. There, in the Chuska Mountains, there are no doubt Navajo elderly who are alone today, with cold and snow whirling outside. I hope someone will remember to see if they have food for dinner and some wood chopped. Soon, it will be spring and the wild turkeys will once again be wandering down to the streams.
Now, the journey west.
Brenda Norrell
Photo: Hopi elder Dan Evehema, after protesting the destruction to the earth by a backhoe in his village. Photo Brenda Norrell

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