Pueblo Culture and tradition–a Unique Opportunity

Helping clear the fields and gardens

 

 

 

EARTH WALKS TO JEMEZ PUEBLO, NEW MEXICO   June 20-22, 2019

Join hearts and hands at Jemez Pueblo with the Flower Hill Institute farm, tending the land, planting heritage seeds and experiencing traditional cultural values, sponsored by Earth Walks of Santa Fe, New Mexico.  We will be joined by the summer Pueblo youth camp, elders and other community members.

Roger Fragua, director of the Institute farm said, “Farming with nature (the root of organic farming) lies at the heart of practices used by native farmers in the Southwest for millennia. Traditional cultural farming can teach us a great deal about how to build a resilient and regenerative agriculture.” A children’s butterfly pollination dance will celebrate the fields.

A special part of the gathering will be with Abbess Hosen guiding the group in the practice of mindfulness in action as we assist in the beautiful organic gardens at the Zen Center.  Meditations in the zendo are an option as well. Lodging is dormitory style at Bodhi Manda Zen Center where there are relaxing hot springs alongside the Jemez River. 

Cost:  $375 (two nights lodging and meals)  A limited number of private rooms are available at additional cost.     Volunteer for one both days only at no cost except for meals. 

 Registration/information:  info@earthwalks.org  

Earth Walks to Jemez Pueblo, New Mexico

JUNE 20-22, 2019
 COME JOIN US!
The Pollination Dance by children of the Jemez Pueblo will be a wonderful part of this year’s gathering with Flower Hill Institute and Bodhi Manda Zen Center.  No words describe the joy experiencing this group of children offer prayers for the growing crops of the season.  Grandparents and other family members along with Earth Walks participants will be delighted by the dance which lightens the heart.

Join hearts and hands at Jemez Pueblo with the Flower Hill Institute farm, tending the land, planting heritage seeds and learning about traditional cultural values.  We will gather with the summer Pueblo youth camp, elders and other community members. Roger Fragua, director of the Institute farm said, “Farming with nature (the root of organic farming) lies at the heart of practices used by native farmers in the Southwest for millennia. Traditional cultural farming can teach us a great deal about how to build a resilient and regenerative agriculture.” A wonderful children’s butterfly pollination dance will celebrate our work in the fields.

A special part of the retreat will be with Abbess Hosen guiding the group in the practice of mindfulness in action as we assist in the beautiful organic gardens at the Zen Center.  Meditations in the zendo are an option as well. Lodging is dormitory style at Bodhi Manda Zen Center where there are relaxing hot springs alongside the Jemez River. A limited number of private rooms are available at additional cost.

$375 (two nights lodging and all meals)    Transportation  by carpooling.  
 Registration/information:  info@earthwalks.org 

 

CHACO CANYON JOURNEY–ONLY A FEW SPACES LEFT!

CHACO CANYON, NM JOURNEY–ONLY A FEW SPACES LEFT FOR THIS SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY!      October 6-8, 2018


Come join the journey to Chaco Canyon October 6-8! It’s a holiday weekend…led by a family of Tesuque Pueblo who consider Chaco to be ancestral homeland. Time alone and time with a wonderful group of fellow travelers. All meals prepared for your at campsite…and all for a very affordable price. Registration deadline is September 6.

At an elevation of 6,200 feet, Chaco is a high desert, sun-scorched in the summer and bitterly cold in the winter. Despite these harsh conditions, evidence of human presence in the area stretches back to as early as 2900 BC. These groups were largely nomadic, until around AD 200, when the first farmers settled in the area and built small pit houses.

The great kiva complex at Pueblo Bonito

Then in roughly AD 850, a great change took place. The people began building in a radically different manner, constructing massive stone buildings unlike any that had been built before. These structures soared to four or five stories and contained up to seven hundred rooms and dozens of mostly circular underground ceremonial rooms.

