Wednesday, December 23, 2009

sure good shirt

Heading to the big city full of lights and all those cars. I wonder
where they all go, how they live and what they do, so many people
and each one stays someplace and they have to work somewhere and
all I see is them coming and going. It is like driving into a big ant pile. On the way in there is a turnoff and I follow it and it takes me to the thrift store. it is like pawn shops, you never know what it is you need until you see it. You have been looking for it a long time, it sits there at the back of your mind and when you see it you say, ah there it is. I pulled into the parking lot and walked in looking around at all the stuff, there was alot of things there, going over to the shoe rack I looked for some size 12 wing tips, dark brown, really wide ones for my big toes. The kind you can ski in on the snow when you get the chance, but they didn't have any for me, so I looked for a new coat, a good one with leather and a wool collar like those old bomber jackets but all the had were polyester ones from way back in the 70's, the kind grandpas used to wear. Thought about trying one on just to see how it was but killed the thought since looking in the mirror might let me see I look like that now days.

It was over to the kids side, some shirts all layed out on the rack and saw it, a white and yellow shirt with a good collar, heavy cotton good for cold weather and it looked almost new. I wanted one of those kind when I was a kid, they used to in the jcpenneys catalog, boys standing on the beach posing, those shirts sure looked good. I got for 4 bucks, did not have to put it on layway, just too it on home.

I showed it to my wife and she looked sideways at it, and said where did you get it, I said it was a good buy, and do you think he would like it. She said which one, after all we had five boys. I don't know, I guess I just got it for one of them, you know let them fight over it. Well they came home from school and didn't say much about it, it sat on the table for a whlle and then disappeared. I didn't see for a while, and asked her what happened to it. she said it has to be washed out and so it disapperated into the pile of clothes and got washed and put away. That time I left early before the kids got to school and got home after they came back and would see it from time to time in the wash, thinking to myself that is sure a good shirt.

One day I had to go the big city and on the way out dropped by the same store and went through the old stuff, finding a good used air conditioner, plugged it in and it got kind of cool, just ten bucks so I took it home. I put it in the trunk and went back inside. As I went in and I saw the stiff boy in the window, and he had on a shirt almost like the one I got there some time ago. Man that is a good one too, I thought and got it for three bucks and took it home.

I unloaded the trunk and put the air conditioner in the storage shed
for next summer, maybe it will come in handy or something. I got the shirt and some books I got, four for a dollar and went inside. I put them on the table and later that night when everyone was home I showed them what I found. I held up the shirt at the supper table and all my boys looked at it. My youngest boy said that looks like the one you got before Dad, I said yeah that is why I got it. I know one of you kids likes this kind fo shirt. No one said anything. I wondered why, but figured it was old news, after all who gets excited about stuff from thrift shop except me. Anyway, the next day I went to see who got the shirt and it was still sitting where I had left it. It was the same color as the other one. I asked my wife, hey where is the other one, I want to see it if it is like it. She looked at me from across the kitchen and then said. I do not know where it is. After asking a few more times she said we will talk about it later. I headed out to work and spent the day thinking about how good that shirt would have been for me if I could fit it. It was food for thought.

Later that night, when I got home, I asked about it. She looked at me and said do you remember that old shirt you bought, the first one, well none of the boys wanted it so we washed it a few times and send it back to the donation place down by the tribal store, thinking someone else could use it better than us. We forgot about it and then you brought another one just like it. I said, oh, I did not know this. She looked at me and said we figured it was gone for good and then when you brought that shirt back I looked at it twice, and after picking it up, I could see it was the same shirt.

I thought to myself, I knew I had good taste when I saw it again. I have not seen it for a while and am wondering where it has gone again. It would have fit be good if it was big enough, maybe good enough for jc penneys. I wonder where it is now... rustywire

an indian mother and her three kids on the road

she came in and said, i am working today
have jewelry hand made, I made it myself
she parked the 89 cheby pickup with the camper outside
three little kids looked out at me, dark hair
I beaded these things all by myself, drove down from Lander
was up to Montana selling jewelry on the rezes up there
come from Page, near there anyway, lechee, she said
how is it to be on the road?
she made a tired smile and her eyes twinkled
it is good to be on the road, some times we sell
sometimes we don't, but is good to be there
most times they say, it is too much to drive so far
no, she said, I like it cuz we have a place to sleep
it is warm, when we do good, we sleep in the motel roon
running water, the lights go on with a click, and you take a bath easy
tell me where you come from, she said to me,
we haul wood, and have to use a generator, no tv or icebos
take showers at the community center
she looked to twenty five or so, her eyes were older thatn that though
she said her man left her long ago, and she no money
but somebody took a chance with her, she told the trader I can bead
she sat up all night all winter long and beaded with kerosene lamp
now she can afford a coleman, a generator, it was tough but I made it
she got paid and bought silver, then without any plans loaded up the truck
and headed out, selling her stuff, her indian silver jewelry
that was five years ago, she found life on the road
and that is what she waid, she turned around putting her tray away
and headed out the door of the tribal office, time to go and she smiled
as she went out the door, an indian mother with her three kids on the road
a tough life but it is one she owns, and she it out there somewhere on the road



Rain dancers

I can see them
three stand talking
in silence they say
where is the wind, the sky and ground
lifting themselves with no place to go

Rain dancers
arrayed in bright colors
feathers dressed to sing and dance
one leg in the air, the other stepping down
silent rattles and sash belts

Not one glances at me
They look up and away
see nothing of ancient stars
where is the pueblo we can dance
tired of resting at midstep

three katchinas standing
waiting for each new dawn
quietly ready to dance away
Raindancers not born to dance
each day they wait for me
in the dust that gathers at their feet

First Thunder

I await the first sound of thunder
the long passing of winter
if is far off, my land
Land of the Navajo, Dinetah

Standing here in the early light of day
I can see the clear blue sky
I look toward my homeland
so so far away
Wind take me to the mountain
to a place of high mountain streams
I hear the song of bluejays and robins
they sing in thw rustle of the trees
in the midst of the place I call home

I can see them standing there those two friends of mine
standing in the forests, mesas and dusty roads there
Those two Twin Heroes, from the Navajo Way, they call me
like an old song, the words quietly come, you are a child
you are a child of our grandmothers
you have survived so that we may live

renew me as a small child
on green grass in a high mountain meadow
let me hear the song my mother
she sang walk this way my child
go in beauty and let it find a way before you

Come back to us, walk in these places we have known
we fought many creatures and saved a place for you
there is an eight sided hogan, a home waiting for you
go with beauty and find your song to sing
Child Born for Water and Monster Slayer whisper in the wind
We wait for you my brother
come home to us and hear the first thunder

it is time for coyotes and winter to go their way far from here
We come to bring hard and soft rain to this land of the navajo
you are our brother, you must come they say
I can see them far off and know they wait in the mountains of home
take me away and let me find a place in the songs of my fathers
and let me dance in these places, the home of my mother
let me drink from waters they have tasted
take me there I say and they look at me from far off

Child born for Water with gentleness says come my brother
Monster Slayer stands proudly and motions, come here
You are our brother and this place
calls your name, it is not complete unless you come
I see them there patiently waiting and beckoning me
come home

yo, they say, listen
it is near a time for new life and long summer days
it is time for a life here in your own home
come my brother, share a place with us and listen
far off it is but yet it is near, any time now they say

First thunder, the sound I remember, they wait and say
Come sit with us and share the sound ending the cold cold winter
life begins a new with First Thunder, come my brother, they say
I stand here and looking toward home
I am far away but I can see all this from here

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sarah Watermelon Juice

It was late and he sat there with his head buried in the old leather
bound books, they were large and heavy, from the old days of the
reservation. they held the story of the people from the days when they
opened up the reservation to everyone and the names on these pages
were all living during that time and saw how the settlers moved onto
what were there lands.

