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PHOTOGRAPHER CAPTURES THE SOUTHWEST NIGHT’S SKY GIVING SPARKLE TO HIS MOAB NIGHTSCAPES

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Milky Way Landscape Photography and the Perseid Meteor Shower by Eugene Louie

This was my first attempt photographing The Milky Way galaxy so I drove to Arches National Park, one of the darkest night skies in the country, to capture the galaxy hovering above the dramatic rock formations. This is Broken Arch. I used it to provide a reference point that even the most amazing Hubble Telescope pictures do not. I wanted to inspire my audience by creating a “scene setter,” which gives the viewer a feeling this scene could exist on another planet. Utah’s stark Moab desert was a perfect backdrop. Scientists studying what the likely conditions of a manned voyage to Mars use the red rocks of Utah to emulate condition on Mars for a possible manned mission to the red planet.

Capturing the Milky Way galaxy over Broken Arch was my original goal, but the experiment became enhanced by an accidental meteor streaking toward earth, probably part of the Perseus meteor shower. The Perseid meteor shower is the most famous, dependable annual meteor shower, producing on average between 60 to 90 meteors per hour, at peak observation times. The real show doesn’t start until after midnight, but meteors can be seen earlier staring around 10pm, a couple hours before the moonsets; the crescendo does not start until hours after midnight when the skies get darker as night turns into day. The prime viewing dates are: Aug. 10th, 11th, and 12th. Fortunately in 2016 observers will enjoy a longer viewing period as the moon is cooperating, setting earlier as it will be in a waning gibbous moon phase.

Visibility will be best for folks living in the mid Northern Hemisphere. All you need do is find the darkest spot possible, as far away from city light pollution, set up a comfy adjustable lawn chair, kick back and make sure you have a wide open sky above you, as meteors will come from every direction. If you are an intrepid meteor watcher be prepared to pull an all nighter.

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Where Do These Meteors Come From?

The Perseid meteor shower look like they come from the constellation Perseus. The Perseid “shooting stars” are bits of space debris made of debris from the Comet Swift-Tuttle. Each piece ranges in size from a tiny piece of dust to about 10 meters. They are called meteoroids when traveling in outer space. They become meteors upon entering earth’s atmosphere, and if the meteor strikes the earth, and remains intact, it is called a meteorite. If these pieces of comet are larger than 10 meters they are called asteroids. The Comet Swift-Tuttle was discovered in 1862 and takes 133 years to make one trip around the sun. Astronomers use the term “radiant,” to describe the line that leads back to where the visible meteor seems to originate. The last time Swift Tuttle reached perihelion, the closest point to the sun, was December1992. It will do so again in 2126.

 

Smart Phone Apps to Locate the Perseus Constellation:

To locate the Perseus Constellation iPhone users can download “Sky Guide,” a free app available through the Apple Store and Android phone owners can use “Photo Pills,” which
cost about $10. Both are excellent and easy to use to locate The Milky Way, deep space objects constellations, nebulae, planets and more. I prefer “Sky Guide” because if you touch an object on the screen information about the object appears in an info box. This satisfies my need for immediate gratification. Sky Guide provides both scientific and the origin of the mythology behind the naming of the objects.

 

Technical Info About the Making of this Milky Way Landscape:

The newest camera technology allows photographers to use higher ISO settings in combination with exposures 30 seconds or less, just long enough to record points of starlight before the stars begin to leave light trails. If you enlarge the photo you can see stars, located in the upper corner of the frame, begin to leave evidence of light trails as they move across the sky even with a 17 mm wide-angle lens.IMG_0932

I used a 15 – 35 mm f/2.8 Canon zoom lens with the focal length set at 16 mm, ISO was 16,000, exposure 12 seconds long with the aperture set at f/2.8. Color temperature manually set to 3900 degrees kelvin. I prefer a bluer night sky and from trial and error discovered that 3900 degrees kelvin is my sweet spot to begin photographing. As the Milky Way moves across the sky and it gets closer to dawn I will raise the color temperature. Generally, I do not go higher than 6400 degrees kelvin, and only when the night passes closer to dawn. 6400 degrees kelvin produces a warmer sky. The color temperature is all personal preference so experiment to determine what degree of cool and warmth works for your sky. The camera was mounted on a carbon fiber Gitzo tripod with a Really Right Stuff ball head. At the bottom of the tripod’s center column, I installed a metal hook and hang my backpack on it to steady the camera during the 12-second exposure.

radiant perseusI stood behind my tripod making exposure after exposure. By luck I watched a bright streak of light appear above me while the camera shutter was open and was delighted to find the meteor trail recorded on the preview screen. My initial intention was to capture our Milky Way galaxy with an unearthly object, but I got the bonus meteor because the picture was made during the prolific Perseid Meteor Shower. In August the most dependable meteor watching nights occur during a moonless night. There is no way to predict if it will be a terrific or boring display.

I forgot to bring a cable release. Instead I used my finger to gently trip the shutter with the camera’s self-timer set for a two-second delay to eliminate mirror slap. Capturing a 40,000-mile per hour streaking meteor moving across the heavens is honestly a game of chance. Many Milky Way photographers will use an intervalometer attaching to a digital camera, resembling a cable release, and allow the camera to be placed on autopilot. The intervalometer will open and close your camera’s shutter automatically as well as start the next exposure, according to the parameters you decide. To ask questions about this blog please send an email to this address. I will respond as quickly as possible.

Canon and Nikon manufacture their own brand of intervalometer but are expensive. A less expensive work around I used was buying the Vello brand, a third party timer, which works very well and is less expensive.

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STAR PHOTOGRAPHER EUGENE LOUIE

American Photographer Magazine nominated Eugene Louie as a “New Face” in photojournalism when he was just 26 years old. That same year, Louie’s photographs helped Washington’s Longview Daily News win a staff Pulitzer Prize for covering the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980. The volcanic eruption, equivalent to 400 million tons of TNT, toppled 20 square miles of forest in six minutes. Louie’s prize-winning images were horrifying and stark. Gritty ash covered most of Washington and neighboring states. The rooftops of multi-story houses became the new high ground. Previously gentle Cowlitz River overflowed with icebergs the size of cars that had broken from melting glaciers and sped down streams.

The San Jose Mercury News recruited Louie during the after-glow of Pulitzer Prize fame, when he also won a bronze medal in the Photographer of the Year Pacific Northwest competition. Fast forward to 1989; Louie’s photography contributed to a second Pulitzer Prize win, this time for The San Jose Mercury News’ coverage of the Loma Prieta Earthquake and the aftermath.

“The Ansel Adams Yosemite Summer Workshop gave me the privilege to learn the famous landscape photographer’s “Zone System,” which in simplistic terms, gives photographers a way to communicate visual and technical issues with each other,” Louie said. For Louie, this skill was filed away to pursue a public service career in photojournalism.

Louie set out to become a psychologist and during his senior year completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology decided to pursue photojournalism, in the tradition of Life Magazine photographer W. Eugene Smith, which became Louie’s photographic hero. The late start at California State University Long Beach makes Louie’s rapid rise all the more notable. He didn’t have a degree in journalism, and competed with hungry photographers in a competitive field. “If you are meant to accomplish a specific goal, I believe, you will find a way, “ said Louie.

In 2010, during his first winter to Yosemite National Park, Louie experienced an epiphany. “Winter’s misty fog drifted around granite cathedrals altering the color, intensity and direction of light, in ways I never saw during the summer, Louie said. “That Yosemite winter quieted my mind like no experience before. Photography became a meditation. I realized the purpose of my second career is to photograph the natural world, with the same passion I felt for journalism. Today I look back to the Ansel Adams workshop for renewed inspiration. As Robert Frost is so often paraphrased, I have returned to “the road not taken.”

 

Perseiid Meteor Shower: NASA meteor shower, Animation; 2015:

How to Photograph the Milky Way Galaxy, Photography Tips: Photograph the Milky Way in 12 Steps;

 

Arches National Park: Broken Arch Loop Trail:

Kelvin Light Color Temperature Explained:Lowell EDU:

 

 


ARIZONA-SONORA DESERT MUSEUM EDUCATES AND ENTERTAINS BOTH YOUNG AND OLD PUTS BOTH IN TOUCH WITH THE DESERT-OUCH!

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Many of these photos have been made over the years and do not necessarily show critters now housed at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The magnificent ram above in 1987 was killed by man who wanted to hang his trophy horns in his living room. This senseless killing shocked the entire facility, as well as, the Tucson community. The ram had lived at the museum much of it’s six years, originally from the Chocolate Mountains in California. It had two offspring and a 38 year old California man was arrested for killing the ram after the rack was found during a traffic stop. The man was sentenced to five-years in prison and received a $8000 fine.

Walking the dusty desert trail, chirping from a Cactus Wren chirps fill the air. In the distance, I hear the thunderous sound of the Javelina running about in the morning chill, the slightly overcast skies silhouette a passenger jet crossing over the Tucson Mountains

headed for TIA, the engine thunders as they slow for landing. Enjoying these sounds and resting on a bench Fred Fisher from San Jose, Ca says he comes every year for the Gem and Mineral show and now extends his visit each year to spend four or five days visiting the Desert Museum. “We come as often as we can–when we are here, it is so exceptional. “Spectacular”, he says, “this quiet solitude, the magnificent wildlife and birds.  We’ve been coming to Tucson for 12 years now. We started spending a few hours here and now we spend whole days. Monday was a modest crowd he said. Tuesday was completely jammed ! I thought we were going to get trampled.”
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Some ideas hit the ground running, grow, embellish and over-take their mentors before anyone knew what happened.  Folks say they are no-brainers, but it takes courage for the first and unsteady steps that leads to such success—Tucson’s Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is one example. VISITORS TUCSON AZ-SON DESERTMUSUM-5728 Called “one of the ten best museums in the world” that title might be argued, however, it’s success is without doubt. Tucson residents might be guilty of taking such a treasure for granted, visiting on birthdays or when relatives come to town, but ASDM can be busy as a beehive during Southern Arizona’s cooler months, thousands of visitors come to town, rent motels, eat in Tucson restaurants and spend their entire day surrounded by the incredible beauty of the Sonoran Desert.Saguaro090***

The parking lot fills up daily and stays full all day long with license plates from 30-35 different states including 2-3 Canadian providences each day.  When things slow with the approach of the summer months, ASDM opens earlier, so visitors can beat the heat and enjoy the Museum’s wildlife, before they bed down away from the sun’s heat. Throughout the year, special events are held after dark, when the critters once again come out, so a world-class wildlife experience, is available anytime of the year. The biggest contribution to ASDM success is the fact that it has grown with the times and has expanded over the years.

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After these Jaguars died, this exhibit was discontinued for decades and funding for a planned a new  1.5 acre exhibit, “Coasts to Canyons” recently failed a voter referendum.

When the Museum first opened its doors in 1952, cages where laid out in the desert and folks walked around the critters behind bars. Today, new techniques and technology, the museum has engineered fake rocks constructed to contain their critters and allowing them to live in settings designed for their comfort and in habitat typical of where they would live in the wild.  Jaguar-ARIZONA-SONORA DESERT MUSEUM-Back in the day, the Jaguar, was the last cat to live behind bars because of it’s ability to escape and resourcefulness, after that cat’s death, ASDM decided cages were no longer true to the Museum mission and the species went dark for decades.  Today plans are on the drawing board for a new 1.5 acre exhibit called “Coasts to Canyons”, perhaps the most ambitious and expensive habitat, ever envisioned for the facility. Its completion would greatly increase visitors and no doubt bring out the locals to see the new digs and blow away visitors with the new air-conditioned exhibit. While this exhibit was part of Proposition 427, a $99 Million bond designed to improve roads, water control making Tucson a better place to live, it was defeated by a 39% voter turnout most of which were Republicans who felt an additional $18 a year would break their backs. Lots of private funds have been donated to ASDM and those monies alone will open the new “Winged Wonders of the South West” in 2015 and the million dollar “Midden Project” in 2017 where visitors will be greeted by a 75’ Diamondback Rattlesnake which they can choose to climb through.

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Cabo Pulmo, the only coral reef in the Sea of Cortez, is highlighted in the Museum’s most recent Exhibit featuring 14 aquarium of fresh water and saltwater residents.

In 2013,VISITORS TUCSON AZ-SON DESERTMUSUM-5787 the Desert Museum opened it’s first major exhibit in a decade. The aquarium exhibition, called “Rivers to the Sea,” highlights the role of the rivers, including the Colorado and the Gulf of California. The 1,100-square-foot aquarium exhibit, housed in one of the historical structures built in 1937, includes many now-endangered species of freshwater fish, as well as several dozen species of fresh and saltwater creatures found to be at home in the brackish waters near the Sonoran coast, and the Sea of Cortez. That $1.3 Million project was opened with private donations.

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Some might complain that $20 a visit might be a stiff ticket to buy, but ASDM basic membership costs $55 for a year and includes two guest tickets for the following year, allowing a year and a half of access, and that should be affordable for most.

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Raptor Flight brings out the photographers and Snowbirds alike….

Lots of snowbirds que up at the Raptor Free Flight. Two kids fidget as they await the Docents that remove the ropes allowing the crowd to filter into the performance staging area. The two boys, each carrying a stuffed lion, have the white pasty legs of folks living back east who have not seen the sun for months. The large crowd gathers 25 minutes before the start of the Raptor Free Flight, where about a 100 people stand at the entrance and there is standing room only, water bottles stick out of purses.

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Three Desert Museum docents walk down to the crowd, they ask the crowd not to move until they finish their count to ten and one docent “who drew the short straw” has to take down the chain … that lets the Raptor Free Flight Crowd advance. “Please keep to the rails”, they ask. “You folks talk funny”, notes one docent, “flex your knees and steady yourselves,” another docent tells the crowd.

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Trainer Wally Hestermann welcomes the crowd and gives a quick run down on the birds he will be working with for the 10 am show, first comes the Chihuahua Raven and the magnificent Great Horned Owl who came to the Desert Museum from a top shelf in the Oro Valley Home Depot. The Prairie Falcon–drinks no water, says Hestermann, “they get all their water from their prey”. The Ferruginous Hawk used to thrive here on Prairie dogs”, he says “but since those critters are now extinct, we don’t see this hawk around here anymore.”

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“Red-tail Hawks in the wild, often die in the first year, reports the trainer “they know they have it good here, we take care of them, they can take the day off if they want.” “We want these birds to look natural, so they wear no equipment, this soaring behavior took six months to learn and they respond to visual signals from 2500.” Redtails can live 7-10 years in the wild or 10-25 years in captivity and one holds the record for 65 years. They eat farm raised mice and quail or “tissue meat”. “Our birds are orphans from rehab”, but these social birds often hunt and play in family groups of five to seven birds.

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Arizona has four owls, three falcons and 7 different hawks and the Golden Eagle. The 2 pm Raptor Flight performance is different from the earlier show and features different avian residents of the desert.

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One Phoenix photographer, Stu Glenn told me he often comes down to Tucson spends the night and both days at the Museum’s “Raptor Flight” a very popular performance during the cooler months. “It’s quite spectacular,” he says killing time at the Big Horn enclosure. I didn’t come down here for pictures of the rear end of a ram, he says, yesterday I got the “most excellent Harris Hawk images”, he coos.

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Crowd awaits Docents to lower the chain and allow them into the Raptor Flight performance area. This lineup begins an half hour before the show.

While birds have little issue with the desert heat, non-desert-dwelling spectators have been known to drop like flies, and before the show concludes in April the Museum places “spotters” in the crowd looking for tourists who frequently collapse from the warm days and harsh sun.  Regardless, “Raptor Flight” is a huge draw for spectators and photographers alike, in spite of the size of the crowds, there is not a bad seat in the show. Photographers should hang to the fringes or outside of the crowd, the birds which have been trained to feed on the branches surrounding the large group move all around and everyone gets a front row seat.  I would have said it impossible if I had not seen it for myself. Some birds receive an audio signal from their trainers and perform accordingly, no bird is a prisoner, they jump at the chance to show off for treats. Photographers should be using their fastest shutter speeds to stop the flapping of these birds wings, an amazing photo opportunity.

Photo opportunities do not stop there.  Early morning will find coyotes, black bear, otters, Javelina and Mexican wolves or “Lobos” all out to delight your camera. “That coyote, doesn’t seem as big as the ones in my neighborhood—they are probably controlling his diet–he probably doesn’t get a tabby cat every night, said one visitor. The coyote called “God’s Dog” by the Navajo is often “the trickster in Native American legends has an evasive and puzzling role as the fool or demigod in Native American traditions.

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Coyotes complaining about their Museum diet, rather than a nice “Tabby” from time to time

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Mexican Wolf or Lobo

The Mexican Grey Wolf, has a sign in front of its enclosure that says there are 50 now living in the wild but recent headlines have said its population has doubled reaching 100, a South West success story.

DESERTMUSEUM BABY-3131The amazing Hummingbird enclosure, full of lots of species who nest and buzz about the visitors and their cameras. Their eggs look like gum drops, the hummers are going so fast, one visitor jumps back, a baby cries, camera shutters click, big cameras and cell phones alike. One parent tries but can’t pull one kid away from his cell phone. “I hear the hummingbird!  He’s way up there,” attempting to get his picture. “See the hummingbird?” says another dad, “brace yourself with that long lens,” he coaches.

VISITORS TUCSON AZ-SON DESERTMUSUM-8660The Museum developed this enclosure and garden while and in doing so it developed new understandings of what attracted these fast-moving birds and what it took to keep them happy and alive.  They wrote the book on Hummingbird gardens.

While scientific understanding has been expanded in the decades of working with the animal and plant species living in the Sonoran Desert.  Spring can often brings great delight, this year’s second week of April, produced two baby Big Horn Sheep, an ewe and a small ram both now are on display with their moms and their magnificent father.

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Learning the ropes, Big Horn are noted for their sure-footedness, and this little guy born just a week ago is being schooled in the art of not falling off the mountain.

Further west of the Big Horn exhibit, is the Black-tailed Prairie Dog exhibit has a bunch of new pups, who enjoy wrestling and running, delighting crowds every hour of the day.

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BABY PRAIRIE DOGS RUN, WRESTLE AND SCAMPER FOR FOOD AND FUN (BELOW) SHOWS THE OLD ENCLOSURE WHICH ALLOWED VISITORS TO ACCESS TO THE PRAIRE DOGS AND THE NEW ENCLOSURE HAVE VISITORS BEHIND CLEAR PLEXIGLASS.