The architecture was a feat of engineering, often built along celestial alignments, they included water-collection systems and were linked to outlying communities by an extensive network of roads. These elaborate buildings evidence a sophisticated and highly organized culture, with Chaco Canyon at its center.

Here’s more about the Earth Walks to Chaco Canyon, NM October 6-8, 2018:

What you can look forward to on the journey:

  • Those who enjoy the company of fellow travelers as well as time for private reflection
  • A fascinating evening presentation on the archeoastronomy of Chaco and views of distant objects in space through the visitor center observatory
  • Guided walks and talks by Pueblo people through buildings sites
  • Time on your own in the canyon
  • Tasty meals prepared for you at the campsite
  • Evening sharing around a fire

Transportation is by carpooling.  Lodging is camping or camper truck/van. Participants responsible for own camping equipment.  No RV.

Cost:  $375   Includes guiding services, campsite fee, all meals.  Does not include  transportation to and from the Canyon, entrance fee per car ($25)

For more information and how to register, contact:  earthwalks1@yahoo.com

Chaco Canyon Journey–Join Us October 6-8, 2018 Register Now

EARTH WALKS TO CHACO CANYON—JOIN A WONDERFUL GROUP OF TRAVELERS TO THIS SPECIAL PLACE IN THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST!

Come join the journey to Chaco Canyon October 6-8! It’s a holiday weekend…led by a family of Tesuque Pueblo who consider Chaco to be ancestral homeland. Time alone and time with a wonderful group of fellow travelers. All meals prepared for your at campsite…and all for a very affordable price. Registration deadline is September 6.

At an elevation of 6,200 feet, Chaco is a high desert, sun-scorched in the summer and bitterly cold in the winter. Despite these harsh conditions, evidence of human presence in the area stretches back to as early as 2900 BC. These groups were largely nomadic, until around AD 200, when the first farmers settled in the area and built small pit houses.

The great kiva complex at Pueblo Bonito

Then in roughly AD 850, a great change took place. The people began building in a radically different manner, constructing massive stone buildings unlike any that had been built before. These structures soared to four or five stories and contained up to seven hundred rooms and dozens of mostly circular underground ceremonial rooms.

The architecture was a feat of engineering, often built along celestial alignments, they included water-collection systems and were linked to outlying communities by an extensive network of roads. These elaborate buildings evidence a sophisticated and highly organized culture, with Chaco Canyon at its center.

Here’s more about the Earth Walks to Chaco Canyon, NM October 6-8, 2018:

What you can look forward to on the journey:

  • Those who enjoy the company of fellow travelers as well as time for private reflection
  • A fascinating evening presentation on the archeoastronomy of Chaco and views of distant objects in space through the visitor center observatory
  • Guided walks and talks by Pueblo people through buildings sites
  • Time on your own in the canyon
  • Tasty meals prepared for you at the campsite
  • Evening sharing around a fire

Transportation is by carpooling.  Lodging is camping or camper truck/van. Participants responsible for own camping equipment.  No RV.

Cost:  $375   Includes guiding services, campsite fee, all meals.  Does not include  transportation to and from the Canyon, entrance fee per car ($25)

For more information and how to register, contact:  earthwalks1@yahoo.com

Chaco Canyon, NM Journey October 6-8, 2018

This autumn, join a journey into the vast silence and wonder of Chaco Canyon National Historical Park.  There is no accident that Chaco, located in northwestern New Mexico was designated a United Nations’ World Heritage site.  Containing the most sweeping collection of ancient architecture north of Mexico, the park preserves one of the most important pre-Columbian cultural and historical areas in the United States. Chaco is remarkable for its monumental public and ceremonial buildings, some of which are unlike anything constructed before or since.  Between CE 900 and 1150, Chaco Canyon was a major center of culture for the Ancient Pueblo peoples, and now we are invited to visit this special place guided by Pueblo people who consider Chaco their ancestral home.

Chaco itself offers the invitation.  As one of the Park rangers has said Chaco video , for many people these are not empty buildings that express something from the past; to those who consider this site sacred, there is still life in these buildings and land.