In looking at the record of family names one stood out, in faint
pencil in fancy writing they used during the old days when all records
were written in long hand it said Sarah Watermelon Juice. She was 13
in 1905, when they opened up the UIntah Valley Reservation. There is
an indian name written next to it, but it means something like buffalo
berries. Maybe this is what the writer was trying to write, but
instead called her Watermelon Juice.

He sat there and wrote out the names of these people from those old
days, the father, mother, brothers and sisters. In one family at the
base of Rock Creek, an old Indian stronghold with canyon walls and
water year round, they lived. They were called Nuche, the english word
being Utes, UIntahs.

One woman was given the name of Curtis Nick, a boy's name she was 20
years old at the time and she had 4 children it is written, the oldest
lived to be 4 years old, the others died in infancy, 2 months old one
said, 1 year and 2 years old. Alot of the children born during that
time died young, He sat there wondering how could this woman go on
when all her children had died, there a faint note at the end, she too
had died at 27 years of age. There is not stone to mark where they
lay, and the children are left unnamed. In all there were many who
lived and died without names, and without a known location where they
could be found. In all of this some did live on and the one thing that
is not the same about the land is that those indian lands no longer
get the water. If you were to go there today, you find wind swept
sand dunes where these families lived and nothing more. The water from
the stream has been put into a pipe and goes to land of the settlers.
Some descendants remain and have sued the BIA and United States saying
Washington failed to protect the land and water. It is in the Deseret
News, June 3to th8th I think, it is called Richard Mountain v.Gale
Norton, the hearing is in the Salt Lake Federal District Court in mid

It was said to the Utes, This valley is yours forever from mountain
top to mountain top, and all the waters in it. so long as the rivers
shall run. The water doesn't run through this place anymore....


Up on Red Lake Road

It was winter time and the rez roads were pretty wet
Muddy and slippery, one of them was Red Lake Road
Two Navajo cops were working swing shift
They worked the area around Fort Defiance
It was snowing, cold and wet, and they wore
Heavy coats the large green filled down type

A little girl called from the store and told the dispatcher
There is a friend of mine I am worried about
He hasn't been to school for a few days
His parents drink, and he lives up Red Lake Road
Can someone go up there and check on him
His name is Engelbert, he's about 8

The call was logged in and the dispatcher said
If someone gets a chance, go up there and take a look
The radio crackled, "If you want to get stuck, go on up there"
One of the officers said the road was too bad, too muddy
The kind if you go in you will have to work out
What is the call about?
A Welfare check, a friend of hers from school
Didn't come for a couple of days, the parents
She said they like to drink, but nothing else

Is he hurt?
Well if she calls back ask her for a little more than that
The shift went on and cold snow fell
The lumbering white police panels moved around slow
The day was done and they went home.

Swing shift starts at 3 in the afternoon
It was about 6 when she called again,
Can someone go up and check on my friend
He lives on Red Lake Road,
He didn't come to school.

How old are you little girl?
About 9
Is something wrong with him?
No, he just hasn't been to school, he likes school lunch
They have nothing to eat at home, so he is always there

Can someone go and check on him, his name is Engelbert.
The dispatcher told her she would have one of the officers
If they had a chance go on up there.
She put it out to the three officers on duty
If you get a chance one of guys check on him, Ok?

The night wore on it was cold and wet, December it was
The pinons were heavy with snow and the wind was blowing
The red clay of Red Lake was slippery stuff
It was sticky and the road when it got wet became mud
Rutted and broken up, it was a rough ride even when dry
No one liked to go up there, only a few people stayed there
Way up North, more toward Navajo than Fort

At 9 o'clock there was a stiff breeze the wind picked up
Eugene Atcitty was working when the phone call came in
It was the little girl, Has anyone gone to Red Lake Road
Where are you calling from?
From the Seven to Eleven store in Fort.
Where do you live?
Blue Canyon, up Blue Canyon
The dispatcher calculated the distance.
You walked two miles to make this call through the snow?
Yes, I want someone to check on my friend, Engelbert.

The radio crackled and it was the dispatcher
The little girl called again about the boy on Red Lake Road
She told me she walked 2 miles to make the call
Where is she now?
At the Seven to Eleven Store.
I am headed that way.

Two units pulled in and the girl was wet and cold
She said, let' s go up there right now to Engelbert's.
What about you, where to you live?
On the way to there, but I have to show you where he lives
And so the two four-wheel drive units headed out
There lights lit up the falling snow.

Officer Atcitty was a Vietnam Vet and knew the area
He was from Fort Defiance, the other one was from
Navajo, he was Frank Henry a big boned tall guy.
He followed because he know one of them would get stuck
The headed out those three to where the pavement ended
Red Lake Road disappeared into the snow field
The went off road and started to slide, going off road
Taking the hillside through the pinons going North

The little girl said Engelbert was her friend
She looked out for him cuz he was small when he got on the bus
He was just a little rez kid who lived in a hogan
They went on and she said it is there, the place was dark
The pulled up to a pair of hogans and no one was home
Officer Henry got out and went to the door and it was padlocked
He could see the other one was slightly ajar and went over there
Atcitty was right behind him, there were no tracks in the snow
It was a wasted trip, Engelbert was not there, no one was

They knocked and no one answered they pushed open the door
And there they saw him, tied up and wearing only his shorts
No fire in the wood stove, it was cold and dark in there
They went to him, and felt him and he was cold but alive
He was tied up he said so he wouldn't run away
The flashlights cast a bright light on him and this what they saw

He was little boy lying on a cot tied by a rope to a post
His hands were bound and he was nearly naked
The room was cold enough they could see their breaths like clouds
He had burns on his arms and legs, from cigarettes
His arm was broken and he was near dead, pale and ashen
The cradled him in their arms and took him to the unit

They left one unit behind and headed out
EMTs met them on the way and away they went
Fort Defiance Indian Hospital, way past midnight
They all waited to see how he would be and he just layed there
If she had not called and had not kept bothering them he would be gone
But she wouldn't give up on her friend Engelbert

Those two big men went for smoke standing outside
If you looked closely you could see the tears in their eyes
Engelbert came around and this is what he said

I tried to be a good boy, my uncle didn't want me
I tried to eat what they gave me but it was old and cold
I got sick and they wanted to go to town.
The went for the wine, the night lights
My mother and her boyfriend they left me

My uncle tied me up so I wouldn't run away
He said he would be back and he went away
That was two days ago.
I want my Mom.
I want my Mom
That was all he said

That is the way it happened
I was there that night
And when Christmas comes
His face haunts me still

No matter what some people do to their kids
Even in the worst way
the children
they say
I want my Mom
I want my Mom


Toe Jams

Toe Jams

It was Saturday night at the pow wow grounds, the day had been hot and
the night was just a little bit cooler. It was near the arbor, the
shade covering around the pow wow dance arena. It was crowded, people
form all over, Indians dressed in their buckskins feathers, children
running around, some folks sitting in their folding chairs.

