The New Pathfinders

The new pathfinders

September 2013. I progress slowly, getting closer to the Indian reservation of Hopi and Navajo people, in Arizona. Wild and spectacular. The New World, and its two worlds, Indian and Anglo. Abundance and affluence of the tourists' tide that floods the day. Timeless presence of the aborigines. Brief encounter in full sun. The time it takes to them to sell the visitors the artifacts of their dreams. One is here since time exists, and it seems, until it will extinguish. The other just passing, as he always did, and it seems, always will. The Indian knows his land for generations, and teaches it to the future generations with application, no one here would think of missing a day at school. And carefully too, he learns his visitors. Capitalism, modernity, nothing but the new firearms. Practiced survivalist he is engaged to preserve, for all, the world where he is, its invisible balances revealed by its beauty, that all can see.

On the road, navigating these wide-open spaces, always-visible afar, the three spewing sisters, the high chimneys of the Navajo Generating Station of Page. Day and night burns here the coal brought from the Black Mesa plateau to illuminate hundreds of miles away the cities of Arizona, Nevada, California, and the nights of Las Vegas. Black Mesa, Indian reservation where people do without running water, or electricity.

Marshall and Nicole Johnson are raising here their three children, in Pinion, small community, poor and isolated in the middle of the Navajo Nation, the land that was left to them. Marshall and Nicole are "Nnataanii", "natural leaders", "elected chiefs" as explains Brett Isaac. Navajo native of the area, he engineers solar panels and installs them with friends and family all over the reservation.

Active ferments of a consciousness that has sustained life until progress came threatening it, they watch. Frugal maquisards, the Navajo Indians have invented before we thought it wise to live without spending more than the land could give. And, to not exhaust it in one generation they resist today the pressure of these projects larger than life of power plants and tourists sites to exploit mineral resources and beauty of the Earth. In them this dynamic belief that the land is not something entrusted to them by their ancestors but by their children, just the time for them to grow.
Self-reliance is the rule as is this intent education on how to take precious care of the land, that will give back in kind, with food and medicines.

The oppressor is powerful. The Indian apt and patient. Figuring on the list of the endangered species he has a unique voice to speak to mankind of its destiny.

Les nouveaux éclaireurs

Septembre 2013. Je progresse lentement et me rapproche de la réserve Navajo, en Arizona, traversant des paysages sauvages et spectaculaires. Le Nouveau Monde, et ses deux mondes: anglo et indien. Abondance et affluence de la marée de touristes qui envahit le jour. Présence intemporelle des aborigènes. Brêve rencontre. Le temps pour les uns de vendre leur illusions aux autres. L'un, là depuis toujours et semble t il, pour toujours, l'autre, de passage, depuis toujours, et semble t il peut être pour toujours. L'indien connaît son pays depuis des générations et il l'enseigne aux prochaines avec application. On ne rate pas un jour d'école ici. Et il apprend ses visiteurs. Capitalisme, modernité, les nouvelles armes a feu. Survivaliste permanent il est engagé à préserver pour tous le monde ou il est, ses équilibres invisibles révélés par sa beauté qui parle a tous.

Sur la route de ces grands espaces, toujours visible au loin, la Navajo Generating Station de Page, qui fume. Nuit et jour brule ici le charbon du plateau de Black Mesa qui fait briller au loin les villes d'Arizona, Nevada et Californie, et scintiller les nuits de Las Vegas. Black Mesa, réserve indienne ou l'on vit sans eau courante ni électricité.

Marshall et Nicole Johnson y élèvent leur trois enfants, au coeur de Pinion, petite communauté pauvre et isolée située au centre de la Navajo Nation, la terre qu'on leur a laissée. Marshall et Nicole sont "Nnataanii", leaders naturels, "élus chefs" comme dit Brett Isaac. Navajo lui aussi, il conçoit des panneaux solaires qu'il installe sur toute la réserve.

Ferments actifs d'une conscience qui a supporté la vie jusqu'au progrès qui la menace, ils veillent. Maquisards frugaux, les indiens Navajo ont inventé avant qu'on y revienne de vivre sans dépenser plus que la terre ne donnait. Et pour ne pas l'épuiser en une génération ils resistent aujourd'hui aux pressions des projets plus grands que nature des exploiteurs de gisements minéraux et de sites touristiques. Guidés par cette dynamique croyance que la terre ne leur vient pas transmise par leurs ancêtres, mais empruntée à leurs enfants le temps qu'ils grandissent.

Alors l'auto suffisance est de mise, comme l'est une savante éducation du soin de la terre, qui le rend bien, en nourritures et médicines naturelles.

