April 25, 2019-
I spent Tuesday honouring a longtime friend, who had passed on about ten days earlier. As many of you know, Penny, Aram and I lived for seven years, on the Navajo Nation, working and living life among the Dineh and Hopi people. Previous to that, Penny and I spent our first years as a couple in another Navajo community, where we similarly enjoyed life with both nations.
Dinnebito is a small, isolated Dineh community, between the two areas where we lived. It was, at the time we lived there, included in a disputed land area- and the people found themselves hogtied, I daresay, by a Federally-mandated freeze on any improvements to land or property. That merciless, unnecessary interference in relations between Dineh and Hopi has now gone away. The pain it caused, however, has left a lasting scar in the lives of many. That’s the way it is, with “Divide and conquer”.
I have friends, people I regard as family, in both nations. One of them was KJ Manybeads, in whose honour I prayed and whose remains I helped inter on Tuesday. John’s family welcomed me, at the service and afterwards, as we celebrated his life, the way we celebrated so many things in the years gone by- gathering at long tables or around in a circle of chairs, primarily outside.
When I drove back to Prescott, Tuesday evening, I took the long way around, driving on a back road, from the Hopi tribal seat, Kykotsmovi, to the Dineh town of Leupp. It gave me a long time, to recall what blessings and timeless character lessons are afforded those who honour the First Nations. Yes, indigenous people are just humans, but those who are deeply connected to the Earth, to all Creation, have much to offer the wider community.
When I reconnected with “the world”, on Tuesday evening, I found time conflicts were causing me problems I had not fully processed. That brought me to these conclusions:
- In scheduling myself, while at Home Base, here on out, the priorities will be- a. Faith Community; b. this immediate area (Prescott and Yavapai County); c. everyplace else.
- If it is someone’s sincere understanding that I have promised my time and energy, I will honour that, (even if I did not, in fact, make that promise), for the sake of unity.
That has been my standard, more or less, all along, and it just needed to be refreshed.