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The Desert Museum has perhaps the most incredible settings found anywhere in Southern Arizona, the only spot in the United States where the giant cactus, the Saguaro, is found to grow. The smallest detail in this lush desert is found to have the most delicate beauty. The mid-March wildflowers season is followed in early May with cactus blossoms that bring yellows from the Prickly pear, purples from the Hedge-hog, yellows and reds from the Cholla and get a ladder for the white bloom on the Saguaro. Finally the two species of Palo Verde drape the entire desert with brilliant yellow blooms, finally yielding to the Ironwood trees purple coat. The Desert Museum also features more exotic species found in the nooks and crannies of the Sonoran Desert, one like the Boojum, found in north central Baja.

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Not all visitors to the Desert Museum are people.  One photographer I know was amazed by a scene he captured between a wayward rattlesnake trailside and an impromptu ground squirrel.  He saw a women making pictures with her smart phone and he moved in tight with his Nikon and “got some amazing images” but he had never considered that rattlers might be found trailside, regardless of signs, warning folks to be alert to the possibility.

Years ago, I setup a camera on a tripod behind the Desert Museum about 2am hoping to photograph a meteor shower.  As I stared into the brilliant sky alive with stars and meteors streaking across the huge expanse I was rattled into self-awareness when something behind me let loose with a loud terrifying growl. In less than ten seconds, the tripod was down and I was pulling away from my pullout on the McCain loop. The shivers up my spine had been rooted in primal concern for my very existence, the only cat in the Sonoran Desert capable of launching such a roar, was a Jaguar, who no doubt was just another visitor to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

Wandering the grounds of the Desert Museum and listening to comments from visitors from all over the world gives one an appreciation for the rarity and the uncommon value found here at this popular visitor spot.

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MOST YOUNG VISITORS CAN NOT RESIST THE BRONZE STATUARY SCATTERED ALL AROUND THE GROUNDS. THESE JAVELINA AT THE ENTRANCE ARE SHINEY FROM WEAR.

“Look it is a hedgehog cactus!”, says one visitor pointing to a prickly pear cactus. “This cactus has ears” says another. “Deer?”  “I can see deer at home” says one!  “I don’t see the parrot? “ You can see the wolf, he’s behind the agave.” “Wild turkey, heh!  “Excellent, I could use a little wild turkey about now, says one noontime visitor. “Can you seem ’em ?”

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“Let’s see the big turtles”, upon their return, “did you see your turtle?” “Nope–he’s hidden now-shall we see if the tortoises are around?” “I don’t think they hibernate in the desert”, said another. “I didn’t see any terrapin.” ”We saw nothing, I don’t know where they are!”

“This would be a cool scavenger hunt, bring a bunch of kids and see how many animals they see, offers one visitors. “I see something moving but I can’t tell what it is-a black something” (Coatimundi).

“You can see the roadrunner.” “Is anyone else being co-operative?” “Possibly not, but you have to look, like in the Gray Fox enclosure there are two sleeping beneath the ledge.”

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“The beaver’s down this way, we’re on the right road. I want to jump in and cool off with that Beaver.” “Look, there’s fish in the water, 1-2-3-4-5-6-there’s the beaver.”

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“Has every one seen enough of the desert?”

“What do you think about the Sonoran desert?” “It’s okay!” said one burned out Asian visitor. “Just look at this beautiful place” says another. “Now that Bighorn, I’d like to see him climb out,” says a woman with a leopard-skill umbrella shading her head from the sun.

The direct Desert sun can be harsh on folks who rarely see it, even on a day when temps top out at 79. “When we are all sunned out-we can go into the air-conditioning-there is a pop machine there and we can refill our water bottles.”

Critters from the Sonoran desert learned from birth, like the Bobcats sleeping under their ledge, that an afternoon siesta, is the best way to handle the heat. Because of that the Museum does feature indoor air-conditioned exhibits like the new reef display featuring 14 aquariums, or the beaver exhibit, snakes or spiders, cave underground or geology exploration or the shaded Aviary, so when visitors finally decide they don’t want to go back out in the sun they can go see the Hummingbird enclosure or explore any number of cooler options.

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Two older women, stooped over, and barely moving up the grade, says “we’re pretending we’re kids. Running past these enthusiastic visitors must be 30 kids all wearing red-t-shirts which mark them from the same school, making it easier for their tenders, to know which kids to roundup or push along and to take home a day’s end.

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The 98 acres of the Museum continue to be owned by Pima County and leased to the Museum. ASDM is governed by an independent Board of 24 members.

 

The Desert Museum is ranked on TripAdvisor.com as one of the Top 10 Museums in the country and the #1 Tucson attraction. Unlike most museums, about 85% of the experience JAVELINA TUCSON AZ-SON DESERTMUSUM-8569is outdoors! The 98 acre Desert Museum is a diverse experience: featuring a zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium. The 21 interpreted acres has two miles of walking paths through various desert habitats, housing 230 animal species, 1,200 types of plants with 70,000 individual specimens. It houses one of the world’s most comprehensive regional mineral collections. Beyond merely an attraction, the Museum’s conservation and research programs are providing important information to help conserve the Sonoran Desert region. The Desert Museum’s Art Institute inspires conservation through art education and gallery exhibits. The Museum’s publishing division, ASDM Press, has produced over 40 books and guides on the natural and cultural history of the Sonoran Desert.

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The Desert Museum is recognized as one of the finest docent corps in existence today, it began in the fall of 1972. The genesis was a small group of volunteers trained to take school children on tours of the grounds, but now the docents are stationed around the grounds to provide live interpretation to all who visit. These docents, who undergo a rigorous 15-week training program, are now devoted to giving demonstrations on the grounds, and contribute today more than 75,000 hours annually to do this.

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Hal Gras 1977

Hal Gras 1977

The Museum’s other education programs developed over the years, most notably by Hal Graswho created a program to take live animals to schools and other venues. His program, begun in 1955,  dubbed “The Desert Ark”, touched tens of thousands of people. Even though Gras retired from the Museum in 1985, many people today recall being inspired to learn about the desert from Gras and his Desert Ark.

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MARANA’S WESTERN HERITAGE ARENA: WHERE EVERYONE IS A RODEO LEGEND OR WILL BE !

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The wild West lives today, in the hearts and minds of its fans and historians.  But in Marana, the spirit of  western culture, lives on in a dusty corral next to Interstate 10 which routes horse-lovers there from all over Arizona.  The Marana Western Heritage Arena sets the stage for cowboys and cowgirls of all ages to grow up Western and realize their ambitions and goals.

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Most weeks folks converge there to barrel race and ride bulls.  Every friday night, kids come and “to hang out” watching family and friends perform in the arena.  Bull riding starts at 7pm and varies whether you have experienced riders or someone new trying on the sport for the first time.  Why would someone climb onto the back of a huge bull, knowing it would eventually launch them skyward?

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“A passion for animals and the adrenaline for life,” says Jessica Reyna whose teenage son, Benaiah has decided he would ride a bull tonight, his first, but not his last.  “He’s a bull-rider now!,” comes the voice from the speakers, “Welcome to the family!” as Benaiah picks himself up, dusts off and climbs out of the arena.  Some fridays, dozens of younger kids show up for “mutton-busting”.  Climbing on top of huge sheep, grabbing the rope, and letting go. The kids love it and for many, it is just a question of time, before they trade sheep for bulls.  It’s not all guys who climb onto the unridable, two girls, who come most Friday because their friends are here say if they had the cash they would go for it.  They felt sure, that in the beginning, they might “come off pretty early” at first, but eventually they could get a good ride. Their day is coming they say…

Tonight, behind the chutes, four or five friends are stretching, talking, laughing and getting ready.  Wives and girlfriends stand near talking but watching as the guys get ready. Many of these riders are active Air Force, airmen who had to get their CO’s permission before they could ride bulls. Most have been here before, Mike Fuentes has been riding for about a year and wants to improve his ranking and get his PRCA card, maybe win some cash.  He is real impressed with the arena and folks who attend, it’s like family he says, when I first came out here I had no gear just wanted to ride.  Folks pulled together enough gear for him to get thrown off, since then, he keeps come back for more. “It’s like family here”, he says.

When the riders are queued and ready for the gate to open.  Most wearing face mask, chest protection and rubber mouth guards, they suck it up as the g-forces grab them.  Everyone has their smartphones out filming and capturing the ride to be dissected later for fun and training, either way, they want a record for their ride tonight.  Who would believe it otherwise ?

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John Schmidt is a one-man rodeo, he’s is master-of-ceremonies and announcer, he helps load bulls and picks up cowpokes off the ground. He doesn’t ride bulls anymore, after 15 years he wants to pass his skills on to others, while keeping the arena running safely. While Schmidt gets much of the credit for the friday night bull adventure pitting 160 pound cowboys against 2400 pound bulls, he is the first to pass the credit on down the line.  “Dan idea for the arena”, he deflects, “was to create a place where folks could bring their families, to visit and play together”.  Ten years ago Dan Post built the arena, bull chutes and corrals, most nights he is the fella on top of the tractor who smooths out the soil in the performance area and gets it ready for the next group of riders.

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Then he does it again, and again, all night long. “This is my service” says Dan Post, with the humility of a guy who doesn’t want the limelight.  Fact is, Dan’s service extends to the Marana School Board, where he has served ten terms, helped build all of Marana’s Schools and knows all the employees who have been hired in their public schools for the past forty years.  He’s running again this year for the school board, “Because they need my experience!” he says.  Post’s experience is unparalleled, he’s lived in Marana over 50 years and while he misses the old days and “hates seeing all the farmland go away”.  As President of the Town of Marana Western Heritage Committee, whose mission is to promote a Western way of life, allowing opportunities for people wanting an equestrian experience. Post’s prominent role on the school board, may be the reason, the arena was built on high school land. 

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Either way, it fills up most weeks for the varying events, some with jackpots, bull riders for $50 can get into the money if they stay on for eight seconds.  Some nights they might win $500, but eight seconds can feel like eternity, so some don’t. Jackpot Barrel racing, open to both Cowboys and Cowgirls, on the first Wednesday of each month, might bring out 50-60 riders who could win $150-$200 with some style and a quick ride.

Saturday can often bring hundred’s of youngsters and horses out for Horse Gymkana’s that run the kids and their critters through the paces, pillons or barrels. Four-H groups from all over southern Arizona and Tucson turn out to await their turn as they navigate the obstacle course. They learn valuable lessons in caring for animals and meet kids they will grow up with, each taking their place in the competition’s rankings.

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Lots of energy goes into making up Marana’s Western Heritage Arena, covering the

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Shayse Riera lays one on Maverick

events, coaching the kids, organizing the livestock, watering down the dust that fills the air and might drift onto I-10 if Dan Post wasn’t driving the water truck around and dampening it down, nailing down all the loose soil in the area.

Because the Marana Arena is such a class act, the Grand Canyon Rodeo Association, often has a rodeo there on the grounds bringing in top ranked cowboys and cowgirls to compete for bigger money and eventually getting into the big money which makes Rodeo a full-time job for lots of cowpokes.  It is something you have to love because many suffer lots of broken bones, cuts, scrapes and dislocations, whatever, they all go back for more because they love to Rodeo…

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Bull Riding Practice Every Friday 7 PM Sharp

Mutton Busting, Calf Riding, Steer Riding, Jr. Bulls and Bulls $5 admission adults, Children 12 & under free

Mutton Busters must weigh under 70lbs $5 fee Steer Riding $10, Bulls $20

First time Bull riders are welcome equipment available at the arena rope, helmet, vest

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Directions to Arena

I-10 exit 236 take eastbound frontage at Chevron 1/2 mile east at Postvale Rd.

For more info call 520-248-1736

MARANA BARREL RACERS-1915

MARANA WESTERN HERITAGE EVENT CALENDAR

SOUTHWEST PHOTOBANK MARANA WESTERN HERITAGE PHOTO GALLERY

COWBOYLIFESTYLENETWORK.COM

MARANA BARREL RACERS-1902

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“WHERE THE CREATOR TOUCHED THE LAND” APACHE EFFORTS TO SAVE OAK FLAT FROM “GREEDY” AND MEAN-SPIRITED POLITICIANS

Apache youth enjoy the cool stream flowing through Oak Flat Campground, a long tine favorite
escape from the summer heat by San Carlos Apache.

The lush Oak Flat campground, once a quiet island of green in Central Arizona, is known to the nearby San Carlos Apache as “where the Creator touched the land”. Its lush canopy of trees and streams surrounded by the brown Sonoran Desert leaves  little doubt this small gem is worth the fight looming in its future. It is the classic battle of good, fighting corporate greed aided by “political corruption”, against a Native American tribe that historically has been pushed to the end of their Earth.

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Apache babies once hung in cradleboards from these Oaks as their mothers, aunties and grandmothers and all their older brothers and daughters scampered about picking acorns.

 

 

The Apache, disconnected from their lands and culture, were taken prisoners-of-war and were victims of genocide. Still they endured, survived and have taken up their battle for holy land to the highest court in the land, their creator! Ussen, placed them on this earth and made them stewards of the land from the day they are born to the day they die it is inherent to the Apache to protect the land their ancestors died fighting for, today it is their fight.

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During both marches, young and old, have stepped up to the challenge of Saving Oak Flat.

More than a year ago, few knew of Oak Flat, for many, it’s the top-of-the-world-a high spot where one can see forever. Roughly a hundred miles southeast of Phoenix and a long way from all the green golf courses, resorts of Scottsdale where folks sip light beer poolside. More than 200 San Carlos Apache marched on a crowded curving roadway, backed up by vans of elderly. They marched 50 miles to Oak Flat from the Tribal headquarters in San Carlos some walking and others running across some of the hottest, inhospitable land in the United States.

APACHE MARCH-ONE YEAR-2661Today, one year plus and counting, activists are marching for Oak Flat in Honolulu, Seattle and Sacramento and protests are being held elsewhere in the U.S. The San Carlos Apache began their 2016 anniversary march in February from “Old San Carlos”, 13 miles from present day tribal headquarters, when Coolidge Dam was built it plugged the Gila River. As the water rose the historic, painful and criminal San Carlos Indian Agency was lost to the waters, as well as, 400 Indian graves.

Vernelda Granttribal historic preservation officer for the San Carlos Apache Tribe

We have mixed feelings, mixed feelings because, you know, we have the water here now, we have the fish here and these beautiful birds, and the water to us is life, but underneath it all is a lost history. This water covers a painful part of our lives from the past. I think it soothes that pain. For the Apaches, the waters help conceal a painful past. Old San Carlos was a powerful launchpad and an emotional sendoff for the almost 200 marchers and runners who churned through the 50 miles march ending up at Oak Flat for the blessing of the holy land by the Apache Crown Dancers.

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Aztec Indians dance to the “Earth’s Heartbeat” and bless this Holy Ground. “We came today to bring our prayers here-to the spirits here and within us”

Since then,  the campground has been occupied, as the Apache continue their protective watch. Meanwhile, forces are at work to turn around the “land swap” that John McCain snuck into the behemoth national defense spending bill that was passed.

Everyone now, has heard of Oak Flat ! The unjust midnight move one year ago by John McCain, bypassing due process, so a foreign copper company could steal land that serves as part of the San Carlos Apache lifestyle and culture. After a decade of successful tribal legal intervention, McCain slipped the rider into the 2015 National Defense (must pass) Bill overnight and passed it the next day, bypassing any public transparency. Today, a goggle search for Oak Flat brings back, hundreds, if not, thousands of hits. From photo spreads in GARZA the French News Magazine to an Op/Ed piece in the New York Times calling McCain and Jeff Flakes bill, “a new low in congressional corruption”, written by Lydia Millet, who says ”the rider should be repealed.” Millet suggests “laws can be reversed by new legislative language.APACHE AT OAK FLAT8162

Tucson representative Raul Grivaljva and presidential candidate and Vermont Senator both have filed legislative action to scuttle the McCain-Flake rider in favor of the San Carlos Apache Indian Tribe.

Jane Sanders visits and speaks at Oak Flat

“Oak Flat is an important cultural and religious area that is vital to the traditions of our Native American brothers and sisters – it deserves our strongest protections,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson.

APACHE MARCH-ONE YEAR-7645The Save Oak Flat Act, authored by  Tucson Rep. Raul Grijalva and cosponsored by presidential Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Ruben Gallego and Sen. Tammy Baldwin, would repeal this amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, thereby disallowing mining in this area. According to the Save Oak Flat Act, the establishment of a mine would result in, “the physical destruction of tribal sacred areas and deprive American Indians from practicing their religions, ceremonies, and other traditional practices.” Furthermore, the Act considers the potential environmental degradation due to mining waste.

John Welch, an archaeologist, long-time resident of Fort Apache and a professor at Simon Fraser University in Canada, says Oak Flat, “Is the best set of Apache archaeological sites ever documented, period, full stop.” Oak Flat and Ga’an Canyon are “where the spiritual beings that represent healing live.”

“We demand entitlement to our land and reservation, says Nosie, “through prayer, we are going to win!” “We are bringing down the barriers imposed upon us and today we breakout, the abuse from the people outside (the reservation), ends here today.”

So spoke, Wendsler Nosie, one year ago speaking in one voice for Tribal leaders from all over Arizona and Native Americans everywhere, Nosie announced Thursday February Fourth, 2015, to be “a historic day as the Apache once again took the field once again against the United States of America”.  4f34b001070f1-preview-300Nosie then led his people on a  march to Apache Leap Mountain towering over the mining community of Superior where Resolution Copper plans to use robots working deep underground to collapse the mountain beneath itself imploding the Apache sacred ceremonial grounds where their ancestors are buried, where their daughter’s held Sunrise Ceremonies, where their parents wakes and funerals were enshrined—a holy place for every chapter of Apache Life.

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“Ladies and Gentlemen, the San Carlos Brave’s Basketball Team today has won the State Championship this a very afternoon.” Applause breaks out as community members celebrate their children bringing home the top prize from the state tournament. Apache are a very proud people and their children are the center of their universe.

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Apache, activist await the arrival of the Crown Dancers who would bless this holy ground…

Apache Leap Mountain gets its name from the Pinal Apache Band who lived in those hills and valley, those rocks still carry rock art left from their dreams of successful hunts for deer and mountain sheep, game that filled their stomachs and fueled their children’s futures. That band of 40 died leaping from the ragged mountain edge as they were surrounded by the U. S. Cavalry who demanded a return to San Carlos, or die by their sabers. The Pinal Apache chose to leap knowing their God knew best how they should live and die. Today the Apache fight for their children.