She was standing there, her braided hair perfectly split and she wore
a white buckskin with cut glass beads in the style of the Southern
Cheyenne traditional dancers. She held a fan a eagle feathers, she was
tall and maybe 18 or so. In the glow of the night lights she looked
gold colored, a soft haze covered her. There were three of them women
traditional dancers standing there waiting to hear the call for the
young women’s traditional dance.

A drum group, the Prairie Island Pontiacs were taking a break. The
group came from the Windy City, that place on the eastern plains, of
tall towers and cold winds. One of them wore shades, wearing a shirt
that said Chicago Cubs, he was carrying his drumstick, long it was,
all puffy and round at the top. He was swinging it around his finger
as he was talking to his friend. He swung it and it hit this girl from
behind and she turned around.

“Oh,” he said, “I’m sorry”

She pulled at her buckskin looking to see if it had any marks from the
stick. She looked at it and then at him in an instant. She always had
in her mind the kind of Indian guy she would like to meet. She had
thought on him from time to time. He would be tall with braids, maybe
with broad shoulders and a square jaw with high cheekbones and a
certain kind of look around the eyes, sort of hard but not really that
way. He would have an easy smile and be narrow at the hips, swift legs
and all of sudden he the one she had seen in her dreams was standing
there. He looked at her and his said, “I’m sorry I
didn’t see you”

Her friends said, “you should look at where you are going,
Bro!” He turned away and then she said, “It’s o.k.,
nothing is messed up,” He turned to walk away and then she
thought, what am I going to say to him. What is his name? He stepped
away and she grabbed his drumstick and held onto it and pulled him
back. It was still on his finger and she caught him off guard and it
pulled him back. It stopped him dead in his tracks. He stood perfectly
still and then turned around.

She laughed at him and said, “Now we are even!”

He laughed a small laugh and liked her smile, but his friend said,
“We have to go!” His friends continued to walk away to the
stew stands, to eat some frybread, drink some cold pop and maybe grab
a burger or two.

The world stopped for them and the look in their eyes said it all, It
was Saturday night, July 5th at the Fort Duchesne Powow and after this
night nothing would ever be the same for them again. She heard them
call out over the speaker, “Young Womens Traditional Dancers we
need you now in the arena!” She heard it and looked at him and
said, “What’s your name?”

.His friends called out to him, “Hurry Up!” He looked at
her and was going to say something when they called out to him,
“Come on Toe Jams!”

The speaker called out, “Young Women hurry up!” She turned
away, he didn’t say a thing and she laughed to hear his name.
She looked at him and said, “Toe Jams?” He smiled and
said, “Yeah, that’s what they call me.” She turned
to go the arena and the girls all were laughing and she left him
standing there. Turning she waved at him and said softy, “Toe

He left to go eat and watched her make her way to the arena and saw
her dance, slow and in the way of the Southern Plains Indians, nice
and slow elegant in the way she moved.
She was a good one out there and after she finished she made her way
to the edge of the dance circle to let the judges see her number and
he stood waiting to see her under the arbor.

fry bread dreams

It was at the Fort Duchesne Pow Wow, Saturday, July 4th.
It was at the Fort Duchesne Pow Wow, Saturday, July 4th.

There was a food stand, youi know the kind of home made one
constructed of pine tree poles, canvas top and broad leaf tree limbs
piled on top for shade. There was an icebox in the corner and a
coleman stove, there were five indian women cooking frybread, beans,
hamburgers and stew. In front of the stand the pow wow grounds was
packed; a long line of people waited to order at the counter.

A young girl, a daughter of 17 stood at the counter, her eyes twinkled
and she smiled at everyone, her hair was long and black. A group of
four came to the window, two Indian guys, fancy daners and two girls.
The tall one ordered, he was standing there in his bussells, feathers
and all ready to dance the fancy dance. His eyes were streaked with
black and red, but his smile was big. He was from somewhere up North.

The cooking stand girl asked him his order, he looked at her and said.
Do you have frybread dreams?

She looked up from her writing pad, and said, No, I just have frybread
wishes and frybread kisses.

He laughed at that and said, I am your frybread warrior. What kind of
a dude you lookin for?

She took a long look at him. She said, He has to smell like Crisco,
and be greasy all over, then he will be a real frybread warrior. He
stood there laughed and smiled at her his eyes twinkling.

She smiled back and said, what do you want with your frybread? And so
it went at the Fort Duchesne Pow Wow. rustywire

Go On and On

Go On and On and On
by Johnny Rustywire

I have been thinking about a dream and a discussion I had with Spirit
Dove, it was about standing with those of our people who died at the
hands of the cavalry, some who were slaughtered and their lives cut
short by hate and ignorance. I see that in standing with them that
there is a link, a tie that binds us to them and that is to survive.

In many of the songs, stories and healing rights, the beautyway
overcomes the plagues, demons and sicknesses caused by desire, greed,
selfishness, and external forces that reek havoc on the human body and
spirit. In thinking this way I think we are tied to the land, to the
world, the spirit of it and so it is a part of us. Sometimes these
forces place us in a position where our spirits desire to leave our

The word survival comes to mind, in the songs, of my own people and
those of others dealt with overcoming our own frailties to restore
balance, harmony and control by ourselves our body, spirit and how we
deal with the environment.

In a real sense, we are here today surviving the last century and the
beginning of new millenium because one of our grandmothers and
grandfathers endured pain, hardship, cold and hunger. I often times
can see them just as if they were here with me and ot just in a dream.
I can not tell you or describe at times the thoughts that come to mind
in the way of living they made when hard times came to them.

In our stories the Twin Heros, Monster Slayer and Child Born for
Water, these two fought creatures who brought death and destruction to
men, but also sought out those beings that are responsible for famine,
old age, hunger, sickness, greed and others. When they cornered them,
these beings said, if you destroy us then men will not know what it is
to know these things. When you look at it, the stories are old and
come from a time when there was not a written language but just oral
history. But yet they persist and some have been lost, but they
continue like us because they have survived. These beings as they were
confronted came forward and said if we are gone then the people will
not know what it is like to have known life, to taste sweetness,
caring, compassion and survival of the body and spirit. We go about
this world confronted on many sides by things that overwhelm the body
and spirit and each of these afflictions is known to each person
regardless of where we come from or our heritage.

