by John Aldrich
The Pinon food run is one of my favorites. After working at inside locations that are cramped and/or dark at Many Farms and Tsaile, we are finally outside in the fresh air and sun. It's also a small run which is nice. We are at Jane Benale's homeland which is actually much closer to Forest Lake than it is to Pinon. This is a very remote location on the flank of Black Mesa and on the edge of the Hopi reservation. The following photo shows the layout of the food run.
A walk around the area revealed several things of interest. Heating for the Benales involves both wood and coal thanks to their proximity to the Black Mesa coal mines. Here's a supply of both in back of the house.
During the severe winter of the previous year, local residents would sit in line for many hours at the coal mine to pick up their load.
The Benales also have a very old hogan nearby which is always fun to photograph.
The Rainbow Circle for the food boxes is laid out using a rope marked off with the location for each set. Fred Palmer secures the rope on the ground as Mac Lund rolls it out.
Here is the completed Rainbow Circle with the tarp in the foreground.
Jane Benale was honored with the ANE Pendelton blanket at this food run. The Elders seem very impressed when the creation of the blanket is described and enjoy seeing the name of their food run featured.
During each food run program the volunteers are introduced to the Elders. There are many expressions of surprise and gratitude when they learn that people have traveled from as far away as Florida and Vermont to meet and serve them.
At the conclusion of the run, when Elders have a chance to sell their rugs and jewelry, Janet and Dave Reffert purchased this nice Klagetoh pattern from Mary Bitsui
Lorraine Black is an occasional guest at Pinon. Lorraine belongs to a family of famous basket makers and sometimes brings a few of her masterpieces to sell.
This basket was purchased for roughly half what it would have cost at a trading post.
Malcolm Benale had just finished a book about the years of the Navajo-Hopi land dispute which severely affected thousands of Navajos on this area of the reservation. He autographed copies and sold all that he brought.