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APACHE LEAP MOUNTAIN

For decades, the Apaches fought and raided encroaching Mexican and American immigrants. In the 1870s, the U.S. government forced them onto camps or reservations, like San Carlos. “HELL’S 40 ACRES” was the nickname for San Carlos Indian Agency for the deplorable living conditions found there in 1870-80’s according to wikipedia, there it reports the U.S. Army showed both animosity toward the Indians and disdain for their civilian Indian agents. Soldiers and officers Wikipedia reports “sometimes brutally tortured or killed the Indians for sport…”

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“We were pushed here”! says Wensler Nosie, former Chairman of the San Carlos Apache people and spiritual leader of the Save Ash Flat Movement. APACHE MARCH ON OAK FLAT-NOSIE-5287We used to roam the entire South West, but we were told to stay at San Carlos and extermination was the response when we didn’t. The white man killed our ancestors, my great grandparents, when they tried to continue their nomadic lifestyle. My mother told me, stay on the reservation-don’t bother those white people outside or they will rain down hurt upon you and our people! That was a sickness pressed upon our people by the U.S. government, that ends today,  “Today we pray to our God and through God we will win!”

Councilman Fred Ferreiria from the San Carlos Peridot district says “they gave us this land because no one wanted it — they found minerals — and they took it. If we don’t stop it now, bit by bit, they will take it all away again.” We learned the laws and how things are done, we were doing that and the government broke the rules, we must continue this fight, we are here today for our children.”

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“We have champions in Congress and they will help us “Repeal the Law” said Ed Norris, chairman of the Tohono Oodham (above)

God blesses the world–he put us here to protect the land and as long as we put God first–he will fight for us. Apache people were taught to pray and only through prayer will we win. The white man came to America in search of religious freedom but still they deprive the Apache of what is his religious right.” “We are still prisoners-of-war” said Wally Davis, chairman of the Tonto Apache speaking of people forced marched to the San Carlos Indian Reservation. “This is a message to all Native Americans.” “San Carlos is still a prison, ” Davis said. In March 1875, the government closed the Yavapai-Apache Camp Verde Reservation and the Army marched the residents 180 miles to the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. More than 100 Yavapai died during the winter trek. After Geronimo’s capture in 1886, and the Chiricahua Band were shipped to Florida, San Carlos was then used to contain all the rest of the Apachean-speaking people until the 1900’s.

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RESOLUTION MINE PLANS TO STACK TAILINGS FROM PICKETPOST MOUNTAIN (above) TO FLORENCE JUNCTION ALONG THE SIDE OF HIGHWAY 60, FOR 20 MILES ,THE PILES WILL BE STACKED BETWEEN 500′ TO PERHAPS 2000′ TOWARD THE END OF THE MINING PROJECT.

“This is Apache territory and Oak Flat belongs to the Apache—they took it away from us and we must take it back says Apache Chairman Terry Rambler. shafts283“I’m very proud of my ancestor’s “Apache Pride” we were supposed to be exterminated but we are here today, let’s take over Oak Flat, this is our time to be involved! Apache were slaughtered and killed here—we will fight for the blood of our ancestors. The chairman said the San Carlos Tribal council voted against any copper mines being built upon their land.”

“The white people came to this land searching for religious freedom, fleeing persecution, they wanted “ to have the ability to pray, we want the same freedom”. Some people have to visualize something, like a church, a structure to express their love of God, Oak Flat is our church, it is no different today. Today is about religious freedom, we need to keep our connection to our God.”

It is a little known fact, that the largest, most-amazing copper deposit in Arizona, lies beneath the city of Mesa. So imagine, if you will, the Mesa Arizona Temple – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gets a federal notice that the church is off-limits and will be demolished in order for China to have all the copper they want to sell back to us. That’s Oak Flat, in an nutshell, the church of the San Carlos Apache is threaten by a copper mine and since environmental studies have been ruled unnecessary, the San Carlos people fear for their water and their spirituality.

In addition to the destruction of this place of worship, the Land Exchange will threaten the water quality and water supply of the region. The Tonto National Forest was established in 1905 principally to protect the region’s watershed. However, the Land Exchange will effectively eliminate these protections. Under current plans, the mining operation will require an unsustainable amount of water to operate and leave behind contaminated water affecting the Tribe and local communities for generations to come. The resulting hole will be two miles across and resemble “Meteor Crater” near Winslow, Az.

Meanwhile the 1978 American Indian Religious Act forbids government to denying Native Americans access to sites or to interfere with religious practices and customs where such use conflicts with  federal regulations according to  President Jimmy Carter this act stops that. Both Presidents Nixon and Eisenhower signed bills setting aside Oak Flat from mining and development.  It was established as a green space for Americans to enjoy.

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A few months ago, the National Museum of the American Indian contacted the SouthWest PhotoJournal to acquire “images for their upcoming classroom lesson plan their Education Department was developing, a lesson plan about American Indian Removal, for teachers and students K-12. The web-based module titled “Many Trails of Tears.” would be a teaching tool to understand the impact and complexity of U.S. Removal Policies, with a wide variety of stories and outcomes. One part of the lesson was to focus on Oak Flat. They asked students to look at Oak Flat and determine whether mining on a sacred site is an example of removal today says Erin Beasley, visual researcher for the National Museum.

“Just recently the web lesson plan went through a review process Beasley reported a couple months later, and “the education team has informed me they had to drop the Oak Flat story in the lesson plan for the immediate future”. “It may come back at some point, but for now I’m very sorry to say we won’t be using the Oak Flat images. Oak Flat is such an important story, I’m sure it will come into another project, or become a growth of this educational project, in the future.”

I frankly had expected the change because the battle over Oak Flat is growing very contentious and workers at the National Museum are subject to the will of Congress and to be calling Oak Flat, an example of forced relocation, while Republicans are saying never mind, this campground is no consequence or no major importance, could cost a job.

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Sides have been chosen and battle lines drawn both Reps. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, and Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Flagstaff, asked the National Park Service to withdraw the Oak Flat application to the National Register of Historic Places, saying it was confusing and vaguely worded in an attempt to undermine the proposed Resolution Copper mine. They noted, among other things, that the application did not cite “Oak Flat,” as the area is commonly known, but called it the “Chi’chil Bildagoteel Historic District,” according to the Cronkite News Service.

“We are concerned that the use of the phrase ‘Chi’chil Bildagoteel Historic District’ and a lack of geographic information is an attempt by these opponents to limit transparency and public comments from constituents that disagree with this nomination, and an attempt to undermine our bipartisan bill” the lawmakers’ letter said.

In the March 10th edition of the Tucson Weekly Republican Congressman Paul Gosar goes nuclear at news that Oak Flat will remain listed in the National Register of Historic Places, despite attempts by himself and U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat who alleges to stand by Native Americans, to withdraw the site from historic consideration.

In a press release, Gosar alleges Oak Flat has never been a sacred site. According to a letter by former chairman of the San Carlos Apache Nation and organizer of the group Apache Stronghold Wendsler Nosie, Sr., Gosar is pressuring the National Forest Service to kick out members of the Apache Stronghold, as well as allies, who have occupied the area since the site was sold out to the mining company.

“Oak Flat deserves our strongest protections,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson. “As someone who has fought to safeguard this treasure for years, I fully support designating the land as a historic property listed on the National Register of Historic Places and encourage the National Park Service to evaluate the proposal based on its merits.” 

APACHE MARCH ON OAK FLAT-NOSIE-5391 (1)Wendsler Nosie Sr. marching to Oak Flat

“Today eagle feathers arrived here on foot, this is a spiritual gathering. The idea is to get here so the blessing can be given by God. We have arrived so God will have blessed us…we are all brothers and sisters here. Together we will protect our water so we can continue to live as human beings.The Apache need to be afforded the same protection as all U.S. citizens—we Apache want the same rights afforded everyone else. This is a gift from God to help save the world may we all be blessed from this day forward.”   Wendsler Nosie Sr. 

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San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler, Wendsler Nosie behind.

One year ago  Wendsler Nosie ,  spiritual leader of the San Carlos Apache, said a movement had begun and his tribe had “once again taken the field against the United States of America.” Since then members have occupied Oak Flat and continued their lifestyle using the campgrounds and canyon and valleys of Oak Flat, as the scene for weddings, funerals and the Apache Sunrise Ceremonies, the three day ceremony that celebrates Apache women coming of age. This fine stand of Emory Oaks for centuries have brought the Apache here to pick and fill their containers with acorns, to make a long time favorite Apache meal, Acorn Stew, as well as enjoying the acorn itself. Tisha Black says her 84 year old father “loves to pick acorns” at Oak Flat and the former tribal policeman, baliff and jailer stopped picking acorns there a few years ago, after a Highway Patrolman told him he couldn’t pick the nuts at Oak Flat anymore.

Since the required environmental impact studies for the proposed Resolution Mine were rendered pointless by the McCain bill, the tribe and other central Arizona residents, will have no protection for their groundwater and the mine will not be libel if water is spoiled.

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Soon, if Resolution Copper gets access to the Copper beneath Oak Flat, the Superior Az community Easter campouts will cease at the campground and everything that has happened at Oak Flat before will cease to exist or occur. Eventually, the campgrounds, canyons and “world class” climbing rock will be place off limits as robots a mile beneath the surface collapse this mountain and ship the ore overseas.

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Pomono Tribe from California does a “Pomono Two-step”

“We have to stand up and fight Congress, laws can be made and laws can be changed!  John McCain made a big mistake doing this to us said Terry Rambler, Chairman of the San Carlos Tribe. These politicians aided Resolution Mine, the Canadian Copper Mine that wants to collapse Apache Leap Mountain and ship the copper ore overseas. Leaving the Apache, the hole and a contaminated water source. “What was a struggle to protect our most sacred site is now a battle. Their angry words leave no doubt that “greedy politicians” like Sen. John McCain, Sen. Jeff Flake, Anne Kirkpatrick and Rep. Paul Gosar, have worn out their welcome in Indian Country.

“The rape of Indian land stops today on this historic day”, Nosie continues. ” Oak Flat was a gift from God to the Apache people, may we all be blessed from this day forward,” Nosie tells the crowd. “We are spiritually guided here–indigenous people from all over the world are watching our fight”! If America is the World’s Policeman, and this under-handed maneuver is how they treat their native peoples, then what hope do native souls have anywhere?

CENSORED NEWS: OAK FLAT FROM THE SAN CARLOS PERSPECTIVE ! 

Earlier Blog on the First March to Oak Flat

APACHE STRONGHOLD

SAVE OAK FLAT

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SOUTHWEST PHOTO JOURNAL 2015

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TAOS Pueblo NM

TAOS PUEBLO….one of the “oldest places” in the United States and this ancient pueblo greeted Coronado men when they penetrated into  southwestern America

Crunching 2015 SouthWestPhotoJournal.Com blog numbers for the year

The SouthWest Photo Journal began life as a sister site to South West Photo Bank, both .coms, showcase my photography which usually features the American South West.  When the sites started my plan was to develop tools I as a photographer would use to display my photos and tell the kind of stories I have enjoyed working on all my life.  After almost 50 years of working with cameras it is in the blood.  My life as a photojournalist has exposed me to many of the cultures that make up the rich tapestry of life I have found here in the Southwest.  This past year, my blog has reflected life in Arizona on four separate reservations found in Sells, Sacaton, San Carlos and Whiteriver.  Each blog reflects on the rich communities on the Tohono O’odham, Gila River Tribes, San Carlos Apache and the White Mountain Apache reservations.  I have alway thought that life-long Arizonans miss out on so much by failing to learn more about their neighbors.  These blogs attempt to share the rich customs and traditions found throughout our state.  Closer to home, my blogs on the Pow Wow, Mescal Movie Set and the A-Mountain Cross carry reflects smaller communities within communities, people of one mind and tradition.  The Tucson Rugby Community was a great blog and a wonderful experience, these folks play their hearts out, and deserve greater community  support.  Archaeology is a great pull on my curiosity and the Oro Valley Pit House blog features the background behind the people who lived in the Oro Valley area 800 years ago.  The Mule Creek Salado Pueblo built by Archaeology SouthWest’s Allen Denoyear, as was the Oro Valley Pit House, these communities are long gone but interest in what they accomplished during their time on earth continues.  A few epic blogs on the Grand Canyon, the Spanish Entrada into the South West and another on Spanish Missions tend to pick up traffic as time goes by.  Blogs on Cuba, Nepal and Alaska usually have a news peg like Cuba opening up after a half century, Nepal suffering crippling earthquakes and Alaska because I finally got those photos scanned and rooted into the South West Photo Bank.  Below is WordPress.Com annual review of the stats from the South West Photo Journal and thought you might enjoy.

Thanks for making this all possible…

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 51,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 19 sold-out performances for that many people to see it. There were 637 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 507 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per day. The busiest day of the year was June 17th with 4,382 views. The most popular post that day was SAN CARLOS APACHE MARCH TO OCCUPY OAK FLAT PROMISE A FIGHT TO SAVE THEIR HOLY GROUND FROM THE GREED OF McCAIN, KIRKPATRICK, FLAKE, GOSAR AND THE RESOLUTION COPPER MINE !.

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That blog eventually had 23,817 views and 20 comments.  Many of those hits came to SouthWestPhotoJournal.Com from a Facebook connection from a New York Times OP/ED which called this land swap, “political corruption” following McCain slipping a rider in the “must-pass” National Defense Bill for which McCain sits on the Chairmanship of the most powerful of committees.  Outrage was the tone of the comments.

In 2015, there were 15 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 135 posts.  That’s 141 countries in all who visited the site! Most visitors came from The United States. Canada & France were not far behind.

2015 ANNUAL REPORT

Attractions in 2015

These are the posts that got the most views in 2015. You can see all of the year’s most-viewed posts in your Site Stats.

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“SAN CARLOS APACHE MARCH TO OCCUPY OAK FLAT PROMISE A FIGHT TO SAVE HOLY GROUND FROM THE GREED OF McCAIN KIRKPATRICK FLAKE GOSAR AND THE RESOLUTION COPPER MINE …..23,817 views!”

Home page / Archives 8712 views

OLD TUCSON’S MESCAL CHANNELS THE OLD WEST’, IT’S PRICELESS, BUT MOVIE SETS ARE NOT BUILT TO LAST ONLY FILM MAGIC LIVES ON ! …….1612 views

HONEY BEE PIT HOUSE CONSTRUCTION MAPS OUT THE HOHOKAM’S LIFE WAYS AT STEAM PUMP RANCH IN ORO VALLEY EXPANDING THE PREHISTORIC RECORD ! …….776 views
APACHE SUNRISE CEREMONY … A COMING OF AGE DANCE FOR APACHE WOMEN …..615 views

THE LANGUAGE ON THE ROCKS : WAS THE FLUTE-PLAYING KOKOPELLI, A TRADER, DIPLOMAT, TEACHER OR WITCH ? DID ROCK DRAWINGS REVEAL THE SECRETS OF THE COSMOS AND THE FACE OF EARLY MAN? ……454 views

THE GREAT FORT APACHE HERITAGE CELEBRATION or NDEE LA ADE’/ GATHERING OF THE PEOPLE WHOSE YOUTH ARE KEEPING THEIR TRADITIONS ALIVE !…412 views

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GREAT FORT APACHE HERITAGE DAY VIDEO/CROWN DANCERS

SPANISH ENTRADA SEARCHES FOR CITY OF GOLD, CORONADO FINDS AMERICAN SOUTH WEST, SEES LITTLE TO VALUE EVEN LESS TO CARRY OFF! ….400  views

PISTOLERO JOHNNY RINGO A LOWLIFE NO GOOD BACKSHOOTIN SCUMSUCKER IS BURIED IN WEST TURKEY CREEK ….380  views

TUCSON’S NEW SKATE BOARD GENERATION CATCHES WAVE TOWARD THE NATIONS BEST SKATESCAPE …364  views

GREEN VALLEY’S ASARCO DISCOVERY MINE TOUR SHOWS THE BEST AND WORST OF COPPER MINES AND THE ART OF HARDROCK MINING362

Annetta Koruh "Nita" bakes Piki Bread for her godson's Naming ceremony and to feed the Kachinas that come to dance at 3rd Mesa.    The baker dips their hand in a mixture of cornmeal, crisco, and sheep brains plies the mixture thinly upon a flagstone rock which bakes the bread.Annetta Koruh “Nita” bakes Piki Bread for her godson’s Naming ceremony and to feed the Kachinas that come to dance at 3rd Mesa.
The baker dips their hand in a mixture of cornmeal, crisco, and sheep brains plies the mixture thinly upon a flagstone rock which bakes the bread.

Newspapers flying off to Dodo Island …356  views

VIVA! PROCLAIMS ELOY ARIZONA UPHOLDING A TRADITION OF FAMILY AS MEXICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY SEPTEMBER 16 SENDS RIPPLES WORLD-WIDE…..299  views

INDIAN RODEOS ARE WHERE YOU FIND THE ACTION and TRIBAL FAIRS OFFER A RICH VIEW OF TRADITIONAL LIFE ….293  views

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THE POW WOW PATH LEADS TO FAMILY & FRIENDS DANCE COMPETITIONS BUILDS NATIVE AMERICAN PRIDE WITH TRADITIONS LINKING TO THEIR PAST !……264  views

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TOHONO O’ODHAM TOKA TOURNAMENT IS A TOAST TO THE PAST AND REVIVAL OF OLD SOCIAL GAMES …262  views

SOUTHWEST SPANISH MISSIONS BROUGHT THE “GOSPEL’S LIGHT TO THE RIM OF CHRISTENDOM HELPED THE NATIVES CARVE A LIVELIHOOD FROM THE LAND AND WRITTEN HISTORY BEGAN !”….238  views

A GATHERING OF WARRIORS;   IRA HAYES WELCOMES HOME TRIBAL PATRIOTS TO SACATON TO CELEBRATE THE WARRIORS’S FIGHTING SPIRIT !……217 views

SUPERIOR COPPER MINE TO USE ROBOTS ON WORLD-CLASS ORE BODY, SAN CARLOS APACHE VOW FIGHT TO SAVE RESERVATION WATER FROM IRANIANS…..215 views

Kateri TekakwithaKATERI TEKAKWITHA BATHS HER LOVE LIGHT ON THE WHITE DOVE OF THE DESERT ! SAN XAVIER MISSION…..203 views

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MUL-CHA-THA BRINGS GILA RIVER INDIAN TRIBES TOGETHER FOR FUN WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS ! 30 YEAR STUDY OF PIMA BLOOD MAY CURE DIABETES…..191 views

MUL-CHU-THA RODEO and FAIR: IS A FOOT RACE TO A BETTER LIFE ! PEE POSH AND AKIMEL O’ODHAM TRIBES TAG TEAM COMMUNITY PROGRESS WITH GATHERINGS188AMERICAN SOUTHWEST LANDSCAPE…..186 views

“ALL WE NEED IS A SPARK! SEVERE FIRE SEASON PREDICTED IN U.S. SOUTH WEST: A FOREST OF “TORCHED TOOTHPICKS” WILL BE OUR LEGACY”……180 views

BEARIZONA! ENTER at YOUR OWN RISK!   South West BLACK BEAR Preserve Productive Stop for Photographer…..174 views

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TUCSON RUGBY: “THE LONGEST 40 MINUTES IN YOUR LIFE-YOU WANT OUT-BUT ARE AFRAID SOMEONE WILL LAUGH AT YOU RUCKING AND MAULING IS TEAMWORK”…..173 views

AMISH FALL ENDS MID-MISSOURI SEASONAL CYCLE HARD WORK BEGINS ANEW BEFORE THE SNOW FLYS…..161 views More Amish Photos

Most popular photo on the SouthWestPhotoBank.Com keeps getting traffic from the Amish of Missouri.