Grandmothers, Grandfathers and my grandchildren, Life is about the
bright spirits I have known who knew what it was like to enjoy a
summer day, a cool breeze and life with it's good days and bad. Many,
oh so many are not here anymore. I am not sure why or where they gave
up or had their lives taken from them, but they are no longer here. I
see them in my mind and remember their smiles and good days. When I go
home sometimes I find that more have gone on and they are no longer
here. What is it to survive to overcome our own pettiness and self

I have seen death, sickness, suicide, unhappiness, wanton lust,
selfishness, and greed mixed with alcohol, recklessness and despair.
Where are some I have known, and cousins, those that I grew up with,
they are gone, all of them, they live in my stories but they are not
here anymore. I sometimes cry out of loneliness for them, because I
miss them so. We laughed, played and lived together and had such
dreams. Suicide, drinking, car accidents, sickness, and being victims
of violence have taken them all from me.

Shi Dine' nshli', I am Navajo, I have survived.

My hopes, dreams and taste for a better life are all I have to offer
my children. I do not know where they will go and I have not seen the
faces of my great grandchildren but I want them to know that I have
survived for them to give them life and it has not come without it's

Where are these that have gone on before, who suffered so much and now
are gone. Where are their dreams, good days and hopes. They lie in me
and that is why we have to go on, to survive. I would like so much to
have more, to be better off, to know all there is to know, to
experiance life in all places, to see the earth. I think I would like
to see it through your eyes.

It sounds crazy but often I find myself looking at those around me and
wonder how it would be to be them for just a moment. We go about as
strangers to one another but there is so much to see in just one life.
We cannot know what life is about unless we reach out. I am not a
preacher or know about all the things of my people, the legends
stories and practices. They sometimes come to me like a long lost
memory and as I get older I see the value to it all. The thoughts of
survival of the human spirit are eternal, and with it the balance of
life where I stand not above it all, but that the taste of red earth
is in my mouth, that the plants, trees and rocks run with the red of
my blood, that when I speak the I am just one voice and that it sounds
out like a bird taking flight, the sound of a mountain lion, the
squeek of mouse and we go on all of us together.

Where are those hopes for a better life, where is the glory of life,
the beautyway taking the best of life and continuing. It is in each of
us and we have to strive to make life better for us, our family, in
each day as it comes.

In standing with you in your dream, I would tell you if we were faced
with a volley from the cavalry, I would push you and tell you to run,
to live, to go on and speak about life, and tell your children that we
lived so that we may continue on until we are nothing but a thought
and in this we have survived and all those that came before. We have
to go on and we do through you. So take heart, touch your hand and
face and know that all that came before live through you. Take heart,
life and know it's sweet taste and go on and on and on.

Laughing Birl's blanket

Crumbo Motors was going to be torn down and the old man was outside
standing there selling what was left, he hired a young Indian boy, he
was a Deal, Jasper Deal. He cleaned up the stalls and threw the trash
out. As the young boy was cleaning he reached into a corner of old
boxes and junk and found a stained blanket with holes, it looked like
an old time Navajo rug. He picked it up and threw it out with the rest
of the things but decided to take it home after the old man told him
it was ok if he kept it.

Old man Crumbo was a Potowattamie Indian from Oklahoma and had moved
out west to a small town and had his own garage, he had picked up the
rug years ago for ten dollars on a train trip to Albuquerque in 1930.
He put on the floor and it had taken a beating as it layed there all
those years with loose fringes, it was sort of brown with soft colors,
zig zag in design, it was of little worth, that Burnwater rug.

Jasper took it home and his mother washed it and put it across the bed
to keep his little sister's legs warm at night, her name was Karen,
but everyone called her Laughing Girl. She got used it taking it
everywhere with her and when she stood up she could wrap herself in
it. She was small and watched everything and everybody, and played
around the yard with her toys. They lived in Bakersfield, California.
That blanket covered her each night and she got used to it.

It was Fall and the family decided to go to the Navajo Nation Fair
back home and they packed up and left, staying with their grandma way
down there at Oak Springs.

They went to the carnival, and saw all the exhibits. The little girl
would get tired and her mother brought a small wagon for her to ride
and she took that blanket with her. They spent the whole day at the
pow wow and traditional song and dance and night fell upon them.
Laughing Girl was five years old and had heard her Shimasani-grandma
talking about learning to share and how all people, not just Navajos
have to do that to grow up the right way.

Laughing Girl sat quietly and watched at the Pow Wow as there was a
give away by a family of their most prized possessions, a dancers
rocker or roach as it is called, some buckskin leggings and shawls of
all kinds. It was a nice thing to see.

It was late and they decided to leave and it was getting cold.

A young mother came from Pinon, way over west of Chinle, to the Fair
with her boyfriend, who dropped her off and told her he would meet her
at the carnival in a little bit. Pinon Lady, she waited for him to
return, and after awhile she and the baby went and saw all the
exhibits by themselves. She saw some old friends from Chinle who held
the baby and talked to her about how she was doing. She told them she
was fine and that she was living in Pinon way out in the sticks; that
they were just there for the day.

As night fell the wind began to blow and it was a cold wind. Pinon
Lady had left somethings in the vehicle, thinking if they needed them
she would get them later. She was tired and sat by the entrance to the
Fair grounds waiting and looking for her boyfriend to come and get
her. She sat on a parking strip and tried not to notice the people
looking at her, saying to themselves why didn't she bring a coat or
something for her and the baby.

The little red wagon came by her and a little Laughing Girl watched
her as she was being pulled by her mother. There were a lot of Indian
people going home and the gate was full so they had to stand in a
crowd waiting for people to get through the gate. The wind had a chill
and the young mother stood up and tried to see over the crowd looking
for someone so she could catch a ride home.

The little red wagon got to the truck with a camper, and Laughing
Girls' family noticed that the blanket was gone.

It must have fell out. It was dark but they went back since they
thought the little girl would cry to lose it there. They went back to
the fair grounds and saw it. It was wrapped around Pinona Lady and her
baby sitting by the front gate. The family stopped and Laughing Girls'
father went to the woman sitting there and said, I think that blanket
belongs to us.

The woman with the baby, looked at him and then the little Laughing
Girl said in a quiet voice....It is ok, Daddy...I gave it away to

The father looked at his little girl and she looked at him and said,
it is my give away...the baby needs is cold...

The family stood around there and looked at the little girl...she
said, it is my give away like at the pow wow....grandma said we do
that at sings, they crawl on the hogan and throw things down the
people like and sometimes what they need.

The father looked at his little girl and then at the woman with the
blanket and the said to little girl has given your baby a
gift I think...

Just then a person walked up and said, to Pinon Lady, Rita what are
you doing here? Do you need a ride or something? The young mother got
up and said, Yes, I think I do I am so glad to see you...she turned
around and gathered the things she had and took the blanket off to
give to the Laughing Girl.

The little girl said, you can cover him with it, it is a warm
is his now...

