Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

September 15, 2013

Flooding on Navajoland washes away elder's goats

Flooding, high price of hay, and poor roads devastating

Article and photos by Lester Begay
Censored News Exclusive

During this week's floods on the Navajo Nation, 80-year-old elder, Mrs. Begay, lost 29 goats and 11 survived, south of Farmington, N.M., on the Navajo Nation.

Her son, Andrew, 50 years old, tried to cross the flash flood wash which trapped the goats. The second wave of flash flood, as high as 4 to 6 feet, washed away all 40 goats and Andrew still manage to reach a few goats and pulled them ashore with a rope tied to him. At some point, he also was washed under the water and had to abandon his rescue mission after fighting the water. He was tired and the water was very cold.
Terry told me that she usually leaves her herd of goats inside during severe weather conditions but lately she could not afford the high hay price that skyrocketed in March 2011. So she had to let out the goats to graze.

A Navajo elder, 70-years-old, was stuck here (shown in photo 3) in the wash and slept there until Monday. This is a BIA/Navajo Dept. of Transportation road and bus route. It has been a public road for the past 50 years. Billions of dollars went by and we still have this kind of road on the Rez.

Also see Navajo Nation press statement on Friday:

"There are approximately 50 to 80 homes within the flash flood areas and many families are out of their homes. The Navajo Nation opened a shelter in Chinle with the help of the American Red Cross Grand Canyon Chapter. Red Cross volunteers will provide meals, snacks, bottled water and coffee, as well as cots and blankets to flooding victims, however, more volunteers are needed in these communities. Navajo families with children are sleeping outside due to mud, rain, mold and infestation."

Denver Post video: Flooding washes away town of Salina, in Sunshine Canyon, Colorado:

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