Most popular photo on the SouthWestPhotoBank.Com keeps getting traffic from the Amish of Missouri.

“THAT SPOT IS NOT THAT SCENIC! BUILDING ROSEMONT MINE: EARNING THE PUBLIC TRUST! SELLING  ARIZONA’S NEXT OPEN PIT MINE”…..159 views

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2015 was Wet and Wild for the annual Sells Rodeo, Fair, Pow Wow and Toka Tournament

TOHONO O’oDHAM 76TH RODEO and FAIR BRINGS FAMILY AND FRIENDS TOGETHER TO CELEBRATE…..150 views

SELLS 75TH ALL INDIAN RODEO & FAIR, OLDEST IN THE UNITED STATES & BEST ENTERTAINMENT TICKET!…..140 views

CONFEDERATES SCARE OFF YANKEES PICACHO PEAK PARK SALUTES 150th ANNIVERSARY OF ARIZONA VICTORY…..138 views

Civil War in the SouthWest video………

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“TREE TIME THE SINGLE GREATEST CONTRIBUTION TO AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY THE STUDY OF TREE RINGS or THE DAY SOUTH WEST PREHISTORY STOOD STILL …”…..134 views

THE DRIEST & HOTTEST YEAR IN 500 YEARS !   THE RELENTLESS SOUTHWESTERN DROUGHT: EXPERTS SAY ‘GET USED TO IT’…WILL ARIZONANS BE THE NEXT ‘CLIMATE REFUGEES’ ?……133 views

BORDER SECURITY   FACT or FICTION ? MORE BOOTS ON THE BORDER NOW THAN EVER BEFORE ! SOME CALL FOR MILITIA, MARSHALL LAW TO STOP THE INVASION !…..131 views

TOHONO O’ODHAM SLAP STICK IS A COMPETITIVE BATTLE IN SELLS, NOT FOR THE WEAK-KNEED, NOR FOR THE FAIR WEATHER VISITOR…129 views
The TOHONO O’ODHAM :   A DESERT PEOPLE …..126  views

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BIRDING IN THE SOUTHWEST, TAKE YOUR SCOPE ! NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE IN ARIZONA THERE IS A HOT BIRDING PARADISE AT A WETLAND NEAR YOU ! …..122 views

END OF THE WORLD COMING ON SOLSTICE ? WHITE BUFFALO WOMEN SAYS LOVE THE WORLD AND EACH OTHER LOVE WILL RETURN BALANCE TO OUR WORLD !…..120 views

GET YOUR KICKS ON ROUTE 66 HISTORIC ROAD WEST DEFINES AMERICA REMAINS A TREASURE TO BE NURTURED AND APPRECIATED…120 views

AFRO-CUBAN SANTERIA RIVERSIDE DANCE IN HAVANA…120,000 views

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CUBAN SANTERIA RIVERSIDE CELEBRATION…..105 views

WYATT EARP NO SHOW FOR TOMBSTONE’S EARP DAYS LETHARGY SWEEPS MEMORIAL DAY EVENT……101 views

ARIZONA’S CROWN JEWELS …..98 views

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COWBOY UP ! COWBOY DOWN…SACATON JUNIOR RODEO A BOOT CAMP FOR ARIZONA’S NEXT RODEO STARS…..98  views

URANIUM MINING in the SOUTH WEST: NAVAJOS TRAPPED BY TAILING and DECADES OF INACTION……90 views

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PECOS CONFERENCE OPENS WINDOW TO THE VIRGIN ANASAZI’S ARIZONA STRIP FARMERS AND TIMELINE…77  views

“ONLY THE GODS CAN SEE THEM ANCIENT MAN PETITIONS SKY PILOTS”76TUCSON SUNSET ECLIPSE ALL ABOUT SAGUAROS, THE RING OF FIRE STRETCHES FROM ASIA TO NEW MEXICO…..61  views

MEXICO’S ONLY CORAL REEF, CABO PULMO ON BAJA’S EAST CAPE, NEEDS PROTECTION FROM GREEDY DEVELOPERS WHOSE LUST FOR 23,000 NEW ROOMS WILL KILL THIS PARADISE !,=…..60  views

NOW CUBA IS OPEN TO THE U.S., WHERE TO STAY IN HAVANA? TRY A BED AND BREAKFAST, LIVE DOWNTOWN AND PARTY WITH THE LOCALS ! ……59  views

A HAVANA CUBA VIDEO VISIT…..50 views

SOUTH WEST PHOTO BANK GALLERYS…..49 views

TUCSON’S DOWNTOWN NEW STREET CAR SYSTEM ROLL OUT OVERWHELMINGLY RECEIVED BY 60,000 RIDERS EMBRACING THE NEW RIDE…..57  views

HAYDEN’S SMELTER TURNS 100 YEARS, POLLUTION ISSUES WORRY RESIDENTS BUT QUIET LIFE, GOOD JOB, A BIG PLUS56THE COLORADO RIVER WATERS THE AMERICAN SOUTHWEST…..53 views

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO McCORMICK & DEERING ?…..51 views

ROCK ART RANCH TAKES   VISITORS BACK IN TIME !   EXPERTS MARVEL AT “BIRTHING SCENE A GLIMPSE OF SOUTH WEST PREHISTORIC LIFE ON PECOS 2013 TOUR”…..48 views
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TUCSON’S DAY OF THE DEAD PROCESSION 2010…..48  views

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Civil War in the SouthWest video………47 views

DESERT WILDFLOWERS, JUST THE ICING ON THE CAKE FOR HIKERS, PHOTOGRAPHERS

AND LOVERS OF THE SOUTH WEST BACK ROADS AND SCENERY…44 views

CUBA’S LOVE – HATE RELATIONS WITH AMERICAN CARS LEFT IN A 1950’S TIME WARP – EVERYONE MAKES DO !…….44 views

FALL COMES TO ARIZONA HIGHLANDS……42  views

pks monkey photo

EXPLORING NEPAL : A   SEARCH FOR PREHISTORIC MAN IN THE TIMELESS HINDU KINGDOM…..41  views

PK

PK with the Prehistoric Man he sought

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TUCSON’s 2011 DAY of the DEAD PROCESSION : A NEVER-ENDING LESSON in LIFE and LOVE !……39  views

VIDEO FEATURING 25 YEARS OF THE TUCSON DAY OF THE DEAD PROCESSION

 

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THE ALASKA RAILROAD’S TALKEETNA-TO-HURRICANE RUN OFFERS GREAT SCENERY– AND WHERE ELSE CAN YOU FLAG DOWN A TRAIN ?

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TALKEETNA, Alaska -This is a train trip that can hardly rival the Siberian Railway, the Orient Express or any of the world’s other great rail journeys. After all, this is a trip that’s only 54.7 miles long.

But incredible scenery is the attraction on the Alaska Railroad’s local flag stop service that will carry people, luggage, camping supplies, building materials and most anything else you can haul aboard through some of this nation’s most isolated, rugged and beautiful land.ALASKA TALKEETNA-38-

Alaska’s flag stop service is the only one in the country. Tell the engineer where you want to get off, and he’ll stop there – anywhere. Flag him down with a white cloth and he’ll pick you up on the return trip. It’s more like an intracity bus than a train.

But for people living in this area of Alaska, where there are no roads, no trails, no flat spots big enough to land a plane, it’s the only way in or out.

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Tourists are welcome, but the flag stop service is mostly for locals and visitors who want to get completely away from it all for a few days. Ask conductor Gary Knutson if there will be any narration along the way, and he says, ”Once in a while someone will yell, ‘Bear!’ but that’s about it.”

breaktime

ALASKA TALKEETNA-36-The route starts in Talkeetna, a SHOE-1funky town of about 600 people (think Bisbee hauled about 2,900 miles north) that is the jumping-off spot for climbers determined to scale Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America. The train turns around less than 60 miles north at Hurricane, nothing more than a train maintenance building.

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The flag stop train is a one-car, self-contained, selfpropelled unit – a combination locomotive, passenger and baggage car in one.

Three-quarters of the trip parallels the broad Susitna River, which provides unlimited opportunities for hiking, camping and fishing.

Many of the visitors that ride the flag stop, hauling aboard enough stuff to equip a good-size sporting goods store, don’t really know where they want to go. ”They’ll ask us to drop them off at a good spot for fishing or whatever, and we usually have some suggestions,” said Knutson.

ALASKA-3High school ROTC students  disembark  to live off the land.

On this trip, a squadron of Junior ROTC cadets from a high school in Hawaii were aboard with their leader, heading for a five-day wilderness experience. The leader had some idea where he wanted to go, and engineer Pete Hackenberger accommodated their request, stopping the train in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere as the cadets unloaded their gear and hiked into the thick forest growing right up to the tracks.

 

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Hunter and guide Gary Prichard watches Alaska slip by the window as his dog Ginger enjoys the dry ride. Dropped off in the middle of nowhere, two Alaskan schoolkids (below) prepare to float 40 miles down the Susenta River to Talkeetna.

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Despite ominous signs warning of federal laws forbidding passengers from entering the engineer’s compartment, operation of the flag stop train is pretty casual. Hackenberger usually runs the train in a ”uniform” of T-shirt and shorts during the summer, frequently bringing his dog, Bear, with him for company.

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Hackenberger and Knutson know everyone who lives along the Talkeetna-Hurricane route. Several people who have built cabins far from any sign of civilization have used the train and another larger freight that plies the same tracks to haul in their homes, piece by piece.

ALASKA-2Engineer Pete Hackenberger says the Talkeetna-to-Hurricane run is the best job on Alaska’s rails.

At one point along this run, Hackenberger slowed the train and sounded the whistle. A man emerged from the underbrush and Hackenberger waved and tossed him a pack of cigarettes as he went by, fulfilling a request from the day before.

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”People are really nice along here,” Knutson said. ”You really get to know them. One guy flagged us down and gave us a covered skillet. It was filled with blueberry pie. So we ate the pie and dropped off the skillet on the next trip.”

On the way back to Talkeetna, three fishermen with their dog flagged down the train for a lift back to town. Hackenberger and Knutson climbed down to help them lift their equipment into the train.

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‘No fish and you still have beer?” Hackenberger asked as he lifted a heavy cooler. ”You didn’t read the manual. We might not let you on.”

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It is not unusual to see eagles, bear and other wildlife. On this trip, a large moose and her two calves bounded away from the tracks as the train approached. If the weather is good, there are spectacular views of Mount McKinley from the train.

”There certainly are worse jobs,” said Hackenberger. ”I think this is some of the most specular scenery anywhere.”

by MARK KIMBLE

 

 

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MORE ALASKA PHOTOS … SOUTHWESTPHOTOBANK ALASKA GALLERY

TALKEETNA, ALASKA TO HURRICANE GULCH

THE BEST WAY TO SEE ALASKA – IS BY ALASKA RAILROAD…

Flag Stop Service Schedule: During the summer, the train runs Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Runs are far less frequent during the winter. The train leaves Talkeetna about noon and returns about 6 p.m.

Fares: The Talkeetna-Hurricane  55 mile route is $100 for adults roundtrip  More info: 1 (800) 544-0552 or 907-277-4321 for trip planning expert

 

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ARIZONA’S GRAND CANYON: “A ONCE IN A LIFETIME EXPERIENCE….” A SENSATION OF FEELING ALIVE WASHES OVER YOU !

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FROM THE NORTH RIM TO THE SOUTH, EAST RIM TO THE WEST THE CANYON IS BEING LOVED TO DEATH AND SQUEEZED FOR EVERY DOLLAR IT CAN PRODUCE…NORTH RIM onedge6026“Leave it as it is. Man cannot improve on it; not a bit. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.”
GrandCanyonColoradoRiverLFTndX“Leave it as it is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the loneliness and beauty of the canyon.”

President Teddy Roosevelt’s first visit to Arizona in May 1903

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Arizona’s World Heritage Site, The Grand Canyon, the one spot in the World everyone really needs to see because it is one of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders. It stands out as the number one tourist stop of the American South West attracting up to five million visitors each year. Ninety percent visit the Canyon’s South Rim, others drive to the North Rim and a growing amount of the Las Vegas traffic is crowding onto the Haulapai West Rim, featuring “the SkyWalk” the Tribe’s key piece of a larger tourism development the tribe plans to build along their canyon’s rim, cashing in on the world attraction. Air traffic visiting the Grand Canyon must fall into “air corridors” and fly a counter-clock wise tour of specific features finishing spinning out of the washing machine tour, which is filled with as much air traffic, as most large municipal airports handling hundreds of flights daily. On the canyon’s East Rim at the confluence of the Little Colorado River and the Colorado, the place of emergence for the people of many southwest Indian Tribes, Navajo Tribal members debate over building a tramway to their planned riverside restaurant allowing everyone to visit the inner canyon. Outside money wants to build a 2000 home development in Tusayan AZ, taping the region’s fragile water aquifer, and straining existing supplies. Every corner of the canyon has outside pressure that compromises the Canyon’s “Wilderness” status but for five decades pontoon rafts powered with gas motors have cruised right down the middle of the tall cliffs and those motors alone (and the U.S. Congress) have kept America’s most Iconic Wild Place, the Grand Canyon, from it’s richly deserved and needed “Wilderness” status. Without the motors, the almost 20,000 raft visitors on the Colorado would shrink to 8-9,000 and frankly, “that would be unAmerican and totally unsatisfactory”. Meanwhile, many of theseGRAND CANYON VIEW-3RAFTING COLORADO RIVER- pressures could be mitigated with a “Wilderness” status not to mention new pressures to open old uranium claims and at the same time open new sources of mine waste pollution to Canyon waterways, creeks and streams, some of which are already unsafe for drinking. More than a half million unstable mine tailing ponds, shafts stand ready to drain into western water tables, as well as the Colorado River, a water source for 28 million people scattered across deserts from Tucson to LA.

The Golden Goose fable of our youth preaches that ‘Greed loses all by striving all to gain’! How many times have you circled a South Rim pullout looking for a parking spot ? How many “hard metal” spills in to the Colorado River will be okay, until we realize we are poisoning ourselves ? If you build a 2200 home development next to the Grand Canyon, it just becomes a “big ditch”! There are a lot of reasons for the situations facing the Grand Canyon many sadly are special interests …. One very obvious special interest is that National Park Service funds generated by the wildly successful “Grand Canyon” is funneled off to less successful parks while its own needs suffer. Some Navajos argue jobs are more important than preserving the traditions and sacred lands of the Navajo. Others say without the customs, beliefs and land, nothing else matters. Mining in the region has a history of irresponsibility and negligence, there is more than one superfund cleanup sites looking for funding. The River Runners Assoc. points to a solar-powered boat motor being developed and so all this should fade if the motor sound and emissions disappear. Then there would be no obstacle to the needed “Wilderness” Status. For many years as Republican budgets have strangled NPS funds to repair and rebuild infrastructure often pushing arguments for privatizing Parks, “Coca Cola’s Grand Canyon”, is often suggested as where such actions would led.

GRAND CANYON LOOKOUT-GRAND CANYON SHEEPXXXX-Motorist entering the Grand Canyon’s South Entrance is entering one of the NPS busiest gates any where in the United States, four lanes of traffic, bringing in annually 5-6,000 visitors daily. Today lane four is closed and traffic is backed up 13-15 cars deep in lanes one thru three, “Lane four was worn down to the bare dirt, it was really bad–they had to close it. “Just worn out”! Driving through the park the first signs you see ask the public not to approach wildlife or feed it, deer frequently graze on the roadsides and close contact with motorist is always possible. Almost two dozen deer were destroyed in Indian Gardens after becoming addicted to junk food and were slowly starving to death after campers had pampered the deer with handouts that destroyed their wild constitutions.

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I pull into the Desert View Point, the first view of the Grand Canyon seen GRAND CANYON-37by visitors arriving from the East Entrance Gate, making my way to the Lookout I start getting the idea English may not be the first language ofTooShorttoSeeGrandCanyon1701 choice, but the common denominator is the Grand Canyon, everyone wants to see it.  Sunset is approaching and the building crowd is drifting toward the point jutting out from the South Rim’s iconic Historic Tower. As the sun lowers folks begin to debate whether this is the BEST viewpoint to photograph the Sunset, for many visiting the Grand Canyon is a once in a Lifetime happening, so photographers want to make the most of the moment. GRAND CANYON-7222 Tourist begin squeezing toward the furthest spot to get their iconic photo of their visit to the “big ditch” a photograph destined for a lifetime in a frame.  Four English-speaking Ukrainian women take their turn when a GRAND CANYON --3Greek man pushes to the viewpoint moments before the sun sinks into the horizon.  “We made it”, he proclaims spinning taking in the whole 360 degree panarama, he pulls out his five week old chichuaha pup and hoists the dog above his head giving Marianna the ultimate viewpoint. “She goes everywhere with me, he says  I’ve been trying to get here since I was in the fifth grade, he whoops. “We made it” he repeats asking the Ukrainian women to take his picture passing his phone only to have it returned. Dead battery!
The Ukrainian women pull out their iphones and produce the needed pictures and exchanged email addresses.  Then the Greek wants one more picture.  Pushing Marianna to the women, he faces into the abyass, thrusts his arms into the air and throws his head back like in a rockyesque goal-line celebration or was it more like one does in the bow of a ship as it breaks through the waves and a great sensation of being alive washes over you! “Take the picture”, he asks realizing his lifetime goal. For many people a trip to the Grand Canyon is the trip of a lifetime.

