by John Aldrich
Our first food runs of the year took place last week with our visits to Oljato and Navajo Mountain. Oljato is often a windy place, and with lots of sand to blow about, it can sometimes be a challenge to be outdoors there. Last year, though, we had perfect weather, and the same held true this year. Let's hope this is a trend that will continue.
The day prior to the food run we met at the San Juan Inn in Mexican Hat in the late afternoon. It's a happy time of rejoining old friends and meeting new ones.
Following a brief orientation, we had our food run ceremony. The theme for the spring season is the Eagle and each participant had a chance to share something about this majestic bird that holds so much significance to Native Americans.
Also at the ceremony Linda continued the recent tradition of honoring special volunteers with the gift of an ANE Pendleton blanket. Julie and Jeff Williams who have been an important part of the Program for 23 years were recipients of this honor.
The following morning, food run day, we gathered again on the patio of the motel for specific instructions about the upcoming event. This is our eleventh year of taking food and giveaways to the Elders at Oljato.
There isn't enough room in the parking lot of the motel to line up our vehicles for smudging, so we drive a short distance toward Monument Valley and pull over along the roadside to accomplish this ritual.
The official "greeters" at the door were Fientje Allis, Virginia Aldrich, and Tineke Pols. Tineke, a cousin of Fientje's, came with her husband, Piet, from Holland.
When all the giveaways are complete, both from the Program and individual volunteers, each Elder has quite a collection of items. Tom Atene sits here with his portion.