So it was this way at the fair one night sometime ago...


native born

Native Born
by Johnny Rustywire

There was a small white envelope waiting for me when I got home, it reminded me of some work I had done two years ago on some land matters that ended up in federal court. It was a subpoena, it said be here at this time and don't be late or else bad things will happen to you. So I went, it was a long day, not that day but the day before trying to catch up on some things, so I worked late till 4 in the morning, went to get some sleep for couple of hours and got up real late...what did the paper say....8 and don't be late, well it was about 9 when I got there.

The federal court building is a magnificent granite edifice, marble and granite, the court room was all mahogany, quiet and stately.

I sat there waiting while the preliminaries were done and it is one of those cases that is going to go a couple of days...those lawyer types dressed in pristine white shirts, and black suits waved me over...we
will probably need you tomorrow they said...but since you are a witness you will have to wait just outside, don't wander off we might need you, so don't go anywhere. I went outside and stood in the hallway. It was a large hallway white marble walls, cold and quiet.

A couple of people from the tribe were there, Raymond and Everett, were there names, it involves them and the work I did for them...I stood there with them, all dressed to kill with white starched shirts, a blue tie for me and a suit, one that I like that fits comfortable and so I stood there with them. We talked about fishing, and a little about the snow of late. Them two from the tribe dressed just as I, holding up those white marble walls....

The hallway began to fill little by little people of different shapes, colors, from nations like Iran, China, Sweden, Thailand, Mexico and a lot more, just down the hall. I walked down there and saw a sign, a paper on a door. It said, Citizenship ceremony at 1:00, assemble here.

We stood there and watched them as people kept coming slowly, with children, grandmas, and Hassidic Jew with a feathered hat, an Indian woman in a sarong, Iranian women wrapped head to toe. They went into the room and spilled out into the hallway.

The court room where the case was going on was just off to the side, a little ways from them. As time passed the lawyers inside the court room took a break, Chris Chaney, one of Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the government came over and stood with us three in the center of the hallway.

I had heard he was Native but not for sure so I sort of asked him where he came from; he told me he was Seneca Cayuga and spoke to us of his people. There we were, four Natives standing there, quietly talking and looking down the hall at all those people just over there.

It was a naturalization ceremony; they are to be sworn in as American citizens. We all looked at each other, and without saying a word walked over to the door and joined the masses standing there...these people from all over the world....wanting to be American.

I am not sure who said it, but one of us did. "Maybe we should join them and get sworn in." We all started to laugh. The people there looked at us, those four making noise...wondering what country we were from... we looked at them closely and wondered how it would the break was over the case resumed....

I stood there for a minute and watched those waiting to become American and they looked at me.....I thought about it and after being told they did not need me to testify until tomorrow I wandered over there into that room and stood there and watched them, 90 there were all together....I found a place in the corner, and watched them as they raised their hands and swore their allegiance to America.

It felt strange to stand there and listen to them, a Native American out of place. Lot things came to mind, the history of misery, genocide of my people, the sicknesses and loss of land by people like this who sought a dream at the expense of others. But then on the other hand, we make our own future, the past is done, and we have to move on. I am proud to be native, an American, a child of my father and mother.

I thought how it was to sit on a ridge way up high long ago, to watch these immigrants move slowly onto our land, and see that they came and came. I think with curiosity at first, then fear and then sorrow.

I never had to say anything like this, but at times feel like a prisoner in my own land, it is a great country, but yet again, where do I fit in all this.

I stood next to a man from India, he asked me, Where are you from? I told him, I am born for Bitahni, the Folded Arms People, and that my father is Tsinalbiiltnii, the Mountain People, that I come from Dinetah, and some would say I was Navajo, a Native American...he looked at me and smiled at me...he said are you here with someone...No I said just taking a look around...he said you come from a great country...and walked away...

I stood there and thought, I guess I am an American and after listening to those folks talk about where they came from and the difficulties to get to this time and made me think I am glad I am an American, and a Native....despite all that has happened I prefer to live here, and with it share the privileges it has to offer. I wanted to extend my hand to welcome them but it was not my place.

I listened to a welcome speech by a woman from the daughters of American Revolution. she seemed out of place. I could see the mountains outside and with it the images of my people long past who stood there and watched others come into their land.

It seemed to me it would have been more appropriate to have a Native American say, welcome not because we are any different but because we share the same struggles and though we are here my people struggle still with liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Come look at my reservation, and see how we live and you will see that we are not all free, not yet anyway...but I said nothing....then I left to find me a burger and a Coke.

My Aunt HB and Indian Clinic

My Aunt HB and the Indian Health Clinic

She told me she was feeling sick....I did not pay attention to her,
she was always saying that, my aunt Helen Begay, we call her "HB". I
don't know how she got that name but that is what everyone knows her

It is funny, most people look for older Navajo women to have an exotic
name, something like Woman from Long Valley, or One Who Comes at
Night, something like that. but no we just call her "HB".

We used to live along ways from the Indian Health Service clinic in
Shiprock, New Mexico. We were home, but when you have sick relations,
you have to go. We loaded up the truck and hit the road. It was a good
day, she didn't say much except that she looked sick. We drove to the
hospital and got out and went inside.

When you go there you wait all day, and when you go to get your chart
or they called your name you would have to follow those lines painted
on the floor. Blue, Yellow, Green and Red. There was no yellow brick
road or fry bread at the end of the rainbow, just a tired pucky green
waiting room, with a bunch of folks looking sideways at you and not
saying a word. We used to say all those folks sitting in there, well
they are all "Johns", a slang term which means to be a backward
Navajo. But looking at an old picture, they looked like me. I guess we
were "John".

Anyway there we were, HB and me, trying to look like we were
interested in the ceiling. Others were in there, sitting,
waiting...Once you say something then everyone seems to be looking at
you or their ears start pointing in your general direction to listen
to you. A clerk call her name, she told us we had to update her chart,
so we went into a seperate waiting room and waited for a half hour.

The nurse's aides were mean and just having them look at you made you
wish you had stayed home and not have to talk to them. My aunt was
sick and she wanted to go, but no I told her, we are here so you have
to stay and see the doctor.

They finally called her name and we went in. It was a good thing she
brought her purse. You know how it is when you are Navajo, you always
have to carry a bunch of stuff to prove who you are....You have to
have your i.d., a license, a BIA family card, grazing permit, Medicare
card, Social Security Card, Insurance card (tribal employees), Navajo
voter registration, letters from Social Security regarding SSI, WIC
certification, DD -214 for vets, vet med card, birth certificate, BIA
Affidavit of Birth, marriage license, Certificate of Indian Blood,
Horizon Card and if you really are prepared your last x-rays, dental
record, and results from your last blood draw. You have to know where
exactly you have them in your purse too, because if you are slow, the
clerks turn all sorts of colors, blue, green, red and smoke comes from
their ears. They sure get mad and you are just trying to get into get
to first base. You know just to get in so they can take your
temperature and blood pressure. This is the clinic experience.

I am talking about just seeing a doctor, to have some one check you
over, to talk to you and give you the "pills" you need. No, this is
the time way before you see a doctor. Now days a nurse practitioner or
physicians' assistant will check you over. I remember we were there,
it was not too long ago, maybe two weeks, dahtsi' (maybe).

