by John Aldrich
This article is part of a series describing the various food runs that the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program conducts to eleven different locations around the Navajo Reservation. These locations are served in groups of two or three sites per trip. The articles will hopefully be of general interest but also serve as an orientation for prospective food run volunteers and for those who have signed up for a particular food run.
The Oljato food run is one of a pair, the other being Navajo Mountain. This food run set is the first of the spring and fall seasons and takes place about a month earlier than the remaining food runs. In the spring it occurs in late April and in the fall, late August. These are the most recent of the locations to be added to the areas we serve.
The first Oljato food run took place in the spring of 2003. It was initiated as a result of a generous grant from American Express who wanted to support an area in the Utah portion of the reservation. The following map* shows the Navajo Reservation with particular reference to the location of the food run at Oljato and the lodging base for this run which is Mexican Hat. You can click on the map to see a larger view.
ceremony that commences each of our food run sets. The motel has a restaurant where we eat as a group following the ceremony.
After breakfast the following morning we meet again for further orientation at 8:00 a.m. and then embark on the drive to Oljato which is roughly a half hour away. This is a highly scenic trip through the Monument Valley area.
The destination for the evening is Kayenta, roughly 30 miles further down the highway.
*This map is adapted from the wonderful Indian Country Map published by the Automobile Club of Southern California. Overlays have been created to show the borders of the Navajo Reservation as well as the food run sites (red) and lodging locations (turquoise) utilized by the food runs. Some of the road information is out of date (the roads to Navajo Mountain and the Big Mountain Food Run sites are now paved. Also, the reservation extends considerably further east into New Mexico than is shown on this map.