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As old as time itself the Grand Canyon has been loved and appreciated almost to death.  Four and a half Million Tourists come each year to view the Canyon about the size of Delaware, 277 miles in length and averages about ten miles across.  While the Grand Canyon is one of the biggest CANYON CROWDS12-12money makers in the National Park portfolio, it was Jan Brewer,Governor of the State of Arizona who paid to keep the Canyon open when Republicans shut down the US Government.  The tourist dollars fallout from a Canyon visit for the State of Arizona is enormous.  It is so beneficial that places like Las Vegas, keeps trying to sell it as Nevada’s Grand Canyon, selling flights to the Canyon including flyovers and ground visits via buses or the popular Pink Jeep Tours. Not long ago I heard a NPR broadcaster speaking about Utah’s Grand Canyon and that I can sort of understand.  Utah’s still sore because Arizona stole Monument Valley and could be looking for payback…

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More than 30 Helicopter fly out of Grand Canyon Airport many more leave daily from Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff, Salt Lake and Las Vegas, Nevada. Some fly solo flight missions, others off load passengers for ground transport, while other packages include the Sky Walk or inner gorge visits.

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For most Americans, visiting the Grand Canyon, is on their “Bucket List”. For some it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, for many seeing all its grandeur, and how it is experienced, depends upon your abilities. For some hiking in, while others pullout hop along the rim, some raft through and other fly. Grand Canyon Airport daily handles the flight load of major cities airports, and built a new $9M 120′ flight tower for the only airport owned by the State of Arizona. In addition to the 300 flights originating at GCA daily, the tower sees incoming flights all day from Las Vegas, Sedona, Phoenix, Salt Lake, not to mention cross country jets. Like the two that collided over the Canyon June 30, 1956.

The 1956 Grand Canyon mid-air collision occurred at 10:30 am when a United Airlines Douglas DC-7 struck a Trans World Airlines Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation over the within the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park, resulting in the crash of both airliners. All 128 on board both flights perished. It was the first commercial airline crash to result in more than 100 deaths, and led to sweeping changes in the control of flights in the United States. The location of the crash has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

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gc_uranium_mapClaimsGarrett Paulsen writes in the SWAviator.Com Blog NPS Special Flight Routes ….flying into the Grand Canyon still allows for sightseeing even though pilots “are operating within certain constraints”. “Flying in the Canyon is no longer a free-for-all”, Paulsen reports.
Then there are the money people !  The Grand Canyon when on hard times and Republican Administrations we have frequently heard the need for Corporate sponsors so America’s Coca Cola Company could have a chunk of the Canyon, placing their logo on signs and no doubt advertising, privatization is not too far off on that path.  The Sierra Club recently proclaimed the Canyon “the most endangered park” due to wear and tear, new Uranium mine claims and needs for modernization for the safety of the millions who visit Arizona’s Grand Canyon.  As I enter the popular SouthWest Park Entrance and flash my ID and fabulous Senior Park Pass, the friendly Ranger says this entrance sees between 5,000-6,000 people a day and is one of the busiest NPS gates in America.  Lane Four was coned off and workmen were scrapping off the old roadway and were preparing to lay down a new surface.Cars begin to stack up ten-thirteen vehicles are politely waiting, after all, we are all on vacation. GRAND CANYON-7207 I move on to the Canyon’s edge. “I’m on the edge of the World”, shrieks a eight year old, his arms spread as wings cast long shadows as the Canyon light moves lower in the West. As old as it is, fans and new technologies, still bring fresh perspectives to the timeless Grand Canyon.  Selfies are what the Grand Canyon is all about.  Gone are the days of everyone passing their phones or cameras so everyone had a view in their phone gallery. GRAND CANYON-53Today the “Selfie Sticks” and “Selfie Apps” which allow you to view your camera’s viewfinder in your phone’s monitor allowing for ease in composition, gone are the “Hail Mary” composition where you just pray you included everyone in the photograph. Couples now just hold out their camera or phone on a extension stick replace the middle man.GRAND CANYON-7157Like Marianna and endless number of others had pleasant exchanges with people from all over the world in that simple moment when they turned to a strangers and universally ask them to make their picture, technology often loses the human part of life in its rush to make our world better. GRAND CANYON-7169GRAND CANYON --6 Whether you have seen the Grand Canyon from the North, East, West or South Rim, from a raft or kayak on the Colorado River or by sitting atop a mule or walking in to Indian Gardens or Phantom Ranch and climbingGRAND CANYON-29-2 back out. Everyone enjoys the Canyon at their own pace, some never get enough, there is a large number of folks who walk from atop the South Rim down to Phantom Ranch, cross the Colorado River by bridge, climb up to the North Rim, turn around and go back to the South Rim in one day.  Who does that ?  A surprising enough number of people who love the challenges the Canyon throws at them and finds the challenge fills their inner soul as well as pushing their bodies to overcome natures obstacles. Rather than being punished on the trail-some want to experience the Canyon on the back of a mule and are willing to pay $550 for one or $960 for two to overnight at Phantom Ranch.  But first, riders must be at least 4 feet 7 inches in height and must speak and understand English, must be in good physical condition, should not be afraid of heights or large animals, and cannot be pregnant. Finally must weigh less than $200 full dressed.

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Mule rides from the South Rim can be reserved through: Xanterra Parks & Resorts.   Call (303) 297-2757 or toll free (888) 297-2757
Xanterra Parks & Resorts, 6312 S Fiddlers Green Circle, Suite 600 N, Greenwood Village, CO 80111 Visit: www.grandcanyonlodges.com
For Day Before waiting list information, call (928) 638-2631 or contact the Bright Angel Lodge transportation desk inside the park.

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I have come here to see the Grand Canyon of Arizona, because in that canyon Arizona has a natural wonder, which, so far as I know, is in kindnorthrim5808 absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I shall not attempt to describe it, because I cannot. I could not choose words that would convey or that could convey to any outsider what that canyon is. I want to ask you to do one thing in connection with it in your own interest and in the interest of the country–to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I was delighted to learn of the wisdom of the Santa Fe railroad people in deciding not to build their hotel on the brink of the canyon. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the loneliness and beauty of the canyon.GRAND CANYON-32El Tovar Grand Canyon first opened for service in 1905. The premier hotel and restaurant at the Grand Canyon was originally operated by the FredCANYON CROWDS2-2 Harvey company. The El Tovar is been the most sought after lodging for over 100 years. In 2005, the Park celebrated the 100th anniversary for this classic historic National Park lodge. It was originally built to accommodate those distinguished passengers who arrived on the Sante Fe Railway. You can make the El Tovar a part of your Grand Canyon vacation if you plan far enough in advance. If you desire to stay at the El Tovar, we recommend that you call Xanterra Parks and Resorts at 1-888-297-2757 at least 18 months in advance.

ABOUT XANTERRA PARKS & RESORTS   Open all year, Xanterra South Rim, L.L.C. offers the largest provider of ”in-the-park lodging.” We are authorized by the National Park Service to provide many visitor services within the park: Six distinctive lodges – all lodges are within walking distance of the South Rim! All provide Fine and casual dining, retail shops in unique, historic buildings and the world famous Grand Canyon mule ride, as well as, motorcoach tours of the park.

THUNDERRIVER3“THUNDER RIVER”, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater once said was his favorite spot in all of Arizona.  He was mesmerized by a river appearing wild in the wall of a rock cliff and watching it tumbled down the rock and create Deer Creek, a trusted water source.

grand grand canyonOne late afternoon sitting alone at a random roadside pullout a car full of tourists pulled into the drive and out jumped one nice Asian lady who did a quick left to right scan with her video camera and jumped back into the crowded car and spun off.  I figured she was the trip photographer and they were running late so she jumped out to record the vista and would share her video with her companions at trips end.  It is also possible that some find one vista of the Grand Canyon looks a lot like the last, hopefully not! I would like to think others share my love for the beauty of the American SouthWest and no place is more iconic of America’s grandeur and exceptionalism and its beauty changes constantly with the light.

GRAND CANYON-7194Activist say the Grand Canyon is facing the most serious threat in its 95-year history. It would alter the natural beauty of the canyon and encroach on its borders. Secondly, a major housing and commercial development, jeopardizes the fragile ecology and water supply on the arid South Rim. The Tusayan development would add 2,200 homes and 3 million square feet of commercial space to a town two blocks long. Park officials say existing development around the park and the scarcity of water have already stressed the park’s ability to handle visitors and new projects will only make matters worse.

GRAND CANYON DEER CREEK5-3LA Times reports water is already so precious in the park’s resident elk herd have figured how to operate the Grand Canyon’s new water faucets

GRAND CANYON-7135and began serving themselves. A young elk defending his water fountain began chasing away all who would drink. The park imports all water for its South Rim hotels, restaurants and amenities from springs on the north side of the canyon. An antiquated aluminum pipeline threads 13 miles though the serpentine fissures on the canyon floor, then up a mile of sheer rock on the South Rim. The pipeline regularly breaks down, requiring helicopters and burros to ferry crews at a cost of $25,000 per service call.

The park would like to replace the water system, but the price tag — as much as $150 million — is more than twice the yearly construction budget for all 400 parks in the National Park Service system.

Park rangers in Grand Canyon National Park in 1995 had to kill off two dozen mule deer that were hooked on junk food left by visitors. The deer had become addicted to Cheetos, Fritos and candy that tourists picked up from a nearby ranch. Once hooked, the deer lost their natural ability to digest vegetation, ranger David Haskell said. “They’ve become in extremely poor health, almost starving.” Haskell called junk food the “crack cocaine of the deer world.”

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Only the South Kaibab, Bright Angel, and North Kaibab Trails (known as the Corridor Trails) are maintained and patrolled on a regular basis. These three trails meet at the bottom near the only bridges that span the Colorado River. Together, they create a popular cross-canyon “corridor”. The Corridor Trails offer expansive views, reliable water sources, great camping, and the opportunity for hiking in and out on different trails. Backcountry rangers highly recommend this area, especially for your first Grand Canyon adventure.

Gary Olson recently made the hike into the depths of the Canyon from the South Rim to Phantom Ranch. “Yeah, it was my 14th time to the bottom, probably my last hiking it. Just too tough humping it out, although I did it in just under 6 hours, always a benchmark time for me. This trip was with 11 other members of the Southern Arizona Hiking Club, all but 3 of them older than me. I finished the trips in and out at least an hour and a half faster than many.”

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“Last time I hiked the Canyon was at least 8 years ago. Few things change other than the trail and those hiking it. The South Kaibab Trail was in terrible shape, worst I’ve seen it. Huge holes from the mule hooves, which makes for awkward hiking at best and very tiring. One in our group misjudged a hole, tumbled on his face and had to turn back.”GRAND CANYON-18

“I passed a drover with his pack train going in and asked about his animals kicking holes in the trail. He said it was rain water causing the holes, which, of course, was bullshit. We discussed it some at the bottom. One contended the park service fills the holes twice a year and we were just early for the latest repair efforts. I don’t know about that, but the constant pressure from the animals certainly exacts a toll on the trail and the hikers for the sake of profits. The Bright Angel was much more user friendly as usual but very slushy the last half mile.”

“Everyone in our group remarked at the number of French people on the trail, noteworthy given recent events in Paris. Lots of Asians, and a good sprinkling of Middle Eastern-looking types.”

“Usual mix of Americans, just younger (or am I just older?). More teens than I’ve seen before, bopping along the trail with no packs and light to inadequate footwear, passing me like I was standing still; they seemed oblivious to the potential for problems. Even toddlers and babes in arms making their way down Bright Angel. I hiked out hopscotching with a group of 6 with a very talkative guide, who sounded like a blowhard from my knowledge about the Canyon. An old guy like me and 5 relatives from 20s to 40s. Strange thing was they were equally divided, half from Maine, half from Hawaii.”        Gary Olson

For Info on Camping and Backpacking in the Grand Canyon…click here

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HIKING THE GRAND CANYON BACKCOUNTRY …. CLICK HERE

Hikers can walk down the three most popular trails — Bright Angel and South Kaibab from the South Rim, and North Kaibab from the North Rim — as far as they’d like, although the National Park Service discourages trips to the Colorado River and back in a single day. Each of the three proposals for revising the backcountry management plan would institute a day-use permit for hiking more than 5 miles on those trails and at least a $5 fee. Park officials say it’s meant to cut down on overcrowding farther below and improve the experience for hikers. The park would reserve the right to limit group sizes and set daily caps.

TELL THE PARK WHAT YOU THINK

The three options for backcountry management took years to develop. GRAND CANYON-26Each has a different focus from balancing recreation with resource protection, to solitude to expanding recreation activities. Another option would leave things as is. The public has 90 days to comment. Park officials are trying to get a better handle on how many people head into the canyon and to the most primitive areas with recent proposals to manage the backcountry. They say the trails are too congested and hikers complain of noise, trash along the trailss and long lines for toilets. The park says it will be a year or more before a final decision is made.

For more information, go to www.parkplanning.nps.gov/grca

The park also wants to monitor relatively new activities like rim-to-rim excursions, canyoneering, climbing and short rafting trips on the Colorado River to get backpackers to the other side. The proposals aim to reduce conflicts among outdoor groups seeking the solitude of the backcountry and to ensure the park’s resources are protected. Between 30,000 and 35,000 people a year spend the night in the backcountry, according to park officials.

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WHAT IS THE BACKCOUNTRY?

Anything below the rim of the Grand Canyon is considered the backcountry. Much of it has been managed as a wilderness area since 1980, which means motorized travel, power drilling to place bolts into rocks and helicopters largely are prohibited. The backcountry is divided into four zones that range from having developed campsites and lodging, water faucets and well-maintained trails to absolutely no amenities and only natural water sources. Overnight stays in the inner canyon require a backcountry permit.

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Havasupai means people of the blue-green waters. The spectacular waterfalls and isolated community within the Havasupai Indian CANYON CROWDS6-6Reservation attract thousands of visitors each year. The Havasupai are intimately connected to the water and the land. This blue- green water is sacred to the Havasupai. It flows not only across the land, but also through each tribal member. When you enter their land, you enter their home, their place of origin.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Grand Canyon…click here

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Each year, over 20,000 visitors hike, ride horses, or fly by helicopter the last 8 miles into the canyon where the Havasupai Indians live. Tourists from around the world come to Havasupai to see this remote Indian village tucked away in the Grand Canyon, to see the last U.S. mail mule train in the country, to see the turquoise blue water and travertine pools of Cateract Creek, and to see the beauty of Navajo, Havasu and Mooney Waterfalls, and to camp, swim and play in this unbelievable setting. Visitors to Havasu Canyon assume all risks while in the canyon and should come prepared. Be aware! Havasu Canyon is a fragile environment and is subject to flash floods as are all canyons in the region.

LAS VEGAS GRAND CANYON TOURS….CLICK HERE

GRAND CANYON --35Supai village, is located in Havasu Canyon, a large tributary on the south side of the Colorado River, is not accessible by road. The Havasupai Tribe administers the land, which lies outside the boundary and jurisdiction of Grand Canyon National Park. Approximate driving time from Grand Canyon Village (South Rim) is four hours. West from Williams on I-40 to Seligman, turn off on U.S. 66. Look for Indian Highway 18.

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Please note, if you do not have a reservation, and just show up – you will be billed at twice the amount of the regular price. That’s $114 plus tax per person not $57. According to the tribal website the Havasupai Reservation is largely dependent on tourism as the primary revenue generator of the Havasupai Tribe and individual tribal members.Operation Supai began in 1995 when the Northern Arizona Marine Corps League requested a squadron to deliver goods to the Havasupai. HMM-764 was selected for the mission, and the squadron has delivered goods every year for 17 years to the tribe which consists of around 300 people. HMM-764 partners with the local Marine Toys for Tots program based in Flagstaff and St. Mary’s Food Bank every year to bring 150 bags of toys to over 100 children and 100 boxes of food and turkeys to the small, remote tribe. Their CH-46 helicopters allow them to deliver the goods down into the Grand Canyon where the Havasupai live. The Grand Canyon airport serves as a staging area to load goods and personnel and refuel the helicopters. The Havasupai Reservation is remotely near the southwest corner of the Grand Canyon National Park outside of the main park. The Havasupai Tribe is a primary source of employment for the Havasupai tribal members. Tourism provides revenues for the Havasupai Reservation and the Havasupai Tribe is actively engaged in the tourism business.The Havasupai has four tribal enterprises: Havasupai Tourism, the 24-room Havasupai Lodg, Havasupai Cafe, and Havasupai Trading Post. The four tribal enterprises are primary generators of revenue for the Havasupai Tribe and its members. Contact Information: Tel: 928 448 2111 or 928 448 2201 Email: lodge@havasupai-nsn-gov   The Tourism Office (the Camping Office) is the point of contact for all reservations except for the Lodge. You must call the lodge directly to make a reservation or inquiry about a room.

Example Camping Fees:  Note these charges double if you don’t have a reservation…For Party of 4: 2 adults, 2 children ages 14 & 10 Hiking in and camping for 2 nights

QTY
DESCRIPTION
AMOUNT
TOTAL
4
Entrance Fees
$35.00
$140.00
8
Per night Camping Fees
$17.00
$136.00
4
Environmental Fees
$5.00
20.00
Subtotal
$296
10% Tax
$29.60
Total
$325.60

“We have no reservation but here we are anyways “ Camping Fees are doubled ! $651.20 now not $325.60 !

For camping reservations, please call:1-928-448-2141 or 1-928-448-2121 or 1-928-448-2174 or or 1-928-448-2180 If lines are busy, keep trying! They try to answer all calls. The Camp office needs to know your Desired dates and Number of people in your party and Number of nights of camping (This is NOT an overnight adventure 3 days is best…)

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The Grand Canyon Skywalk is located, not in Grand Canyon National Park, but at Grand Canyon West, on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, approximately halfway between Las Vegas and Grand Canyon’s South Rim. It is a three-hour drive from Las Vegas by way of Hoover Dam, a six-hour drive from Phoenix through Wickenburg and Kingman, or a five-hour drive from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. The other side of the canyon can be seen three miles away. The Skywalk is not directly above the main canyon, or Granite Gorge, which contains the Colorado River. Rather, it instead extends out over a side canyon.  No more than 120 persons are permitted on the structure at one time, cameras, cellphones and all personal belongings must be checked and everyone’s shoes are covered with cloth booties to avoid scuffing the glass view of the canyon.