Well, if you get a break and are headed that way, maybe going to
Farmington or up North to the Ute Casino, drop by the Shiprock
Hospital, and there in the waiting room you will find my aunt, Helen
Begay, her hair is all white, she's 94, and she is wearing a maroon
colored scarf with yellow flowers. She is kind of a short lady,
wearing a blue denim jacket with a fur collar and a blue floor length

If she is in the mood to watch the crowd coming in she will be wearing
dark glasses, if she is still feeling sick, she won't be doing much
but sitting there. She is the only one there with White PJ Flyers on,
those old white canvas tennis shoes, high tops they are. We left her
there two weeks ago and she still is waiting for the doctor to see
her. Say hello for me, but you have to yell at her for her to hear
you, it is ok. she is used to it, those nurses do it all the time.
They even yelled at me and my hearing is ok...well it used to be until
they started yelling at it hurts when I hear loud noise and
TV is on a little louder than it used to be.... Yes she is sick and
tired, probably from the hospital waiting room...say hello to her for
me....o.k. rustywire

The Spring

The Spring
by Johnny Rustywire
I stood with my grandson, I am an old man and we came to my spot on
this mountain top. I have been here many times and with me, all those
that have come before have taken a little of their vision and shared
it with me.

I can see far and it is pretty, clear across the valley and all the
places there. My sight is not so good but I know it looks the same, it
is beautiful.

My great grandson has helped me to this spot. I can not remember his
name, but he looks a little like me when I was his age. His body is
young and strong. He helped to stand tall and erect. I told him the
story of his fathers and how we had survived to bring him life. His
eyes are bright, wide and innocent. He listens patiently to the
rambling talk of an old man.

Look over there, that is the place I have spoken about, it is a
spring. There you will find fresh cold water. When you are thirsty you
can take a drink and wash yourself on a hot day. You can lie down next
to it on the grass, soft earth and enjoy the day.

He looked at me and said, I can't see it.

I can not see so clearly, but I know it is there. I tell him how it
sits against the mountain, how the earth is cracked there and a small
stream flows into a pool, somehow made through time. My vision is not
that good. I tell him how it has always looked.

There is nothing there, Shi Che' (honored grandfather) There is only a
road and an oil well.

Oh, yes, I remember. The tribe was having a hard time and so the need
for money was great, those were tough times.

Someone needed the water to put back into the earth to bring up oil
way down there, below. My spring is no more.

Where have we gone with these things my grandson, I am sorry it is not
here for you.

I didn't take care of it like I should have and now it is gone. I
can't remember all that was here, but yet some of these things are

Remember there was a time when it was there and that it refreshed us
so. I wish I could give you a drink.

How is it so that this water is gone forever. Who can take away water,
but yet it is so. The grass is gone and so is the quiet spot. I stand
here, and those behind me in the shadows, my fathers weep and so I
find myself standing with tears streaming down my cheeks. I feel old
and tired and my soul hungers for what was once ours. My heart cries
our a mourning song for the morning dove, the plants, the mountain
tobacco and the quiet times that are no more.

John Martin, is Coyote64, he writes news stories for the Ute Bulletin,
runs the paper almost all by himself, been doing it a while. He once
told me, that growing up in Nevada he wanted to go to school, to
college and had no car to go anywhere, so he got on a bike and rode it
to Provo, Utah where BYU is located. They told him he had to cut his
hair, so he got on his bike and went further north to the University
of Utah.

He started writing some years ago, did some time in the service and
started writing for the small tribal newspaper. He has worked late
including this past week to put the paper together every two weeks. He
is the photographer, writer, editor, columnist and layout person.

The Ute Bulletin is run by the Ute Indian Tribe, Fort Duchesne, Utah
and John has been working there for some time now. He stands about
foot, I wouild say, a slim tall guy dressed in blue jeans, boots,
western shirt and wears a scarf around his neck as a bandana. He has
had braided hair for as long as I can remember.

Sometimes we have lunch, this past week we ate some cooked chicken and
tea, talking about his trip back to Nevada and his little girl who
lives somewhere up in Oregon or Washington. He used to be married but
not anymore, his ex is a teacher somewhere, he doesn't talk about her
much but he does talk about his little girl a lot. She stays with her
mother, far away from him, so he doesn't get to see her very often,
but now is hooked by email with her and they get together through

John told me he was feeling a little tired, he stays by himself with
two horses and a cat. He is 66 but doesn't look it, you would think he
is much younger. He writes fairly well, and has a good ear for
listening to folks, and is well read. We talked about a book by
Fielding the English author and to hear him tell it, you could see him
standing outside the Western back then just watching the characters of
the book. He is a pretty good storyteller and has a good laugh.

Some native writers are famous, others are rich but John just tries to
keep the paper going. He should be retired but the tribe asked him to
stay on and he is still working. He told me the other day that he is
not feeling very well, his body is telling him to slow down, but he
keeps going because writing is his life.

He covers the beat, the rez road, on the pow wow highway, the kids in
school, those events important to the tribe and writes a columnCoyote
Tales and another giving advice to a young person, creating stories
out of thin air and teaching about life and culture. I think he is
writing to his little girl, I am not sure but he goes on every week.

In the accolades that follow a man around, those things that speak of
your achievenemts, there aren't any national awards from the Native
American Journalist Association being given to him and he hasn't
written a book of any kind. He is still learning to use a computer and
is new to the workings of the internet, but in the end when the lights
go out there is on light on, at the Ute News building and you can see
John standing there pasting the paper together to get it out the next

He is quiet, not brash or outspoken, he is quietly intelligent and
when he really talks to you, he talks pretty straight and I like that
about him. If it were me I would give him enough to retire on, but
since the tribe does not have retirement program and he isn't from
this rez, he writes as if he were born here and does it week after
week, month after month. In some ways he is one of the guideposts, a
beacon of light for me with this integrity and life experiences he
shares from time to time. He always tells the kids to keep going, to
to go on to school and be something. He says hello to everybody and
that is a reward in and of itself. I am lucky that he calls me a
friend of his and for that I am grateful. His e-mail address is, or John Martin, Box 190, Fort Duchesne, Utah
84026. Send him an email and let him know writing for small tribal
paper is worth the time and effort that he has given it


I remember a time when I sat down and talked with someone for a long time, and one of the things said was how can you tell what a person is like by looking at them, can you see their goodness, the soul, their background, their hopes and dreams as well their struggles. No you can not and that is the trajedy of it all.

Who Am I and where am I going and who my friend are you. There have been times I would stripped the skin off my body and shown you my soul, but there have beent times I would have hidden even that from you. I would hope and pray that I would take the time to listen to you and no matter the tone of your skin that I might be able to look into your eyes and see a little of your soul.

I would hope that I can be a better person, that in my struggle to be myself, to try to set a higher standard in treating all those I find just as myself, that I can do this all the time and not just on occasion.