Pictographs in the Canyon

Here’s what you can look forward to on the journey:

  • Those who enjoy the company of fellow travelers as well as time for private reflection
  • A fascinating evening presentation on the archeoastronomy of Chaco and views of distant objects in space through the visitor center observatory
  • Guided walks and talks by Pueblo people through buildings sites
  • Time on your own in the canyon
  • Tasty meals prepared for you at the campsite
  • Evening sharing around a fire

Earth Walkers in the Eyes of Pueblo Guide

Come Join Us!

 

Transportation is by carpooling.  Lodging is camping or camper truck/van. Participants responsible for own camping equipment.  No RV.

Cost:  $375   Includes guiding services, campsite fee, all meals.  Does not include  transportation to and from the Canyon, entrance fee per car ($25)

For more information about the journey and how to register, contact:  earthwalks1@yahoo.com

Coming Home to Chaco Canyon–New Mexico July 27-29, 2018

(Pictured above:  Chaco Earth Walkers 2017; overlooking Pueblo Bonito)

Experience the power and mystery of this World Heritage site with the companionship fellow travelers.  The three day journey sponsored by Earth Walks of Santa Fe will be led by a Native American Pueblo elder who considers Chaco to be sacred ancestral homeland.  Time together includes guided walks through sites in the Canyon, solitude on the land and evening drumming, songs and storytelling.  Our first evening we will experience a full moon!

For over 2,000 years Pueblo people lived in the Chaco Canyon region which became the center for ceremonies, trade and political activity.  It is remarkable for its monumental buildings and distinctive architecture.  Both solar and lunar cycles were integrated into the architecture and huge building sites were in alignment with each other over many miles. Great straight roads radiated out from the center of the Canyon to distant outlying settlements.  For photos and more information about the Canyon go to  National Park Service

Cost: $280 (based on minimum 7 participants) Includes 5 meals, camp site and guiding services.  Does not include: transportation, entrance fee per car.

Registration and information contact:  info@earthwalks.org

 

 

Earth Walks to Jemez Pueblo May 31-June 3, 2018

THE END IS NEAR…AND SO IS THE BEGINNING!

“Tending the Garden”

Fields and Lands of Jemez Pueblo

As one seasonal cycle ends, another begins. Join Earth Walks for this exceptional opportunity to experience the time honored traditions of Jemez Pueblo and Bodhi Manda Zen Center. Both foster a vision of culture and life that nourishes body, mind and spirit.

Learning through service, Earth Walks will join hands and hearts with Flower Hill Institute in their fields at Jemez Pueblo and in the nearby Bodhi Manda Zen Center community garden to help prepare and plant for the summer crops. There will be a way for everyone to participate, regardless of physical ability or age. Pueblo elders and community members will guide us in their ancient traditions and Abbess Hosen will offer the contemplative Zen Buddhism experience. Children from the Pueblo will perform a Butterfly Dance to encourage pollination of the newly planted gardens.

Remarkable dialogues, laughter and sharing meals of food from the garden will accompany time alone for quiet reflection and enjoyable soaks in the hot springs at BMZC alongside the Jemez River. Bring instruments for music making and your favorite memories for storytelling!

Lodging: Dormitory style. Limited number of private rooms available for additional cost on first come basis. Delicious vegetarian home cooked meals.

Registration: $375 Includes: Nine meals from Thursday dinner through Sunday lunch. Lodging, dormitory style (additional cost for single room, limited availability). Access to hot springs pools. Honorarium to Pueblo elder. Workshop materials. Optional: instruction and participation in meditation practice. Transportation by carpooling or on own.