Famed astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, the Apollo lunar explorer lead the first walkers onto the Grand Canyon Glass Skywalk in a private ceremony on March 20, 2007. The Skywalk is the cornerstone of a larger plan by the Hualapai tribe, which hopes the structure will be the catalyst for a 9,000-acre development called Grand Canyon West. Future plans call for a museum, movie theater, VIP lounge, gift shop, restaurants and a golf course. There are plans for a high-end restaurant called The Skywalk Café, where visitors will be able to dine outdoors at the canyon rim. There would be cable cars to ferry visitors from the canyon rim to the Colorado River, which has been previously inaccessible, except by helicopter.

The SKYWALK Legacy Gold Package Includes:
– Entrance Fee to the Hualapai Tribal Lands
– Skywalk ticket to walk on the glass bridge over the Grand Canyon.
– Meal at viewpoint of your choice.
– Photo opportunities with Hualapai Members
– Hop-on-Hop-off shuttle to all 3 viewpoints

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Tourists walk on the glass-bottomed Skywalk that extends 70 feet over the edge of Grand Canyon West’s Eagle Point, Wednesday, March 28, 2007, in northwestern Arizona. The Grand Canyon Skywalk opened to the public on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. (Arizona Republic Rob Schumacher)

Gold Package
$80.94 Per Person: Be sure to allow 3 to 4 hours for your visit
Skywalk ticket to walk on the glass bridge over the Grand Canyon
Meal at viewpoint of your choice and photo ops with Hualapai Members
Hop-on-Hop-off Shuttle to All 3 Viewpoints: Eagle Point, Guano Point, Hualapai RanchGRAND CANYON 6-Visitors may purchase professional photographs of their visit to the Skywalk in the gift shop. Personal cameras -OR- Cell Phones are NOT allowed on the Skywalk itself; along with other personal property, all must be stored in a locker before entering the Skywalk. Grand Canyon West is located on the Hualapai’s Tribal lands, and the National Park Passes and other Entrance Fee’s DO NOT apply at Grand Canyon West. Info&Reser:   1-888-868-9378     Email:reservations@grandcanyonresort.com

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Looking eastward from the popular South Rim, visitors could soon see a construction as workers build restaurants, hotels and shops on a distant mesa on the Navajo Indian reservation. The developers also plan a gondola ride from those attractions to whisk tourists to the canyon floor, where they would stroll along an elevated riverside walkway to a restaurant at the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers.

The question before the Navajo Tribe being argued “Is it the best thing to do to sacrifice this nationally important, internationally important resource, the Grand Canyon, and the confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers in the name of economic development?” The confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado River is a sacred place to many Navajo, to the Hopi, to the Zuni and to other tribes, and it’s an internationally important place as well.

“There should be some places that you just do not mine.  Uranium is a special concern because it is both a toxic heavy metal and a source of radiation. I worry about uranium escaping into the local water, and about its effect on fish in the Colorado River at the bottom of the gorge, and on the bald eagles, California condors and bighorn sheep that depend on the Canyon’s seeps and springs. More than a third of the Canyon’s species would be affected if water quality suffered.”

— Steve Martin, former Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent

Permanently polluted land and water are a direct result of federal programs that encouraged uranium prospecting on public lands beginning in the 1950s. That mining and milling boom in the Four Corners area lasted for about three decades before going bust. When the bottom dropped out of the uranium market, the industry went belly-up, leaving thousands of poisonous surface sites and deadly groundwater plumes.

In 1979, an earthen dam breached, releasing 1,100 tons of radioactive mill wastes and 90 million gallons of contaminated water into a tributary of the Little Colorado River. In 1984, a flash flood washed tons of high-grade uranium ore from Hack Canyon Mine into Kanab Creek, which drains into Grand Canyon. Located within the Park’s south rim, the Orphan Mine continues to contaminate creeks, prompting the National Park Service to warn backpackers along the Tonto Trail not to use water from two drainages.

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Today, the NPS advises against “drinking and bathing” in the Little Colorado River, Kanab Creek, and other Grand Canyon waters where “excessive radionuclides” have been found. Although it is difficult to attribute this contamination to any specific activity, there can be little doubt that the cumulative effects of mining, milling, and transporting radioactive materials are causing long-term, adverse effects on people, water and other resource values in the Grand Canyon region.

Beginning in 2006, the price for uranium began to rise. Thousands of new claims have been filed within watersheds that drain directly into Grand Canyon National Park and the Colorado River.  A Canadian-owned company reopened the White Mesa Mill in Blanding, Utah, and began processing uranium for powering nuclear reactors in South Korea and France. Without requiring any revisions to outdated environmental assessments, the BLM automatically allowed the same company to begin opening mines that were abandoned by its previous owners in the 1980s.

“This is bad news for protecting Grand Canyon and tribal sacred sites,” said Roger Clark of the Grand Canyon Trust. “Over the last two decades, we’ve learned how uranium mining can pollute aquifers that feed canyon springs and Havasu Falls. But the Forest Service has ignored that information and failed to require Energy Fuels to take reasonable steps to prevent contamination of water, sacred sites and public lands.”

“This is bad news for protecting Grand Canyon and tribal sacred sites,” said Roger Clark of the Grand Canyon Trust. “Over the last two decades, we’ve learned how uranium mining can pollute aquifers that feed canyon springs and Havasu Falls. But the Forest Service has ignored that information and failed to require Energy Fuels to take reasonable steps to prevent contamination of water, sacred sites and public lands.”

The Forest Service first approved the Canyon mining plan in 1986, despite a challenge from the Havasupai tribe. Uranium prices plummeted shortly thereafter and the mine closed in 1990 before producing any uranium. The Forest Service allowed the Canyon Mine to reopen in 2012 without a plan update or environmental assessment to reflect the extensive changed circumstances since the original review and approval. These changes include the 2010 designation of the Red Butte traditional cultural property, reintroduction of the endangered California condor in the vicinity of the Canyon Mine, and the 2012 decision to ban new uranium mining across 1 million acres near the Grand Canyon.

“This uranium project could haunt the Grand Canyon region for decades to come,” said Katie Davis with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Uranium mining leaves a highly toxic legacy that endangers human health, wildlife and the streams and aquifers that feed the Grand Canyon. It’s disappointing to see the Forest Service prioritizing the extraction industry over the long-term protection of a place as iconic as the Grand Canyon.”

Geologists have warned that uranium mining could deplete and contaminate aquifers that discharge into Grand Canyon and that cleaning them up would be next to impossible. A 2010 U.S. Geological Survey study found elevated uranium levels in soil and water sources associated with past uranium mining.

This summer U.S. District Judge David Campbell denied a moritorium to halt uranium mining at the Canyon Uranium Mine.  Only six miles from the Canyon’s south rim, The Havasupai Tribe and several conservation groups had challenged the U.S. Forest Service to reopen the mine without consulting with the Havasupai or completing an environmental review.  Opponents fear the mine endangers wildlife, endangered species, Tribal Cultural values and the risk of toxic uranium waste contaminating the aquifers and streams in the Grand Canyon feeding the Colorado River.

“We will continue to fight to protect Grand Canyon, its waters and its watershed,” said Sandy Bahr, director of Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “The Forest Service should consider the harm this mine could cause to the groundwater and ultimately the waters in Grand Canyon National Park. We are extremely disappointed in the judge’s failure to recognize that.”

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Leave it as it is. Man cannot improve on it; not a bit. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. What you can do is to keep it for your children and your children’s children and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American, if he can travel at all, should see. “Keep the Grand Canyon of Arizona as it is!” concluded President Teddy Roosevelt during his first visit to Arizona on Wednesday, May 6, 1903, 112 years ago…

 
GRAND CANYON ITALIAN SOUTH ENTRANCE DEVELOPMENT ON HOLD FOR NOW

SIGN THE PETITION FOR OBAMA TO CREATE A GRAND CANYON MONUMENT

SIGN PETITION TO STOP GRAND CANYON PROJECTS

GOPRO VIEW OF GRAND CANYON SKYWALK…A HUNDRED DOLLAR VALUE

WALL STREET JOURNAL … A SELF GUIDED RAFT TRIP THROUGH THE GRAND CANYON

LINE UP YOUR GRAND CANYON AIR TOUR…

GRAND CANYON SKYWALK

VISIT THE SOUTH RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON
VISIT THE NORTH RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON
VISIT THE EAST RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON
VISIT THE WEST RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON

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RAINBOW GOLD GROWTH ? ORO VALLEY AT THE TURNING POINT, SAVING THE SANTA CATALINA RANGE AND ORO VALLEY FROM ITSELF…

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The original Rancho Vistoso was a large Adobe ranch house located where today Walmart parking lot at Oro Valley's Marketplace Plaza.

The Canon del Oro Valley is the gold at the end of the rainbow. The original Rancho Vistoso was a large Adobe ranch house located where the Walmart parking lot at Oro Valley’s Marketplace Plaza buzzes with activity as shoppers visit big box stores.

Life rarely gives us second-chances, but they do happen. Oro Valley Arizona has a second chance to decide what their Future should look like.  Town residents have banded into two groups, recall elections are November 3rd, emotions have flared-assault charges and lawsuits filed and election signs vandalized and tossed into the bushes. The usual politics one finds in Small Town USA all over the country. Oro Valley’s problem:  it’s one of the most beautiful places in the United States and finding the proper balance between preserving the Canon Del Oro Valley’s “Drop Dead Gorgeous” status and developing the town wanna be city so everybody is happy. Making everyone happy will be a tall order.

Walmart Shopping Center at MarketPlace

Walmart Shopping Center at MarketPlace

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Same view as above 40 years earlier…

Mainly, because Oro Valley has become a developer’s paradise and any change there will be bumping heads with BIG bucks. Oracle Road, which is State Highway 77, which is the town’s main drag has been a 7 mile construction zone for so long know one can remember when it started. Much of this work is ramping up and adding another lane, taking two lanes to three, making room for future development. They are also building expensive wild life crossings, both over and under styles. In Colorado they have found predators just await their prey on the blind side of these crossings and just gobble till they are full. Speedtrap.org lists 80,000 bothersome speed revenue mills and knows Hwy 77.

Developers in Oro Valley in recent years, have squeezed in 800 apartments, providing housing for Iowa farmers who want to get out of the snow.  Sun Dorado, the next generation of Mark-Taylor Apts, has the prime spot nestled into the Santa Catalina range at 1st Ave and Oracle Road, featuring the “largest health center you have ever seen in a apartment complex”, dog-friendly and walking access to all the unique shopping nearby. Mountain views cost extra, it’s cheaper to stare at Oro Valley and Oracle Rd, for a one bedroom it’s $930 with a view, large kitchen and a closet but a three bedroom with a view tops out around $1650-but up to six people  can sign the lease.  No one bedrooms available now, but some might open up.

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That boutique shopping experience as you leave San Dorado’s lighted gated community begins with CVS Drugs; store number 10,006 now found on most corners near you, the next shop is a FIRM mattress shop and everyone needs one, the next is a Nail Spa, also found everywhere. So the question facing the voters, what premium do you place on living in one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., or is growth-any growth worthwhile ?  Some voters might argue that building all those apartments at the junction of lst Ave and Oracle Road and providing pads for businesses found on most every street corner in Tucson on a spot which was the community’s focal point of the Catalina Mountains might have been insensitive and might better have been a green space for the community to feed their souls and revel in the beauty that GOD has provided.  That would not have made someone rich but it would have made the community richer.

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Catalina Arizona sits next to Oracle Road north of Sun CityRancho Vistoso just south of the Pima-Pinal County Line...in the distance stands the Santa Catalina Mountains

Catalina Arizona sits next to Oracle Road north of Sun CityRancho Vistoso just south of the Pima-Pinal County Line…in the distance stands the Santa Catalina Mountains

Oro Valley has some nice green spaces, along the (dry) riverbed–Steam Pump Ranch was a nice idea until it was squeezed in by gas stations and commercials strip malls, something was lost. Lunching on day at the amazing Saguaro Cafe in Oro Valley my dog engaged me in a conversation with two realtors who suggested Oro Valley’s real prosperity will come from commercial development along Tangerine Road. “It will be the next Speedway”, they agreed since it is a major I-10 to Oro Valley corridor.

Oro Valley Council members meet with residents explaining how

Oro Valley No vote Council members meet with residents explaining how “dirty” actions from the Mayor and the other YES votes for the new City of Oro Valley Recreation Center compromised  their vote with a rushed agenda. Councilman Mike Zinkin in the foreground, Councilen William Garner in RED, and Brendan Burns in blue behind.

Oro Valley residents listen to Councilmen opposed to the new rec center

Oro Valley residents listen to Councilmen opposed to the purchase of the Old Conquistador Country Club also stressed concerns about Golf dying as a business, water woes.  In Phoenix several golf course are rebranding their communities,  they are tearing out the fairways and adding boulevards. An uncertain future shadowed these concerns…

Now Oro Valley has a second chance to make the right decisions.  It is my opinion the present mayor, will continue to fuel development since a large portion of his election campaign has been financed by the folks doing the building, that’s the way politics works. Mayor Satish Hiremath is running to hold onto his office in the Nov. 3 recall election along with town council members Lou Waters, Joe Hornat and Mary SniderThe recall was initiated by the Oro Valley Citizens for Open Government after the Town Council voted 4-3 in December to buy El Conquistador Country Club and increase the town’s sales tax to raise money to remodel the facility into a community and recreation center. The council members facing recall all voted in favor of the proposal. The facility was purchased for $1 million and includes 324 acres, 45 holes of golf, 31 tennis courts and two swimming pools. A 31,475 square-foot building that requires renovation will be paid for with a half cent sales tax that took effect in March.

Rancho Vistoso in 1975, today this view is some one's front yard inside the HoneyBee Reserve gated community...

Rancho Vistoso in 1975 today its someone’s front yard in the HoneyBee Reserve gated community…

Oro Valley was incorporated in 1974 and has grown from a shady Oasis to one of the more prosperous communities in Arizona with almost 130,000 people within seven miles, incomes averaging around $70,000, it has been voted Best Place to Raise Kids, Good Place to Retire because of the strong property values and low crime. Truth is, Oro Valley and the Tortolita Mts

Arizona Governor Bruce Babbit turns over the soil dedicating Catalina State Park and at the same moment he opens Rancho Vistoso Sun City for business.

Arizona Governor Bruce Babbit turns over the soil dedicating Catalina State Park and at the same moment he opens Rancho Vistoso Sun City for business.

for decades was everyone’s backyard.  Quail Hunters reveled in the explosion of birds they found there, javalina hunters still tell tales of the hunt and folks like me, explored and hiked, searched for the wild herd of mustangs running free in those hills. After the land swap, when Governor Bruce Babbitt, created Catalina State Park and in return made possible Rancho Vistoso Sun City, locked gates started appearing–pushing long-time Tortolita Mountain lovers from their haunts. Thinking maybe when they are through building, I thought, but that is when the gated communities started popping up, so for most of us, it was goodbye to the Tortolitas. Growth has continued unabated, in 2008 when housing all over the U.S. died. Oro Valley barely skipped a beat sales slowed and inventory faded but not like the rest of the country.

Cows on trust land equals tax break, the field feed the cows. A lean farm operation.

Cows on trust land equals tax break, the field feed the cows. A lean farm operation.

In the early 1970’s John Ratliff and his associates requested that Pima County rezone a 4,000-acre parcel of land lying east of Oracle Road, north of Tucson. The property known as Rancho Romero was located adjacent to the western slopes of the Coronado National Forest’s Santa Catalina Mountains. The proposed development included a variety of housing units that would accommodate 17,000 people, which would surround golf courses along the Canada de Oro and Sutherland Washes. When this rezoning request came before the Pima County Planning and Zoning Commission, there was so much opposition from the public that the proposed plan was put on hold. Tucson residents said they preferred the preservation of this area as open space, with developed recreational facilities, this was the beginning of Catalina State Park. But not the last attempt by developers to put subdivisions on the east side of Oracle Road.

Before Oro Valley, the grassy field is today's Marketplace.

Before Oro Valley, the grassy field is today’s Marketplace.

Hilton Conquistador 1028

The Oro Valley Conquistador Hotel, the first construction on the east side of Oracle, has been on the auction block, off and on, last time was 2012. The 400 room structure began life as a Sheraton Hotel, then Hilton  presently Premier Hospitality Management maintains the contract. Its restaurants were a big draw in the beginning but as growth came to Oro Valley more restaurants came in and greater variety made expensive Mexican food less interesting.

Desert Springs was one proposal recently turned down, Sabino Springs popped up in 1990 but developers will be back.

Desert Springs was one proposal recently turned down, Sabino Springs popped up in 1990 but developers will be back.

ORO VALLEY-5413ORO VALLEY-5435ORO Valley-4092PKW_1419

For me, the building East of Oracle Road is the most offensive.  West of Oracle, growth will continue north until it hits Oracle Junction, nothing will change that.  More than once, developers have attempted massive subdivisions featuring more than 500 homes, shops, condo and apartments east of Oracle Road where Tangerine Road intersects, Sabino Springs

Oracle Road after a winter dusting of snow.

Oracle Road after a winter dusting of snow.

was one name, others will come and they will keep coming until they get their prize butted up against Catalina State Park. Folks will awake in the campground and stare into someone’s back yard. SunChase Holdings Inc. pledged “a high quality project” that would be tasteful and would fit in with the surroundings. Another attempt for this prize was fought off in 1990, with a progrowth Mayor, they will get the land and that will be the beginning of the end for the Catalina Mountain Range.  Sunchase said they needed 85 acres with up to five homes per acre, 13 acre of five home per acre and up 11 acres of commercial and offices.  In between they plan to weave hiking and biking trails, blending stores, offices and a mix of housing types.  One caveat floated was the possibility of a Tram from Oro Valley to Mt Lemmon, making Oro Valley a must stop for all tourist blowing through Tucson.  Much shorter ride than when it was first suggested from downtown Tucson decades ago.

Oro Valley's First Avenue and Oracle Road has become downtown for the community...

Oro Valley’s First Avenue and Oracle Road has become downtown for the community…

With the new animal crossings on Oracle Road, any concern about “wildlife corridor” between the Catalina and the Tortolita Mountains pretty much go out the window, regardless of major habitat fragmentation. Big Horn statue A short while ago I listen to an Oro Valley resident wish she was living in SaddleBrook just up the road.  She was simply amazed by all the wildlife those residents enjoy. After the bright lights of Oro Valley chased off the last of the Desert Bighorn living atop Pusch Ridge-the town adopted the Bighorn as a symbol of the community erecting several life-sized statues throughout the town. Today new bighorn have been transplanted atop the nearby ridge but disease and mountain lions have taken their toll.

