count your blessings part II

writing from the Navajo Indian Reservation...Arizona

  One reader asked if anything could be done about the terrible conditions out here...

The answer is yes...but not by the US government or the Navajo government.  Both entities are locked in years of bureaucratic red tape.  Everybody looks, cries, and screams this "needs to be fixed".

However, everyone has there own idea of "fixed" and consequently very little gets done.

As far as the U.S. government involvement, it looks as if they will be cutting back "financial help"due to the
current economic conditions.  That's just the assumption by some local Navajo Politico's.

However, the Navajo nation has changed their governmental structure from 80 plus members to 20 plus members.  I am assuming that is an effort to reduce the "inside problems'" on the Nation.

Outside entities like the one I work  with,"Operation 2911", help by bringing in food and clothing.  We work with the churches on the reservation.  Our group is non-denominational.  We work with all group that need and will accept our assistance.

The really good news,on this trip, is that the Navajo Nation council is very close to approving a working relationship with a group that wants to come in and build prefab low cost housing for the reservation.  Hopefully that will happen.  However, the biggest problem (as I see it) out  here is the inability of the Navajos to agree on projects and the ease of having any project blocked,  If the housing project gets through all the local politics, the Navajo council president can veto it and then it's basically over.

more...later...after I get some sleep

Count your blessings

Writing this week from Kaibeto, Az. in the heart of the Navajo Indian reservation.
The prompt this week is "everybody hurts sometime".
Out here on the reservation you could say that "everybody hurts most of the time" especially in an area known as Black Rock.  Black Rock is in the part of the reservation that is referred to as The  "Bennett Freeze" area.  Some stats about the area and a few pictures.

In 1966, Robert Bennett, then commissioner of Indian Affairs, stopped all development on 1.6 million acres of tribal land in Arizona that was claimed by both the Navajo Nation and the Hopi tribe.

Bennett imposed the ban to stop either tribe from taking advantage of the other while they negotiated ownership.  The ban became known as the Bennett Freeze and initially affected approximately 8,000 Navajo tribal members.

No development meant no new homes, no home expansions and no home repairs.  They were not even allowed to fix roofs or windows.  They could not start any type of businesses and they were not allowed new schools, paved roads, electricity, gas or water.
The United States government flew helicopters and planes over the area and if any development or repair work was discovered they were made to take it out.

The area and the Navajos that live there have also been adversely affected by industrial mining operations for coal and uranium.
There are approximately 1300 uranium mines located within the Bennett Freeze area, most of which have been abandoned without proper cleanup, resulting in soil and water contamination.

Here are some of the statistics from the area.
  • Average unemployment of Navajo Nation is 65%... former Bennett Freeze area is 95%
  • 77% of homes are considered uninhabitable by U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • 97% of the homes of DO NOT HAVE electricity
  • 90% of the homes DO NOT HAVE running water
  • 10% of the populace must make a daily trip someplace for uncontaminated water
  • Cancer rates among teenagers living near mine tailings are 17 times the national average
  • Reproductive-organ cancer in teenage girls is 17 times the national average
  • Infant mortality rate is 7.5 times the national average
  • Area has high rate of teenage suicide

Yes, we all hurt sometime, but these

"tongue in cheek" of my favorite words...who among us cannot conjure up hundreds of different visions when the word "tongue" is spoken or written.

     Tongue idioms circle the globe in every country and every language.  They  can be used to describe almost anything a writer or speaker wants to convey.

    The speaker told his joke with "tongue in cheek" but the audience wished that he had "bit his tongue" and one member of the audience even yelled out that he would have a better chance of getting elected if "the cat got his tongue".

     My favorite is "don't let the door hit you in tongue on the way out".  What?...I know your thinking, "that's not an idiom" or "who the hell said that"?

     Well, Jeanie Bingle said that when I was ogling her "oh so delicious body" way back when I was still able to ogle correctly and I might have even been able to perform to those ogles if Jeanie Bingle had been so inclined.  But, alas poor Grizz, she wasn't and she sent me on my way with those words.

     So, even though, the rest of the world may not agree, I believe it is an idiom that should make the list.  I don't believe there is a man in the world that has not had the same experience and it's not my fault that only girl wise enough to say those words was Jeanie Bingle.

     Of course, I tell you this short tale with "tongue in cheek".

Note:  Old Grizz will be on the Navajo Indian reservation for next week trying to help what little I can.  So, if you are so inclined to leave a word or two, I will be grateful. If I can get service over there I will try and respond and drop a note on your blog.  If not, I will catch up when I get back.

 Ahéhee' and Hágoónee' (thank you and goodbye)...said with Navajo  "tongue in cheek"

sorry, I must decline

three words that mingle in the life of an egret and a mole
their eyes meet in the nest of the bird
two for dinner
an understanding...a knowledge
between them
one to die so that one may live
the invitation confusing
for the mole
maybe it would be better
if he came back another time
he does not wish for a transition
into a meal
or a unity that makes him
a part of you
maybe a buffer 
so that he
may continue to be
and you continue to be
just you

written for

A heavy load

My bones  among the crosses
What I died for
My soul
 In the clouds, the trees, the lakes
Walking among you
What  I died for?
My blood, my guts, my brains…rotting
What  I died for?
A language, a culture, a belief
Our language, our culture, our belief
Or theirs
That I cannot fathom
May the cross above my bones
Not be the cross of
For that which was
Our Freedom
Our Freedom to be
Our Freedom to work
Our Freedom to reap what we would earn
Our Freedom from taxes for the king
Our Freedom from taxes for the British
How is that different today
I died for that
No for
every person in the world?
So that they may come and take
what I died for
What my fathers and their fathers
Fought and died for
My bones...their bones
Cannot carry the load

Wordless Wednesday

silence please

 my mind
trying to create

moping grandchildren
upset wife

an animal being stalked
a boss at raise time

a query from an agent
a response to my book

what I asked for
so I could write

sometimes not good
please...someone...scream at me