June 14, 2019, Keams Canyon, AZ-
Two months ago, after I left my full-time work, I got a text from a long-time friend, from the Navajo Nation. Her uncle, another long-time friend, had died, and the family needed my help with his funeral. I was to offer a final prayer, to which I agreed. I did the service, in a small cemetery on this isolated, but starkly beautiful location.
Another member of the family lives near the cemetery and invited me to visit him, when I was next in the area. There was no better time for this, than the start of the Summer, 2019 road trip, so I came up here yesterday evening and spent the night in his nicely furnished and solidly-built ranch style home.
It does my heart good to see Indigenous people have access to the same quality of life that people in other ethnic groups have. I don’t see the point in anyone being left out. For too long, First Nations have taken the leavings of the majority population. This is changing, mostly for the better.
Coal Mine Canyon is one of the least-visited parts of Arizona. Infrastructure is non-existent though a graded road made it possible for me to take some photos of the canyon, from its south rim.
This last looks like the Earth is watching!
I continued on, this morning, to the Hopi Nation, visiting a former co-worker, briefly, then upon finding there was no social dance in her village, this weekend, I continued on over to Keams Canyon, where what has turned out to be one of the two really rewarding positions I ever held, started, in August, 1992. It’s certainly arguable that I should never have left Cedar Unified, but here we are. I felt affirmed as a school counselor, more than I did in any other position. Affirmation began in Tuba City, near Coal Mine Mesa, and continued both at Jeju National University and here. I still feel validated by my First Nations friends.
Here are a couple of views of the inner area of Keams Canyon, now largely abandoned.
There used to be a trail that led from Keams to a part of the nearby Dineh settlement of Jeddito, to which we moved in 1993, after living in Keams for a year. The trail, like much of the settlement has been redirected elsewhere.
NEXT: Hubbell Trading Post and Its Impact on Navajo Arts and Crafts