ORO VALLEY GROWTH-6730 ORO VALLEY-6328

Many years ago, I was out-raged by the wall built to block the view across the Canon Del Oro Wash that eliminates out the most perfect view of the mountains.  I was sure they just wanted to be sure everyone had their eye on the road (now they are texting) but after while I realized how wrong I was.  That wall is a sound barrier for all the expensive homes that soon will be built above the road level and on top of the first foothills, most money gets the highest spot. No one will pay big bucks for the spectacular sunset views if the road noise from below drowns out the elevator music.

Sound Wall for the big bucks lots yet to come.

Sound Wall for the big bucks lots yet to come.

It is all going to change soon, unless it is stopped now. The Town of Oro Valley Special Recall Election will be held Tuesday November 3, 2015.  A polling place election, voters may request an early mail ballot, for more information call the Pima County Recorder 520-724-4330…

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NW Overview

I began this blog pointing out that Oro Valley’s problem is that it is one of the most beautiful places in the United States. What I haven’t said is when folks finally end their long journey on I-10 and the Catalina’s finally come into view, there is a sigh, and I know I’m home again. We all take their beauty for granted but try to imagine that skyline without those hills and take stock in what we have and the responsibility to leave this beauty for the children, our future-what will Oro Valley look like tomorrow.

ORO VALLEY CITIZENS FOR OPEN GOVERNMENT

CITY OF ORO VALLEY

PIMA COUNTY RECORDER-REGISTERING TO VOTE

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IN TOUCH WITH THE MIMBRES, MOGOLLON, SALADO PROBLEM IN MULE CREEK NEW MEXICO, SOUTHWEST ARCHAEOLOGY FIELD SCHOOL PROBES FOR ANSWERS

DIANAN TREVIZO (Clovis, NM) and ALEXANDRA NORWOOD (Pasadena CA)
work with three quarter groove axes to remove the back from these ridge poles for the Pueblo's roof.
MULE CREEK ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SCHOOL-6727

Using Stone Axes DIANA TREVIZO and ALEXANDRA NORWOOD try to scrape the bark from the roof poles for the 13th Century Pueblo they are building near Mule Creek, New Mexico. They are building a adobe pueblo at the same time they are digging one up near Cliff.

JOE HALL screens fill from a new room block using window screen for every fourth load. Lots of info can fall through the cracks, like fish bones.

JOE HALL screens fill from a new room block using window screen for every fourth load. Lots of info can fall through the cracks, like fish bones, turquoise bead.

Students in the 40-day Preservation Archaeology Field School sift through fill from a Salado Pueblo called the Dinwiddie Site

Students in the 40-day Preservation Archaeology Field School sift through fill from a prehistoric Pueblo called the Dinwiddie Site in east central New Mexico. Fourteen students, the best of the best, 4.0 students were turned away, each student chosen brought a special something to the school. Unlike the traditional Field School this curriculum highlights preservation archaeology, an experimental component has the students building an adobe pueblo like the one they are digging up. Students also compete throwing 4′ Atlatl darts.

The peopling of the South West is a story best told by pottery. Ceramic pottery can tell archaeologist what they ate, where it was made, who made it and with whom the owner traded or aligned with…in a sense what was important to that culture and how successful or influential the culture was, how long it survived, and finally where did they go. But until tree ring dates, the chronology of all the ruins of the southwest, was a mystery until one afternoon when two pieces of charcoal crystalized everything that was known about the prehistory of the South West. In the one hundred years since man began probing the earth beneath their feet looking for secrets from the past much has been learned revealing to archaeologist how little they know or understand about early residents.  So new strategies have evolved aided by the quick fresh minds of the next generation of archaeologist, new software that peels back the past, reveals pigment lost by time, using the sum knowledge from the past to build on future studies by incorporating all the data from all the earlier digs, aided by data from neighboring or regional sites. But more importantly, these new-age archaeologist, are tearing down fences that have long existed in the Cliff Valley and getting a first hand look at the prehistoric cultures that once called southwestern New Mexico home.

ALEXANDRA BALLESTEROS

ALEXANDRA BALLESTEROS

MONICA VEALE

MONICA VEALE

The 2015 Preservation Archaeology Field School staff is a combination of a lot of talent from Archaeology Southwest, Desert Archaeology, ASU and University of Arizona to structure a learning experience for a group of fourteen students who signed up for this opportunity to learn the general field and team work and the lab techniques necessary to extract science and knowledge from the soil.

Students are exposed to the principles of preservation archaeology, acquire the basic skills of excavation and survey, develop working strategies and write notes and reports that apply the logic of archaeological thinking to fieldwork, laboratory analysis, and applying the data we gather to answering anthropological questions. Finally think critically of issues about archaeological ethics.

As prehistoric man moved about he enjoyed a nomadic lifestyle of visiting old haunts places where they might have dropped some seed but most usually had luck hunting or gathering seasonal fruit. As more migrants entered the area, the nomadic Mogollon hunter found himself being crowded out and his old haunts now taken by the Anasazi fleeing their homes south east of Mesa Verde and looking for places to farm and live in safety. Local nomads soon were forced to stay at home and watch the crops.

The Mogollon and the Anasazi Material Cultures merge and disappear as the two groups diverge. Some Archaeologist believe the Kayenta Anasazi was traveling light, carrying what they could, leaving most of their culture behind. The nomadic Mogollon become seditary farmers, adopting some of the practices of their new neighbors, and soon they look pretty much alike. Except for ceramics! Archaeologist believe the Kayenta maintained contact with folks back home, perhaps opening trade connections with folks back home but meanwhile looping in the new immigrants settlements and establishing a trade network. When the bottom dropped out of the Colorado Plateau and everyone started looking for someplace wetter, the Kayenta knew where to go and who to stay with. They thought!
Rough corrugated ceramic pots are a clay signature for the Kayenta Anasazi and corrugated pottery left a trail from the Arizona Strip with some eventually reaching the Rio Grande and more was found south into Arizona Rim Country, visiting Mogollon Pueblos like Kinishba, Grasshopper Pueblo, Point-of-Pines, Cline Terrace. The Kayenta would build fortified hilltops above the floodplain along the Gila and San Pedro Rivers. Many of these sites are linked by signal towers to quickly communicate up and down the stream. The black and white pottery found at Salado sites suggests to some Archaeologist that the Kayenta continued to trade north to south until the end. But then Salado appears and everything changes. Four different archaeologist saw “Salado” arrive in different areas of the South West, but Harold Galdwin of Gila Pueblo received the credit for defining the Salado Culture but 85 years later we still disagree on much.

Agreement seems to be centering on Salado as a religion characterized by a distinct polychrome pottery and adobe compounds. The Salado message centered on fertility and cooperation, instead of honoring elite rulers, and some archaeologist have called it the first feminist movement, because in the day it was believed women did the most potting of clay and saved the South West from self destructing by intervening and preaching peace and working together. Others say shaman wheeled great power by producing the Mimbres Pottery characterized by “kill holes” which released the soul of the potter from the pot after his death.
The pottery design adapted reflected Mesoamerican imagery and changed in time but
researchers believe folks began thinking of themselves as Hohokam Salado or Kayenta Salado.

BREAKFAST can be the quiet time of the day as folks scurry around to make a lunch, finish breakfast and do the dishes and dash off for a full day in the sun.

BREAKFAST can be the quiet time of the day as folks scurry around to make a lunch, finish breakfast and do the dishes and dash off for a full day in the sun.

The Archaeology Southwest Preservation Field School in it’s 5th season is an important component of our Upper Gila research, writes Karen Schollmeyer. “The results of this work contributes to Archaeology Southwest’s research on the formation and dissolution of late prehistoric communities. Dinwiddie’s occupation in the 1300s occurred during a period of substantial changes in the Southwest. Centuries earlier, large Classic Mimbres period villages were inhabited throughout the area. Around 1130, residents left these villages, and local populations remained small and scattered for the next 150-200 years. In the 1300s, large villages again began to form in the area. While people in the Upper Gila area were aggregated in large communities in the late 1300s, much of the rest of the southern Southwest was experiencing population decline. Our research examines the effects of the 14th century influx of residents to the Upper Gila. How did migrants from diverse cultural groups form cohesive villages? How did they structure social relationships with existing communities in their new home? How were social and natural resources affected by the long-term patterns of human population aggregation, dispersal, and re-aggregation? Our research at Dinwiddie will provide insights into these questions.”

Archaeologist Will Russell from ASU works with Alexander Ballesteros and Alisha Stalley to get the knack of working with a trowel in an archaeological dig.

Archaeologist Will Russell from ASU works with Alexander Ballesteros and Alisha Stalley to get the knack of working with a trowel in an archaeological dig. The Dinwiddie site was dug

Will Russell, one of ASU’s ceramics experts, oversees the trowel work and lectures the students crawling in the dirt “to move

Negative Mimbres Pottery

Negative Mimbres Pottery

from what you know to what you don’t”.  Emphasizing the feel of the trowel and how it changes as it moves through the fill. “You can kinda feel these powdery, sugar forms on the floor, so you can see the visual clues…flecks of white (from the floor). You learn to read the vibrations he says. The trowel vibrates differently when hitting large particles and sounds differently–many different senses come in to play when excavating.  Time is tight for the group they are half way through the 40 day class and they still have digging to do.  Some of their time is filled with their preparation of displays for the community updates, reports, class trips to Silver City, the Gila Cliff Dwellings, Chaco Canyon, Acoma and the Zuni Pueblo. Screening is essential to separate the ceramics from the dirt and every fourth screen is window screen diameter to make sure nothing of importance is slipping through like the bones of fish and prairie dog which supplemented the prehistoric diet here in west central New Mexico.

A morning monsoon drizzle dampens breakfast as students prepare for a wet day in the field.

A morning monsoon drizzle dampens breakfast as students prepare for a wet day in the field.

My first morning in Mule Creek where the field school is headquartered at the Rocker Diamond X Ranch there was a morning drizzle and students scurried around before sunrise eating breakfast, brushing teeth and making lunches and preparing for their day.  Everyone has a job each day, each serves as a cog in the wheel and things happened smoothly until dinner when Mary shows up with dinner for the hungry staff, students and visitors.  Students divide up into the field crews, survey and the experiemental crew who spend the day with archaeologist Allan Denoyer who is a master flintnapper and he and his crews are putting the finishing touches on a Salado Pueblo which they have constructed during the past field seasons. Denoyer has reverse engineered the adobe pueblos the field crews are excavating at the Dinwiddie Site with hopes the students will gain a greater insight into pueblos by building one as well as digging up what remains of numerous melted room blocks.  Students learn to skin the timbers using stone axes and how to construct the roof. All knife work is from obsidian blades that slice as quick and accurately as steel.

Dinwiddie site under excavation near CLIFF New Mexico.

Dinwiddie site under excavation near CLIFF New Mexico.

Field Supervisor LESLIE ARAGON pours off buckets of fill taken from the Dinwiddie Ruin dig. Three days will be spent back-filling the excavations with the soil they pain removed.

Field Supervisor LESLIE ARAGON pours off buckets of fill taken from the Dinwiddie Ruin dig. Three days will be spent back-filling the excavations with the soil they pain removed.

Students are responsible for blog posts, and displays for community outreach projects which hold public meetings in the region giving archaeologist the opportunity to explain to residents what they are looking for, what they found and often those exchanges open doors to archaeology not presently known and the field school survey crew go out looking for sites people tell them about. One student turned up a ten-room pueblo which was previously unrecorded. The survey crew often camps, to allow more boots on the ground than drive time. The easy duty appears to be the field work until you see there is no shade, students on their hands and knees with metal trowels pushing back the dirt from a solid polished adobe floor.

Ceramic marbles ? Fired in the flame and preserved but why ? Checkers, board games, marbles ?

Ceramic marbles ? Fired in the flame and preserved but why ? Checkers, board games, marbles ?

For the past few days they have turned up almost 50 ceramic marbles of varying diameters and for whose purpose is unknown, today, they turned up a nice 3/4 groove axe head next to the unique t-shaped doorway recently unearthed.  At room one, a cry alerts us, a metate and a mano, together, intact–beautifully preserved.

MULE CREEK ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SCHOOL-0875

A vocational archaeologist working in the 1960s and 1970s and some early work contributed important information to our knowledge of Salado archaeology. EASTERNAZSTATEThese excavations did not follow collection and reporting standards of their era, and information from these older excavations is now unavailable. Collections from these excavations were housed in private museums and everything disappeared upon their owners’ deaths, scattering collections so that they are no longer available for research. The Dinwiddie site saw several field seasons of avocational excavation, with 37 rooms in two room blocks partially excavated by Jack and Vera Mills (1972) they are thought to have taken more than a hundred pots from these rooms, some of those pots reside today in Safford, Arizona at the Museum for Eastern Arizona State.

Archaeology SouthWest’s interest in the Cliff Valley “Dinwiddie” site came as a part of the Upper Gila research, using the field school as an important component of the research, searching for the formation and dissolution of late prehistoric communities. Dinwiddie’s occupation in the 1300s came at a time of big changes in the Southwest. Centuries earlier, large Classic Mimbres period villages had inhabited throughout the area. Around 1130, those residents left these villages, and local populations remained small and scattered for the next 150-200 years. In the 1300s, large villages again began to form. People in the Upper Gila moved into large communities in the late 1300s, while much of the southern Southwest was experiencing population decline. Karen Gust Schollmeyer, believes the Dinwiddie dig will provide insights into the 14th century influx of residents to the Upper Gila. In 2008, Archaeology Southwest received a National Science Foundation grant to study the Salado phenomenon in the greater Upper Gila region of southwestern New Mexico, an area traditionally assigned to the Mogollon archaeological culture area

ALLAN DENOYER THROWS THE ATLATL DARTS AT A DEER TARGET

EXPERIMENTAL FIELD SUPERVISOR ALLAN DENOYER THROWS THE ATLATL DARTS AT A DEER TARGET

Marcy Pablo, a Tohono O'odham from Topawa prepares basket weaves for their

Marcy Pablo, a Tohono O’odham from Topawa prepares basket weaves for their “Community OutReach” Pablo intends to assist New Mexican residents to begin weaving their own basket using her starts. The School tries to lower barriers between locals and archaeologist by sharing their research with locals.

JOE HALL (Sierra Vista) and DEVINNE FACKELMAN (Allendale, Mich.) together dug up this Metate and Mano.

JOE HALL (Sierra Vista) and DEVINNE FACKELMAN (Allendale, Mich.) together dug up this Metate and Mano while searching for a wall.

“The Archaeology Southwest Field School was a life changing experience. I learned more about the southwest in those 6 weeks than in my two and a half years prior exploring in Southeastern Arizona. I had just graduated from Cochise College with a degree in Anthropology and immediately attended the ASW Field School with no real experience in archaeology. I am so fortunate to be given such a great opportunity to learn. From the field trips to the guest lectures, there was never a dull moment around the camp. Even in our down time we used the skills we had learned from experimental archaeology and our guests to do assorted crafts. The research the group of students accomplished was also inspiring, and attention grabbing. Post-field school I am more interested in Archaeology than ever. I plan to use my Non-Profit Leadership and Management degree at Arizona State University to get myself and others involved in the Archaeology field.”..Joe Hall

Prehistoric pueblo erected with the energy of field school students but with the same technology that the Mogollon used to build theirs.

This Pueblo erected with the energy of field school students but with the same technology that the Mogollon used.

Field school students had some unstructured time in the evenings. But most worked on their field reports, blogs and burning designs

Archaeozoology - The study of animal remains, usually bones, from the past. Alexandra Norwood (Pasadena, CA) enjoys the final product.

Archaeozoology – The study of animal remains, usually bones, from the past. Alexandra Norwood (Pasadena, CA) enjoys the final product.

into their wood Atlatl throwing sticks and practicing for the session-ending toss off, competing for prizes. On the stove that night was a pot of beeweed being reduced to a dark tar for a possible paint. Walnut was also being boiled down for the same purpose. A flat stone was being baked in the oven with glaze on the surface like a Piki Bread stone. Outside on the grill was a large pot of boiling water reducing a road-killed raccoon to bleached bones for a bone kit that allows archaeologist to compare known bones with unknown bones to aid in field identification. To that same purpose, during the last season, staff gathered a few shovels and dug up a road-killed deer that had been collected and buried so insects might clean the bones. The dug it up and everyone seemed pretty happy about how well this skeleton turned out.
Field Supervisor Will Russell (ASU) fields questions from Bill Jamison, a Duck Creek resident for the past forty years. Jamison mentioned about 10 years ago, a burial fell into the creek.

Field Supervisor Will Russell (ASU) fields questions from Bill Jamison, a Duck Creek resident for the past forty years. Jamison mentioned about 10 years ago, a burial fell into the creek.


The next morning at the Dinwiddie Dig a 40 year resident of the Duck Creek Community dropped by to visit the site and Will Russell was able to share with Bill Jamison the Field School’s focus and share with him some of what had been found. Jamison pointed out for a decade a burial eroded out of the river bank
and eventually was washed away. He did say a friend now living in San Diego had collected enough sherds to completely restore three pots and Russell asked him if photos were available or if they could be sent Another lead to another piece of the puzzle.

VICTORIA BOWLER shows ALEXANDAR BALLESTEROS how to throw ATLATL darts

VICTORIA BOWLER shows ALEXANDAR BALLESTEROS how to throw ATLATL darts. Bowler works as an archaeologist and interpreter at Fort Bowie and Chiricahua National Monument and feels this field school will allow her to put these new ideas into practice.

MULE CREEK ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIELD SCHOOL-0705

Mixture of water and mud

Mixture of water and mud

Flintknapper Allan Denoyear made these two points at the field school for his orientation discussion.

Flintknapper Allan Denoyear made these two points at the field school for his orientation discussion.

Allan Denoyer mixes adobe mud for the walls of this 1300 era Pueblo.

Allan Denoyer mixes adobe mud for the walls of the pueblo.

JODI REEVES-FLORES

JODI REEVES-FLORES (ASU) adds a layer of mud to the walls of the adobe Pueblo.

Digital Antiquity is a nonprofit grassroots effort to get all Archaeological data archived by creating a multi-institutional, non-profit organization dedicated to overseeing the use, development, and maintenance of the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR), an international repository for the digital records of archaeological investigations, organizations, projects, and research.

Students listen to a digital workshop produced by ASU's Jodi Reeves-Flores on Digital Antiquity's tdar, an archaeological online data base where data input will be preserved, as well as, reinterpreted as a piece of the whole.

Students listen to a digital workshop produced by ASU’s Jodi Reeves-Flores on Digital Antiquity’s tDAR, an archaeological online data base where data input will be preserved, and reinterpreted as a piece of the whole.

