Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Final Spring Food Runs

by John Aldrich

The final runs of the spring food run sequence, Sanders, Big Mountain, and Teesto are again based out of Winslow, AZ. During the previous week the base was Chinle, AZ, for the runs to Many Farms, Tsaile, and Pinon. Wind remained a dominant factor throughout these events and was particularly forceful at Many Farms and Sanders.

According to the Navajo Times the wind reached a velocity of  77 mph near Leupp on the day of the Sanders run. This was actually stronger than the wind two weeks earlier when all the signs blew over and the power went out in Winslow. But following that we had beautiful conditions for the food runs to Big Mountain and Teesto.

At the start of each set of food runs the volunteers pose for a group photo. Here we are out on the Land in Sanders. The wind was blowing but didn't reach full force until an hour or two later.

Sanders is located in an area of the reservation referred to as the New Lands. As a result of the land dispute in the 1970's and 1980's many Navajos were relocated from areas near the Hopi reservation such as Big Mountain and Coal Mine Mesa. This area, south of I40 near Sanders is where many ended up, many miles from their original homelands.
The hospitality of the White family in hosting the Sanders food run is represented here by the pot of coffee on the fire. All are welcome and made to feel at home.

Inside the shade house the "kitchen committee" headed by Sharon Prescott (near left) prepares sandwiches for the meal that is served at each run. The structure provided relief from the wind although sand and dust could easily find a way through the cracks in the siding.

Michelin Man, aka Steve McGeeny, shows how the wind can turn a jacket into a balloon.

Thankfully, by the next day the wind had abated, and the weather was ideal for the Big Mountain food run. This is the largest of all the food runs with 89 Elders. It is also the area where Linda initially established the Program 24 years ago.

In this photo the Elders are seated in a large circle around the tarp which has clothing items which they will be able to choose from later. Between Elders, their families, and the volunteers, there are easily three hundred people here at the Homeland of the Robertson family.

Following the food run program and the meal, volunteers have an opportunity to view and purchase rugs, jewelry, and other crafts brought by the Elders and their families. Due to the size of this food run, there are many choices.

At Teesto we were again blessed with a beautiful day. The Teesto food run is hosted by Anita Jackson and her family who have built a special structure for the event and cook for several days in preparation for the run. This photo shows members of the South Valley Unitarian Church (Salt Lake City) youth group and their parents. Through the inspiration and effort of Mac and Sheri Lund, longtime ANE volunteers, this group was able to attend the Big Mountain and Teesto runs. They spent nearly a year planning for this event which appeared to be a rewarding experience for everyone.

Devoice Medford greets Anita in this photo. Devoice and her daughter drove from North Carolina to Winslow for the second year in a row to be a part of this food run.

Members of the youth group, along with volunteer Alice Sikorsky, pose after preparing clothing for the tarp. Clothing is collected throughout the year at the warehouse in Salt Lake City and then transported to the reservation for the tarp event at the food runs.

This photo shows people lined up for the meal being served at the run. The large structure resembling an open-sided  hogan was built by the Jackson family to host the Teesto food runs.

A final image shows an amicable scarecrow erected on Anita's property. Her grandson thought it was to "keep the coyotes away", but the friendly expression suggests that everyone is welcome here.

Now that the spring food runs are completed, we will be turning our attention to summer events for the Program and looking ahead to the fall food runs and the rug show.

1 comment:

  1. Once again, amazing photos. The pot on the fire is great, also seeing the food, the watermelon and all the volunteers. Best for me is seeing the Big Mountain pictures as my adopted Elders are there somewhere! Thank you.