During our site visit to the Navajo Nation, we met up with Dr. Silver Nez Perry who will be speaking about traditional Diné (Navajo) culture to volunteers most Sundays this summer. Here is a reflection he shared about the impact this past winter had in the region:
“This past winter, here on the Navajo Nation we had more than average snow fall. Actually, Nihimá Nahasdzáán (Mother Nature) blessed us with an abundance of snow. As the winter slowly progressed over the six month time period it seemed like everyday we were blessed with more snow.
On some days we had four-foot-high snow drifts, averaging 28-34” of snow accumulation. Although it was a great blessing of moisture, it was extremely difficult for many of my Diné people to make it day to day.
Firewood became scarce, dirt roads became impassable, hay and feed for livestock dwindled. At the same time, we are strong and resilient people, learning from our traditional teaching of T’áá hwó’ajít’éego (it has to be you to persevere), and we did.
We made it through another winter, now we look forward to spring, summer, fall, and another winter. Through the pleasant spring, the unbearable summer heat waves, the slowly changing fall and the harsh winters we are incredibly humbled by Mother Nature. We don’t take anything she does for granted. As Diné people we wake before the rise of the sun and pray to our creator for more blessed days to come.”
Editor’s Note: It can be difficult to imagine the impacts of winter weather while volunteering with SSP during the heat of the summer. This perspective helps us understand the importance of secure roofs to protect homes, and wood sheds to house firewood that keeps homes warm.
We are looking for volunteers to join us, especially July 2-15 in the Navajo Nation. All volunteers ages 12+ are welcome – come with your friends or a family group!