L'oppresseur est puissant. L'indien apte et patient. Sur la liste des espèces en voie de disparition il a une voix unique pour parler aux hommes de leur destin

01 DSC_7767
Highway 98, between Page and Shonto, Arizona, 2013
03  26DSC_4357
Black Mesa, Arizona, 2017
03 DSC_5856
Mary Laughter, Shonto, Arizona, 2013
04 MG_0538
Kanab, Utah, 2008
05 DSC_4277
Page, Arizona, 2013
06 DSC_0476
Lamar Whitmer, Scottsdale, Arizona, 2013. Lamar is about to rein in Hopi and Navajo sacred land for his grand project of tramway, hotels, fast food and RV parks on the Grand Canyon park
07 DSC_9875
Betatakin, Arizona, 2013. Mary Martinez
08 DSC_2670
Lake powell, resort, Arizona, 2013
10 DSC_7682
Alyia Johnson, Pinion, Arizona, 2013
13 DSC_6658
Kayenta, Arizona, 2017
22 DSC_7228
Goulding’s Lodge, Monument Valley, Utah, 2017
14 DSC_1182
Antelope Canyon, Arizona, 2013
17 DSC_0687
Black Mesa, Arizona, 2017. Black Mesa Peabody abandoned coal mine. The pumping of the water by Peabody Energy has caused a severe decline in potable water and the disappearance of springs. Hopi and Navajo tribes consider water sacred, and have cultural, religious, and practical objections to over-use of water
18 DSC_1918
Safeway parking, Page, Arizona, 2013
19 DSC_7455
The Navajo Generating Station, Page, Arizona, 2013
20 DSC_2957
Dixie Alice Young, Highway 98, Arizona, 2013. The smoke gets to her place and leaves hashes everywhere like it’s the backyard of the plant
21 DSC_7349
Kayenta, Arizona, 2017
23 C8A0862
Winslow, Arizona, 2017
24 DSC_6221
Dilkon, Arizona, 2017
25 DSC_5831
Dilkon, Arizona, 2017. Kyana Miss Southwest
29 DSC_8302
Around Farmington, New Mexico, 2017. Weaving at the chapter council
30 DSC_9195
Gallup, New Mexico, 2017
31 DSC_7860
Window Rock, Arizona, 2017
28 DSC_7638
Window Rock, Arizona, 2017
32 DSC_7717
Window Rock, Arizona, 2017. There is no word in the Navajo language for the “methamphetamine” drug, the closest is one that means “eating your body”
33 DSC_7887
Highway 64, between Shiprock and Farmington, New Mexico, 2017
34 DSC_5206
Marshall Johnson, Blue Gap, Arizona. Marshall stands by a “earth fissure” filled recently by rain
35 DSC_5143
Blue Gap, Arizona, 2013. Jimmy, his wife Candy, and their children in front of their home. The crack is caused by the over exploitation of the underground
37 DSC_3552
Tsahbiikin, Arizona, 2013. Julian and his daughter Jessica, 7, are trying to make a living from Micro Farming
38 DSC_9665
The Enchantment Resort, Sedona, 2013. Whatever water was left by the mine is now pumped by the resort for its cricket field
39 DSC_6851
North of Pinion, Arizona, 2013. Marshall, and his daughter Kayla Johnson, and their dog Rico at a dry wash. The water pumped by the mine has depleted the aquifer
40 DSC_2696
Lake Powell resort, Arizona, 2013
41 DSC_7259
The Navajo Generating Station, Page, Arizona, 2013. Felix Fuller and Mike Collins lab chemists at the plant. A certain number of positions are reserved to Navajo people as the plant sits on Navajo land
42 DSC_5341
Pinion, Arizona, 2013. Raeanna, 12, Alyia, 5, and Cedric Johnson, 5. School finished early today because of an outage. At home, drawing under the light of LEDs
43 DSC_8550
Springs, New Mexico, 2017. Marlene Thomas, Health representative is regularly checking on her patients as fracking sites have popped up in their backyards and aggravated their health conditions
44 DSC_8727
Farmington, New Mexico, 2017. One of several booming fracking sites around the area
45 DSC_8494
Springs, New Mexico, 2017. Irene, 87, has been one of the “have not”. The fracking companies did not propose her any money for her land considered of no value to them. While they keep offering other families impressive amounts of money for digging exploitable soils
46 DSC_7924
Tulie Palooka Hurley, Scription House, Arizona, 2013. Tulie keeps his Navajo diary since 1940. “Living in a white’s man world, we’re losing our culture, our language, and our land”
47 DSC_8906
Shiprock, New Mexico, 2017. Duane Chilli Yazzie is a recognized community leader. In the 70’s he got shot in the arm by a hitchhiker. At a later time he organized a protest that lasted 7 weeks against racism in Farmington. He says: “The economic success of Farmington is also thanks to Navajo Nation"
49 DSC_8222
Around Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, 2017. Old and dangerously toxic fracking machine
48 DSC_8024
Around Farmington, New Mexico, 2017. Daniel Tso is an activist, trees burnt after firre on a fracking site
50 DSC_0285
Black Mesa, Arizona, 2017. Mikayla Johnson is digging the family compost, routine in their traditional way of living with great respect for the conservation of nature
51 DSC_0030
Baby Rocks, Arizona, 2013. Brett Isaac founded Shonto Energy, a local grass root organization producing solar panels. “Navajo Generating Station will have to adapt. We just want to be the solution”