By Nihigaal bee Iina
Oct. 30, 2015: We made it to the base of Sisnaajini! The mountain is beautiful and we can definitely feel the strength of dził'adzaan. Here in the San Luis Valley, we can also feel the impacts of colonization - the presence of our people has been removed from this area for generations, starting with the Spanish land grab settlement of Nuevo Mexico back in the 1600's. As indigenous people, we are in the minority here, to the point where many people are confused by our presence here.
This valley, which once was hunting grounds we shared with Ute, Apache, and People of the Plains, is now dominated by industrial agriculture. Cattle, genetically engineered potatoes and alfalfa have taken the place of the Buffalo. Pesticides, which cause birth defects, organ failure, brain damage, and death, are heavily used here in the valley, and are certainly contaminating the Rio Grande, flowing all the way into Mexico.
As we crossed the Rio Grande, however, we were reminded that we also share prayers, like we share water, we our relatives to the South. We have also encountered generosity and blessings from people that now live in this valley, from meeting indigenous Mayan from Guatemala who come here as migrant farm workers to Tewa Meshika healers who are sending their prayers for Nihimá, our mother earth, up the mountain with us.
The mountain misses the presence of our people, songs and prayers. We were told that when reclaim this mountain and our relationship with the land here, our people will come back together. Because of all of this we are praying and calling on our people to come join us to take our prayers up the mountain on Sunday, November 1st. As we complete our journey here, we know that this is just the beginning.