For information/registration:  info@earthwalks.org

Flower Hill Institute:  Flower Hill is a native-owned, community-directed nonprofit. Its objectives include preserving and enhancing cultural resources, preparing youth to inherit leadership, improving economic self-sufficiency, organizing inter-tribal movements, and improving climate change resiliency through experimental farming, seed banking and youth science camps.  Flower Hill organized an effort by the All Indian Pueblo Council of Governors to publish a response to the encroachment of oil and gas development into the area surrounding Chaco Canyon National Historic Park, an area of utmost cultural importance to the Pueblos.

Bodhi Manda Zen Center: The philosophy in the Bodhi garden recognizes and supports interdependent roles played by a range of organisms in a natural environment. Modern tools used employ practices that hearkens back to indigenous peoples throughout the world. Fresh healthy vegetables from the garden are shared at mealtime to honor all those who help provide sustenance for the health of our bodies and minds and support Buddhist practices of mindfulness and compassion for all beings.Visitors may enjoy the hot springs on site adjacent to the Jemez River.
Roger Fragua, Flower                                          Abbess Hosen, Bodhi
Hill Institute Director                                            Manda Zen Center

                                           
 Greenhouse seedlings at Bodhi–         Preparing plant seedings for fields            
 
       Diggin’ it at the community garden                   Hot Springs at Bodhi 
         
                                                   
                                                       Clearing the fields                                                                                                                                                               
                                      Doug Conwell, Earth Walks Director
                                                       Come Join Us!
               

Canyon de Chelly–Walking in Beauty

Canyon de Chelly: First Memory Time Begins

 

A thunder cloud-cannon explodes somewhere overhead. Cottonwoods tremble in a rising wind, then wave their arms wildly in the invisible turbulence. And here am I, a thousand feet below the rim of red earth, sandstone cliffs towering above my little human figure, brilliant blue sky canopy above. Suddenly out of nowhere, a huge bucket of rain dumps down, sending me scurrying to the canyon wall for protection, back flat against the sun warmed rocks. But there is no escape. Waterfalls materialize in every direction, crashing down in a gushing symphony where there was only dry bareness before….a scene from the creation story when time began. Then the wall which is just barely sheltering me from the storm becomes a vertical ocean, rippling waves of water propelling down the cliff face behind my back] onto the canyon’s sandy floor. As the drama unfolds around my feet, tiny desert frogs appear from the sand where they are buried, waiting for this precise moment in time.

The moment is over almost as soon as it starts, this desert madness and miracle of passing storm. Sun sparkles over wet leaves, now glistening and refracting the light in delight at the welcome moisture. At least that is how I am feeling as I breathe in the fresh fragrance of wet sand, sagebrush and juniper.  Waterfalls slowly recede, their crashing, gurgling noise passing like a dream. Frogs return to their subterranean hideouts…and I step out into this new world, like everything else in this desert  more alive in the radiance that only rain can bring.

 

Canyon de Chelly, Arizona. Just a name on a map to many, and not the name it is called by those who have lived here for generations. To the Dine, this is Tseyi, or “inside the rock,” a place that echoes with memories of their ancestors and the ancient cliff dwelling Pueblo people. Their voices whisper in the winds that wend their way through willows, cottonwood and Russian olive trees, past coyotes howling their songs under starry night skies and down trails and pathways known only to those for whom this place is home. But the canyon holds memories for me as well, experiences that have changed the course of my life. Those experiences are the subject of future blogs that will include visits with my service learning program, Earth Walks

My first visit to the canyon was in 1991, assisting a tour led by  a guide from the Santa Fe, New Mexico area. Our group overlooked the awesome canyon, visited the National Park Service museum and learned about its history and geology. All well and good, but that was only a brief introduction to one of the longest continuously inhabited places in North America, and not the heart and soul of the canyon. I was to learn more about that in the years to come. History and geology are important, though.

Perhaps geology is a bit more objective in the telling: The de Chelly sandstone was laid down during the Permian period over 200 million years ago. The formation is unusual because it is not horizontally deposited but rather as a cross-bedded formation composed of many steeply dipping wedges, typical of windblown dune deposits. The canyons were carved over millennia by erosion from the Tsaile and Whiskey creeks forming Chinle Wash, creating awesome vertical walls. The area encompasses a long three-armed canyon on the northwest slope of the Defiance Uplift sloping to the west where the de Chelly sandstone plunges under the land just east of the town of Chinle.

