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

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Highway 98, between Page and Shonto, Arizona, 2013. The light announces more rain to the land
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Lorena Nelson, Shonto, Arizona, 2013. Lorena spins wool of her Churro sheeps
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Black Mesa, Arizona, 2017
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Mary Laughter, Shonto, Arizona, 2013. Mary, 84, a shepard now retired shops at the trading post
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Kanab, Utah, 2008. Rancheros
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Page, Arizona, 2013. No land is off limits to the developpers in Page
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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
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Betatakin, Arizona, 2013. Mary Martinez makes wedding baskets in front of her Hogan made of pinion and cedar wood
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Lake powell, resort, Arizona, 2013. Picture hunting from the edge
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Lake Powell, Arizona, 2013. One of the two million a year Lake Powell visitors gets ready to embark with his toy
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Alyia Johnson, Pinion, Arizona, 2013. Alyia trains with her favorite horse
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On highway 98, Arizona, 2013. Bikers and power plant
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Monument Valley, Utah - Arizona, 2013. Safari tour in Monument Valley
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Kayenta, Arizona, 2017. Pearl is selling jewelry to tourists on their way to Monument Valley
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Goulding’s Lodge, Monument Valley, Utah, 2017. Goulding’s old stagecoach from John Ford’s movie “Stagecoach” starring John Wayne
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Monument Valley, Utah - Arizona, 2013. A brief respite in a long day
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Antelope Canyon, Arizona, 2013. More than 160,000 walk through those narrows each year
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Monument Valley, Utah, 2017. Liona gets paid 4 dollars per room for clean up, there are 12 rooms to clean each day at Goulding’s Lodge
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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
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Safeway parking, Page, Arizona, 2013. Vanessa Joe and baby Raelyn in a cedar wood cradle
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The Navajo Generating Station, Page, Arizona, 2013. Security warning
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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
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Kayenta, Arizona, 2017. Corey cleans the side of Highway 160 for tourists on their way to Monument Valley
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Winslow, Arizona, 2017
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Dilkon, Arizona, 2017. Cody is from the Yaqui tribe, he has to adapt to the Navajo world
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Dilkon, Arizona, 2017. Kyana Miss Southwest
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Around Farmington, New Mexico, 2017. Weaving at the chapter council
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Gallup, New Mexico, 2017
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Window Rock, Arizona, 2017. Capital of the Navajo Nation
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Window Rock, Arizona, 2017. Swap meet
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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”
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Highway 64, between Shiprock and Farmington, New Mexico, 2017
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Marshall Johnson, Blue Gap, Arizona. Marshall stands by a “earth fissure” filled recently by rain
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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
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Tsahbiikin, Arizona, 2013. Julian and his daughter Jessica, 7, are trying to make a living from Micro Farming
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The Enchantment Resort, Sedona, 2013. Whatever water was left by the mine is now pumped by the resort for its cricket field
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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
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Lake Powell resort, Arizona, 2013
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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
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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
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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
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Farmington, New Mexico, 2017. One of several booming fracking sites around the area
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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
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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”
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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"
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Around Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, 2017. Old and dangerously toxic fracking machine
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Around Farmington, New Mexico, 2017. Daniel Tso is an activist, trees burnt after firre on a fracking site
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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
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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”