Excuse me, for I am lost in my own self and forget that it is not about shade of color, money or station in life, but that we get by with the help of one another. Take it easy my friend and if by chance we don't know each other, I would tell you, I am Native and welcome you to this place, it is my land, my country and though there are many sad stories to tell and injustices done, it is still a free country. I stand and I can speak and act as a man, and would hope that I can still listen to the voice of your heart and know that you too are one of the people, men just like me, and that you have families, friends, hopes and dreams and sometimes struggles as well, so I bid you a kind word and wish you well and say go in peace, find yourself and if by chance we should meet, bid me well and say, hello my brother and I will turn and nod that says, yes my friend we travel this road together... rustywire

Chiliman and boy named Chee

Tahzii' (Turkey!) Tahzii' Tahzii

"Why does he keep saying that?" Nahgebah (Nah-gee-bah) said, looking at her 5-year-old nephew, Chee.

"Tahzii', Tahzii', Tahzii" he said again. He was worried about Thanksgiving, about not having a Tahzii' (Turkey) for Thanksgiving Dinner.

"Tahzii, Tahzii', Tahzii" Chee said, his small round eyes looking out the window, down Frisco street, the Southside of Flagstaff, his parents had moved into a small apartment behind the Manhattan Club, a hard luck bar that was across the alley. The light reflected all kinds of colors of the broken wine and beer bottles that lined the alleyway separating their place from the back door of the bar.

"We won't need a Tahzii' Sharlene said, “We can cook him!" pointing at Chee, who looked at her quickly with large eyes and she laughed at him.
"Don't say that!" Nahgebah said.

The little boy with curious eyes had been looking out the window and watched the world from this spot. He saw men and women standing out there with brown paper bags, drinking Roma wine, cheap liquor. They were out there all the time, some standing, and some staggering as they walked around falling down, some dirty and dressed in rags. Some just layed out there until the police came and picked them up..

His mother told him, not to talk to them, not to look at them, don't take anything from them even if they want to give you a candy bar she said. He didn't speak to them; he would just look and then run inside. Some he saw all the time. It was a strange world, far different than Shiprock where they had lived..

His mother was off working somewhere and her sisters were watching him.
They were teenagers and they were mean to him, Nahgebah and Sharlene. They were in high school raised there in town and thought living on the Navajo reservation was uncivilized, they were "Town Navajos"; much better than those who came from the Gap, Grand Falls, Dennehotso, Cow Springs and Shiprock and a host of other places they didn't want to know about or cared for..

"Tahzii', where is the Tahzii'? " he would say over and over. The two girls got tired of him saying it..

Chee could see Che' (Grandfather) the old man somewhere way out there where he lived in Dinetah. Chee could run around there and no one cared, but here he was cooped up like a chicken all day.

Chee remembered he saw some tahzii's in a pen at his Che's and they were always around. Che' told him that they were there to help them those tahzii’s. long ago there was a boy who was poor and left his home to make his way in the world and he left his home near Two Gray Hills and went to Dibensa, the mountain and when he left he was followed by a tahzii', a companion who kept him company during his time there.

This tazhii' taught the Mountain Boy to walk in a circle to find his way sometimes, making the e circle a little bit bigger each day starting from a place he knew and then going out a little further each time.

They were put there to help the Dine', the Navajo people, like his family long ago. The Mountain Boy was alone and poor dressed in rags, and the tazhii' walked in a circle and the boy followed and each
day this happened the Mountain Boy learned something new..

In doing this the Mountain Boy found out about other people and places and how they lived. His Che' told him that when you caught a tazhii' that sometimes they have things hidden in their wings and when you
caught one and held it up you could see a rainbow in their wings..

This boy from long ago carried the bird and learned some things from it; it was a special bird, a friend to him. It was a long story and Chee used to dream about that Tahzii'. Che' told him that it was put there to help Navajos, his people, Tsinalbiiltnii, Mountain People Clan and that it was here a long time and that is why Che' kept them.

During this time, Keshmish Yazhi- Little Christmas the tazhii' would be fixed up and they would gather as a family, and he would see his cousins, his brothers in the Navajo way of speaking and they would play and run around all over the place..

Chee could see that these people outside his window were different from the ones he had known, they were there and then they were gone. They carried on with the bottles they were drinking, breaking them on the ground as they finished them.

Chee would look at them and seeing the broken bottles, the small pieces of glass and wonder if these were the special jewels he had heard the Twin Heroes had gathered for gifts to their father. They glistened under the lights of the bar, all colors, red, blue, green, brown and clear. He sometimes picked them up and held them in his hand, they were pretty, but his
mother told him they were glass and could cut him..

Chee's father was gone, working in California for the Southern Pacific railroad laying tracks. He would be back to pick them up and they would be going with him to live on a railroad car.

He had seen his cousins at Belmont on a railroad car; it was place that rolled around on wheels. He wondered how would be to live on such a thing. His father left to work and to find a railroad car for them to live in.

It was his father's people that came from Two Gray Hills and he missed seeing them and only knew the place from when he heard people talk about it, he didn't know where it really was, except it was long ways

Chee waited by the door and watched the outside world go by, sometimes when his mother went home they went to Chacon's store on Frisco Street; he was kind Nakai man who gave him a penny candy when he went in. They would go and stand in line next door and get relief, commodity food with other people. He saw the kids there, some were like him, others he tried to talk to but they couldn't understand him, he was told these were Nakai, (Mexicans) a different people who spoke in another way. .

It was that day, he heard it on the radio, KCLS, and the announcer said Thanksgiving was here. Chee looked around and his aunts were getting dressed to go to Indian Mission for some kind of show,

somewhere, but he didn't know where it was. His mother's sisters, Nahgebah and Sharlene told him to go to sleep and then left him behind. When he woke he was all alone and he began to cry to be by himself. Why had they left him behind? He looked outside and wished his mother was home but she didn't come when he called. He stood by the window and cried.

There was this one old man who came around and he would drink out there every day, staggering around and drank with different people. Chee would watch him sometimes and see him walk funny, sometimes the old man would try to talk to him; he talked Dine Bizaad, the Navajo language. He spoke like his mother. His aunts would hide when they saw him come by, standing out there, they called him "Chili Man", because when he got mad and started shouting his head would turn all red..

It was him who was outside and heard the boy, Chee crying. He came to the window and said, "What is wrong?" in Navajo..

Chee talked better Navajo than Beligana (English) and said his mother was gone and his aunts had left him alone and he cried out loud for his mother. The Glahnees (Winos) in the alley just looked at him and
said, poor boy, but continued to drink and just looked at him every once in a while..

In those days people didn't want to get involved with such things, they kept to themselves, it was the rough part of town, and so the little boy cried and called out for his mother for a long time and no
one came. It grew dark, and he kept calling for her and for his Che' and the turkey he wanted..

In the light of the bar across the way, he could see that someone was coming, carrying a bag and some cooked food. It was the one they
called Chili Man, he was carrying a gunnysack and he reached in through the screen door and opened it. The boy's eyes were swollen from crying and he could see that Chili Man came into the place.

He reached in the bag and gave the boy some Kneel Down Bread and Sweet Corn Cake. It was traditional food and he liked the taste. He could see the old man go into the kitchen and do some things, he was not
sure what he was doing, so he just watched..