Now for history, which is more subjective and depends on who is doing the telling. I will try to do some justice based on what academic research I could find. For nearly 5,000 years people have used the canyon as a place for campsites, shelters and permanent homes. Artifacts and rock imagery of the Archaic and Basketmaker people have been found in the canyon. According to anthropologists and archaeologists the first settlers built pit houses that were replaced with more sophisticated homes built into south-facing alcoves of the canyon walls to take advantage of sunlight and natural protection. Research indicates Pueblo people left the area in the mid-1300s to seek better farmlands. The Hopi, descendants of the original Puebloans in the canyon, migrated to the area in the 1300-1600s, and then left to settle on mesa tops to the west.

For the record, researchers have long used the word “Anasazi” to refer to the ancient settlers of the area. Because that word in the Dine language often translates as “ancient enemies,” it gives offense to the Hopi and other current-day Pueblo descendants. The word now most often used is “Ancestral Puebloans.”

The Dine came to the area around 1700 and have lived there ever since, except for the tragic and brutal event known as the Long Walk  when they were force-marched into exile at Ft. Sumner in Bosque Redondo, New Mexico. Reportedly there had been a long history of trading and raiding among the various indigenous tribes and then later with Mexicans and peoples from the United States. Sprinkled throughout that history were broken promises and treaties. Be that as it may, the U.S. decided to put an end to the Dine resistance to their authority and in the winter of 1864 Army Colonel Kit Carson arrived on a scorched-earth mission to expel them from their native homeland.

Dine guide Daniel Staley with weaver Kathryn Paymala

 

It’s hard for me to imagine this where it is now serenely quiet, but instead of the calls of ravens and hawks, the canyon walls must have echoed with thundering horse’s hooves, gunfire and rampaging violence as Carson’s men torched cornfields, captured prisoners and chopped down some 2,000 peach trees. The Dine—including women, children and elders—were then forced to walk in bitter cold 400 miles east to Ft. Sumner. There they remained for four years in deplorable conditions of captivity before being released to return to their homeland. Many people fell ill during the relocation. Many died. It is a shameful atrocity and a sorrowful chapter in chapter in history.

It is said that on their return when the Dine reached the crest of the mountains of Albuquerque and on the horizon saw Mt. Taylor–known to them as Tsoodizil (Blue Bead or Turquoise Mountain)—they fell to the ground in prayer and gratitude. I think of my home as a physical address where I live or the town where I was born.

But talk with a traditional Hopi or Dine person and the thing called home will be a different story, layered with myth and meaning, some of which the English language cannot begin to express.

Because the streams running through Canyon de Chelly are not raging torrents like the Grand Canyon’s Colorado River, it has long supported farms and homes. Anasazi dwelling sites etched out of the vertical cliffs are found throughout the area accompanied by rock art petroglyphs and pictographs on the copper-hued walls, weathered into luminous “desert patina.”

One day while walking in the canyon with Dine guide Daniel Staley who has now become a friend, I was told: “When there is only one creation story left, it will be the end of the world.”

I won’t pretend that I know or understand the venerable complexity of Dine cosmology. But I do know that Grandmother Spider—who some say wove the web of creation for First Man and First Woman—has been a presence in my life since graduate school in 1971, long before I moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s a tale I’ve told in other Earth Walks blogs. Here in Canyon de Chelly there is a towering monolithic spire called Spider Rock that I’ve visited repeatedly over 30 years, and in future I’ll share some of my experiences with this iconic sandstone tower.

Earth Walks takes guided journeys to Canyon de Chelly every year, led by Daniel Staley and his family members.  Come join us!  Go to the website at https://earthwalks.org/ to sign up for future service and travel activities.

Earth Walks on a recent visit to the Canyon