The old man turned around and he had a plate full of food and it was turkey, with dressing and gravy and some sweet potatoes. The little boy sat at the table and the old man fed him a little at a time, by
the spoonful. He talked to him and sang him a song his mother used to sing to him. He made him laugh as he told him some stories about Tazhii' and the mountain boy, like he remembered Che' telling him. The
old man had a strong laugh and was easy to talk to, but something inside him made him wonder why his aunts hid when they saw him around. It was as if he knew them somehow..

It was then that Sharlene and Nahgebah came home and saw the old man sitting at the table with Chee the little boy. One got a broom and the other a stick and they told him to get out. It was then that the old
man stood up and started to talk to them, scolding them for leaving the little boy alone, that his mother was working and they had left his Shi'Na"hli" (Little One) all alone. The girls yelled at him and started hitting him with the broom and told him to get out, "Get Out Chili Man, Get Out!" they said. He left and ran out the door running down the alley into the night.

Later when his mother got home after working all day, he told her what happened even though his aunts had said not to say anything about it. Chee told his mother what happened. She listened carefully to him when he said, they called him Chili Man, and as he said his name, his mother asked him to say what they called him again, and he said Chili Man.

She sat there for while and looked away out the window and there were tears in her eyes as she looked outside. She sat him down and Chee asked his mother, "What's wrong Shima?" She looked at him and said, that man, the one they called "Chili Man" is my father. He is your Che' (Grandfather) too.

Chee sat there and smiled at his mother and said, I wished for my Che' to come and get me and he did, he did. He heard me and came. He made me laugh Shima.

She sat there and told him about the old man, and how he couldn't live in the city and had no place on Dinetah (Navajoland) to go to, that he had lost his parents long ago and lived anywhere he was. The little
boy told her that he knew the story of Mountain Boy and Tazhii' and had told him about the way things were back then in the Navajo Way.
After a while, the two, Chee and his mother went out into the streets under the lights of the honkytonks went from place to place and found him standing outside the Rose Tree and brought him home. Chili Man
stayed with them and gave up the life he led before and that is how it came to be that Chili Man found his way back home one Thanksgiving back then in Kinlani (Flagstaff as they called it back then in the Navajo way of saying things). So it goes sometimes with little boys named Chee.

beyond two gray hills

it was on the road to Shiprock, the narrow trail of black asphalt that
winds it way to the horizon, along tis path over time the footsteps
and sound of horses have been muffled by the wind and sage. Way beyond
the sight of any road in the cleft of a hill, there sits a small
wooden house with an old green roof. In that place the sights, sounds
of laughter, children and work made life easy. Hauling water, cutting
fire wood waiting to go school before the early light of day, watching
the sun rise and set and laying a trail of colors from blue, to black,
gold, yellow, pink and Navajo red. In the silence of the open road the
voices, songs of old come to mind. Sitting listening to the old men,
and the old women as the spoke of things that happened before my life
began, when there were no chidis-cars on the road. In silence I pass
the place called Burnham Junction and head South to Albuquerque
through Gallup, and looking west I can see the place of my births, the
line of my father going back.

There is no one there now, the place is empty, the wind howls and it
is cold outside. Who will know the stories of the people there, the
times and winter sings. Tell me Grandfather where this road I travel
will lead, it has taken me far from home and in passing here I see but
glimpse of light on the horizon, Where does it go?

Twin Heros, sitting at the head of the earth, navajo mountain, can you
see me run along the edge of the horizon, looking for a place to rest.
The cold wind blows, and is just before early light. I drive on and my
heart crys for the home I have left behind. It is there just over the
hill. I want find the beauty way, and it is beyond my sight, where
does this road go. It goes to places foreign and I long to turn
around. Hozhogo nahasdlii...


Dawn Girl

In the early morning, when the sweet taste of dew is on the land, just
a taste of sweet life, it shines in the early light and the air is
crisp and clean she runs. In the days of summer, winter and windblown
fall and under the slim showers of spring she runs to East, along the
horizon where the beginning of day chases the night away. In the early
light of blue black skys she sees the hint of turquoise blue, in the
shimmer of gray light, a tint of pink, blue and gold she runs to the
break of day, always to the east.

Running with leggings, buckskin wrapped, in red mocassins this navajo
girl with long black hair, she runs her legs moving against the
ground, across the long distant mesas, across the flat lands, running
along the rainbows edge. Can you see her, she is beating the ground
with the sound of her feet, her heart pounds and she breathes in the
whistling wind, it is a the rhythm of the new day, a new life, the old
of yesterday falls away with the night.

In this light I can see her run, far away to the South, along the
horizon, racing along it's edge. Grandfather would say to me it is
time to get up, she has beaten you already, you must catch up. Slowly
my eyes opened to see the wooden ceiling, and the dim light of a
kersone lamp sitting on the table in the middle of the room. The sound
of sparrows singing flows through th e window.

These sounds come to mind the slight flutter of wings, the thunk of my
tennis shoes slipping on to my feet, and the squeek of the screen door
and the scrunch of the ground as I could hear my feet walking along
the path going east through the cedar trees, the faint light of day on
the horizon.

She is running and I step forward to catch her, she is fast that one.
I wonder what she looks like, limber, with long strides, her hair
rustling with the breeze, if she were to look at me she would say to
me, don't you see it is time to clear your mind, think about what is n
front of you, the stillness of the sage, the sound of the wind flowing
through the trees and rabbit brush. I slowly run step by step and see
the trail before me, it is just before first light and I am running to
meet the day.

I can see the colors of dawn, and far off to the East I run to see it.
The sound comes to mind, the song and the chant. A time for summer
sings, and the beautyway.

In beauty it begins, may goodness find me
Let the beauty way follow me where ever I go,
Let there be beauty before me
Let there be beauty behind me
Let there be beauty to the left of me
Let there be beauty to the right of me
In all that I do let there be beauty
Let me wrap my self in it

Hozhogo Nahasdlii
Hshoogo Hahasdlii

Restore me with beauty
Restore me with beauty

So I run to meet the Dawn
Dawn Girl runs on the horizon
She has beaten me again.

Cow Feathers

Over the weekend I was at the trading post and happened to see a nice
harley pull up, a 1200 custom job, with extended forks and a guy got
off with a grizzled beard, dark glasses and leather vest.

He came in the store and was looking for bottled water. at the counter he stood in front of me and I could see a tattoo on his arm. It was a picture in color of a cows head, more a texas longhorn head with two indian feathers sticking out of the side of it.

I have never seen a tatoo like that before and it made me laugh. He
looked at me and I didn't say anything.

I noticed he paid with a credit card and had perfect teeth. I suspect he was a yuppie who came from the city and was trying to fit in.

He left the trading post and got on his motorcycle and I could see him
bouncing up and down the rutted road heading to Two Gray Hills to buy
a Navajo rug.

He was going to have a pretty bumpy ride on that road and I could see he bounced all the way down the road and disappeared over the horizon going very slow.