One of Digital Antiquity’s key objectives is to foster the use of tDAR and ensure its financial, technical, and professional sustainability. Use of tDAR has the potential to transform archaeological research by providing direct access to digital data from current and historic investigations along with powerful tools to analyze and reuse it.

Digital Antiquity was created through the collaboration of archaeologists, library scientists,  and administrators from the Archaeology Data Service, the University of Arkansas, Arizona State University, the Pennsylvania State University, the SRI Foundation, and Washington State University.

By enhancing preservation of and access to digital archaeological records, the mission of  Digital Antiquity to permit researchers to more effectively create and communicate knowledge of the long-term human past; enhance the management, interpretation, and preservation of archaeological resources; and provide for the long-term preservation of irreplaceable records

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Using Decorrelation Stretch to Enhance Rock Art Images
By Jon Harman, Ph.D. (dstretch@prodigy.net) Web site: http://www.DStretch.com

Decorrelation stretch, an image enhancement technique first used in remote sensing, can be usefully applied to rock art. In pictograph images from Baja California, Utah and Arizona I demonstrate its ability to bring out elements nearly invisible to the eye and to improve visualization of difficult sites. A decorrelation stretch plugin to the imaging program ImageJ is available from the author, free for personal use. It’s free but suggested contribution is $50. You can make a contribution via PayPal. My account is JonHarman “at” prodigy.net, if you want to send a check you will find his address on the email he sends back.

Lizard shaped pictograph in a cave near Mulege BAJA Sur.... This rock art is made with paints perhaps from crushed rock with iron.

Lizard shaped pictograph in a cave near Mulege BAJA Sur…. This rock art is made with paints perhaps from crushed rock with iron.

Decorrelation stretch was developed at JPL and it has been used in remote sensing to enhance multispectral images. NASA used it to enhance Mars Rover images. DStretch has become a very useful tool for archaeologists

Filtered photograph of Lizard now only shows a hand print which was made by an artist filling his mouth with paint and blowing it through a reed toward his hand on the rock.

Filtered photograph of Lizard now only shows a hand print which was made by an artist filling his mouth with paint and blowing it through a reed toward his hand on the rock.

involved in the study and documentation of rock art. Its enhancement techniques can bring out very faint pictographs almost invisible to the eye. Subtle differences in hue are enhanced to puzzle out faint elements. Use of DStretch is simple as just hitting a button, but it also contains sophisticated tools for the manipulation of false color images. Because the enhancement works by increasing differences in hue, the technique gives better results for pictographs than petroglyphs.

The technique applies a Karhunen-Loeve transform to the colors of the image. This diagonalizes the covariance (or optionally the correlation) matrix of the colors. Next the contrast for each color is stretched to equalize the color variances. At this point the colors are uncorrelated and fill the colorspace. Finally the inverse transform is used to map the colors back to an approximation of the original. DStretch supports several different colorspaces, the image is converted from RGB to the colorspace, the calculation and transformation is performed, and then the colors are converted back to RGB before writing into a digital image.

Cave in Northern Baja along Highway One

Cave in Northern Baja along Highway One

The most common color found in pictographs is red, followed by black, then white, then rarely other hues. Often the rock shelter or cave wall is reddish or blackened. There are common types in the color distributions of pictograph images and this causes a consistency in the decorrelation stretch enhancements. DStretch works well to enhance red pigment but suppresses white and blacks. By bringing out the red painting and suppressing the background shades it can help clarify image composition.

DStretch is a plugin to ImageJ which is a full-featured imaging program. It is written in Java and can run on PC’s, Mac’s and Linux computers. When the button is pressed the plugin calculates the covariance matrix of the image colors (within the chosen colorspace) and then determines the transformation. Different decorrelation results are possible by selecting different parts of the image.
Different colorspaces give different results. DStretch has implemented the algorithm in the standard RGB and LAB colorspaces and also in the colorspaces: YDS, YBR, YBK, LDS, LRE. These colorspaces are modifications of the YUV or LAB colorspaces that give good decorrelation stretch results on images of rock art. The YDS and LDS colorspaces are good for general enhancements and can bring out faint yellow pigments. YBR and espeically LRE enhance reds. YBK can help with black and blue pigments and also enhances yellows well. The user can design their own colorspaces using the YXX and LXX buttons. The enhanced image is false color, the color scan be radically different from the original. In Expert Mode DStretc has the ability to shift the hues in the enhanced image to increase contrast.

CLICK HERE FOR SLIDE SHOW OF ROCK ART USING FALSE COLOR TO PRODUCE ADDITIONAL DETAIL…

http://pkweis.photoshelter.com/gallery/ROCK-ART-FILTERS/G0000oUHzJSUXcUI

Each image enhances differently, depending on its own unique distribution of colors. Another useful enhancement technique, not related to decorrelation stretch, is the manipulation of the hue and saturation of the image. DStretch (in expert mode) can do hue histogram equalization and saturation stretching. DStretch also contains a tool that allows a region of the enhanced image to be isolated by hue and then added back to the original image. This can be used to isolate an enhanced element then return it to the original image.

http://pkweis.photoshelter.com/gallery/ROCK-ART-FILTERS/G0000oUHzJSUXcUI

3D Scanning: Cultural Heritage and the Arts

Using 3D or “White Light” Scanners can uncover details from the past and today there is no better way to record a complex object than with a high resolution 3D white light scanner. The fringe projection method used in 3D white light scanning make non-contact digitization of art and sculpture and historical artifacts possible. Direct comparisons can be made of dimension and shape. Structured light Scanning allows revisitation of any object over time, creation of databases, redrawings of cross sections and 3D volume calculations. Today 3D scan data has a growing value in archaeology, paleontology and cultural heritage, collection of 3D scan data provides a digital archival record allowing access in remote locations, and the ability to produce replicas useful for exhibits.

One strategy under consideration at the Preservation Field School is the possibility of being able to actually see the “fingerprints” of the potter in ceramics. If that study moves forward there is a hope that not only will archaeologists know where the “Ancient Ones” went, they may be able to follow the fingerprints of a single women walking across an prehistoric landscape to her final resting place.

Kristin Safi in this month’s Kiva Journal outlines his “least cost” migration routes from the San Juan region to the Rio Grande Pueblo area. In this study 1200 possible routes are identified but many overlap and others had more costly terrain boiling the study down to 30 routes but when known archaeological sites were factored in, five routes were identified as the probable exodus path taken by the Kayenta Anasazi as they left the Northeast Arizona. Three of the routes probably were used by the later migrations because closer Pueblos were filled up earlier by early migrations. As for the question, “Where did the Ancient Ones go!” Not only do we know where the Kayenta went, we know why. FEAR!

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THE GREAT FORT APACHE HERITAGE CELEBRATION or NDEE LA ADE’/ GATHERING OF THE PEOPLE WHOSE YOUTH ARE KEEPING THEIR TRADITIONS ALIVE !

ROCK RIDGE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CROWN DANCERS
ROCK CREEK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CROWN DANCERS AWAIT THEIR TURN IN THE COMPETITION

ROCK CREEK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CROWN DANCERS WAIT A TURN IN THE DANCE ….

DANCERS JOIN IN THE GRAND PROCESSIONAL

DANCERS JOIN IN THE GRAND PROCESSIONAL

The White Mountain Apache celebrates the Tribe’s Youth, it’s language and traditions through song and dance each year at the Great Fort Apache Heritage Celebration.  It is a time of competition, Crown Dancers turn out to out dance other Mountain Spirit groups. Singers show up to entertain and to flaunt the Apache Spirit and Apache life ways. Participants may come from different districts, but they are all Apache. This Celebration each years serves as a reunion for former students of the Theodore Roosevelt BIA School, as well as, Apache from all directions. Holding onto the Apache customs, once taught from birth like language now competes with English and TV, and the Heritage Celebration highlight their traditions and celebrates the Apache Language. There is a flashing of colors as all participants of the Grand Processional join together on the dance floor. Earlier Apache children took a seven mile walk called the Seven Miles for Seven Generation Walk. “Youth keeping the future alive with traditions and culture” is the theme of the day meanwhile that night at the school they held a oldies dance for High School Alums that  featured an Elvis look-a-like dance. The War Drum rang out from Fort Apache in the Arizona’s White Mountains as dancers took to the war path at the bidding of President Obama’s White House. The White Mountain Apache Tribe, (WMAT) accepted Obama’s Gen I initiative, the challenge is a Indigenous Youth Project designed to support cultural strategies to improve the college-and-career readiness of Native children or to preserve a culture”s traditions.WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-6495 A young WMA, Jared Ivins-Massey took that challenge, and brought the WAR dance to the iconic Fort this year. During the traditional building of furious resolve Warriors danced and thrust with traditional spears, others drew their bows with arrow, still another flaunted a hunting rifle, another still drew his large butcher knife leaving no doubt he stood ready to use it. These fierce warriors ranged from retirement to elementary school age and all welcomed the President’s initiative to focus on the lives of Native American youth and to restore the cultural rituals lost to Indian community in the early 1900s when the United States government banned Native American ceremonial dances. President Obama announced the Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Initiative. Through this initiative Native youth are encouraged to conduct a positive event in their community that focuses on health and wellness, cultural preservation, and youth well being. Massey’s Gen-I event focused on the cultural preservation of the Apache language and traditions. For 75 years, many Native American ceremonial dances ceased and those that did manage to continue did so in secrecy. In 1978, when the American Indian Religious Freedom Act was passed, many ceremonies and healing rituals were re-established amongst the Tribes. Some think these rituals have  lost meaning for the younger Indian generation and, they will never again be quite the same, but others are working to restore the rituals of the past. WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0568The Great Fort Apache Heritage Celebration today provides an important opportunity for the White Mountain Apache community to come together to share the beauty and vitality of their Ndee heritage, and to shape a uniquely Apache present and future” writes Karl A. Hoerig, Ph.D. Director of Nohwike’ Bagowa Museum and Apache Cultural Center. Fort Apache for more than a century served as a military post and then as a boarding school for the White Mountain Apache Tribe. “The Theodore Roosevelt School National Historic Landmark campus was dedicated to the control of Apache people and the destruction of much of their heritage. Starting with the establishment of the first Apache Cultural Center at Fort Apache in 1969, and continuing with ever-expanding initiatives to re-establish the community’s sovereignty over the site–including this annual event–Fort Apache is becoming first and foremost an Apache place: a place for education, for the perpetuation of heritage, for economic development, for the community.”

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0444

WHITE MOUNTAIN APACHE RETURN TO THE WARPATH…

“This celebration is now truly by, for and of the White Mountain Apache Tribes citizenry” writes JoWMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0447hn Welch, who produced the original 2001 event which has grown for the past 16 years into the event that now hosts Apache dance and singing each May when the tribe celebrates its annual gathering of the Apache People which now has grown into an “authentic expression of the communities interests and value.”

“Keeping the rituals of our ancestors alive”,  say members of the Indian Club at Alchesay High School in Whiteriver. Their members who dance in the White Mountain Apache crown dance groups, find their roles “as Mountain Spirits who banish evil and bring good fortune”, culturally important. Some dancers come from Christian homes, go to church, and learn those traditions, and do not learn the Apache traditions. This is our heritage, and we have to keep it going.” teaches Rosalind Armstrong-Garcia, a group sponsor who believes the club fills a gap”. During this year’s Apache Heritage Celebration three school dance performed in the Gaan dance off which featured seven Apache Crown Dancers groups who delighted the crowd and competed among all the community dance groups.

PINE TREE CLAN SINGERS

Manuel Cooley delights the crowd singing in Apache about the antics of a naughty little boy.

Manuel Cooley delights the crowd singing in Apache about the antics of a naughty little boy.

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0295

Second District Iola James

The Apache religion has been a fundamental part of the Apache lifestyle. Their worship for their God, Ussen, the Giver of Life and the Gaan or Mountain Spirits, who are represented in religious rites such as healing and puberty ceremonies. While the Crown Dancers who dress elaborately to impersonate the Mountain Spirits, wearing kilts, black masks, tall wooden-slat headdresses, and body paint and carrying wood swords have no supernatural powers they serve as a conduit for the Apache spinning their words into the heavens and assuring their prayers reach their God. “The mountain spirits have taught the Apaches to perform the Apache Crown Dance as a means of curing. The crown headdress is be-decked with eagle feathers; the teacher that flew the highest in the Heavens. The signs of lightning are sacred symbols of the Apaches which are placed on the bodies of the Apache Crown Dancers who are instructed by the mysterious mountain spirits to perform healing rituals for the Apaches. The crown dance is authentically performed today,” reported long-time Apache Tribal Chairman Ronnie Lupe in the Fort Apache Scout newspaper. WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-6521       MOUNTAIN SPIRIT DANCERS COMPETITION

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0334 WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0387   FOOD FROLICS DELIGHTED THE CROWD OF ALL AGES….

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-6416

Apache Royalty prepares to spread fruit out around on the dance floor for one of four fruit free-for-all-with all the thrills and excitement of an Easter egg hunt.

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-6406 Kaiden and Hayle DeClay torment their father, Chico, a Crown Dancer from the East Port Dance Group.  Chico makes of point of WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-6418speaking Apache to his girls and they have learned to understand the language.  Like many members of the White Mountain Apache People Chico and his wife Jenane believe their language and traditions is the key to holding onto the important rituals that make up the Apache traditions and ancient lifeways.  In spite of the Batman, Superman and Star Wars t-shirts scattered throughout the crowd when the Cooley Mountain Singers Drum group begin beating out their songs. Apache youth began to sway to the Apache songs and the masked men they adore are Crown Dancers, whose color and sounds of bells bring them onto the dance floor as they try to copy their elders.  White Mountain Apache Miss Indian Arizona Shasta Dazen tells the crowd “it’s a great day to experience

Linton Ethelbah Sr. with Shannon Hoppe

Linton Ethelbah Sr and Shannon

TANNER HENRY or

TANNER HENRY or “BEAR”

all the love that comes from our traditions and congratulations to everyone here for clinging to your culture.” Eleven month old Shannon Hope squirms from her daddy’s lap and begins dancing with the drum.  Barely able to walk but she wants to dance.  Her father Linton Ethelbah Sr. explains he speaks Apache to the toddler whenever he can and has noticed she appears to understand Apache and looks confused when his wife or other six kids speak English to her.  Traditions are important to Linton whose medicine man grandfather, Thomas and his wife, Cecilia taught him the importance of the Apache way of life, I want her to understand Apache. His middle son is a  graduate from McNary elementary school and just graduated from the Sherman B.I.A. Indian School in California. “He wanted to go elsewhere and learn to be independent.  There’s nothing here right now, Ethelbah says, jobs are hard to find.” “Drugs and alcohol are problems here and in California he can learn to make a living…there are more opportunities there.”

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-6567ROCK CREEK CROWN DANCERS BLESS THE YOUTH KEEPING ALIVE THE TRADITIONS FOR THE FUTURE GENERATION

Mylyle Ethelbah 3rd place

Mylyle Ethelbah 3rd place

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0658“WHEN THEY GET THE CALLING…”  Siting mesmerized the crowd just allows the music and dance take over.  The Rock Creek Dancers, The Cooley Mountain Dancers, Diamond Creek Dancers were part of the dance off.

RAPTURED BY THE MUSIC AND THE DRUMS EVERYONE WAS ENJOYING THE DANCE… WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-6563 WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0627    ” APACHE KIDS ASK ME-ARE YOU AN INDIAN  “YES I SAY AND SO ARE YOU…”

Monty Stover Sr.

Monty Stover Sr.  comes to the Heritage Celebration every year because he wants Apache to know what “their ancestors looked like”.

Monty Stover Sr. comes to the Heritage Celebration every year because he wants the White Mountain Apache new generation to know what their ancestors looked like.  “Apache kids come up to me and ask if I’m an Indian. I am,” I say and “so are you”.  No we’re not! they say to me! ” Their parents speak English too much,” Stover says.  “When a young Apache child comes up to me and speaks Apache to me! That’s beautiful”, he said. “Those parents are teaching that child our traditions. So each year we have this Celebration so people can see where we came from and how our ancestors lived.”  “We dance and sing, enjoy the prayers” says Kicker Z. “To keep our traditions strong to show our children who they are…” “When the drums begin the kids  try to dance like the Crown Dancers says Jenane DeClay who is part Sioux and married to an Apache Crown Dancer. “They reach a certain age and get the calling, then they try to copy their father.”

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-6469Today there are many different nations of Apache people, the present-day Apache people include the Jicarilla, Mescalero, Chiricahua, Western Apache, Lipan-Apache, and Plains-Apache. The White Mountain Apache Tribe now consists of approximately 15,000 members. Many live on Tribal lands, but others live and work all over the country and the world. The majority of the population lives in and around Whiteriver, the seat of Tribal government. In 2000 U.S. census about 57,000 people identified themselves as Apache only; another 40,000 people reported being part Apache. Many Apache live on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. The complexity in the cultural division of Apache tribes can be can be seen by breaking down just one of these subgroups, the Western-Apache, the Apache people residing in east central Arizona are known as Western Apache. Most of these Native Americans live within reservations called the White Mountain, Fort Apache, San Carlos, Yavapai, Tonto, and Fort McDowell Mohave reservations. WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-6394 WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0411“The War Dance Generation Indigenous Event is focused on Cultural Preservation, to protect my Apache language and to see my culture continue. This event brings comfort knowing that this dance will continue for generations to come. Apache Warriors will dance into the next Seven Generations.”

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0345

MAKANALANI PIKE

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0401In the old days, the two day War Dance was divided into discrete parts and began shortly after dark. In the first phase, called “going to war” the warriors of each clan were called to dance and demonstrate how they will fight the enemy. Those with spears would pretend to lance; those with bows would draw them back to show how far they can draw; those with shields used them also. The second phase was termed “cowhide, picked up” and involved the singing of chants that described the stealing of enemy property.  In the third phase labelled “invite by touching” women of all ages were encouraged to choose a male partner and engage in social dancing. The final phase was performed at dawn the following day. Twelve of the bravest and most experienced warriors stood in a line and, one after the other, sang a song about personal success in war.  After the last song, the warriors staged mock attacks on several camps, showing how they intended to surprise and defeat the enemy. This ended the war dance, and shortly later the war party made ready to depart writes Glenville Goodwin in his notes edited into the book, “Western Apache Raiding and Warfare” by Keith Basso. WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0431

THIS YEAR’S SPECIAL WARPATH EVENT was a special White House Initiative to empower Native American Youth. The white house is launching Generation Indigenous or (Gen I), a Native youth initiative focused on removing the barriers that stand between Native youth and their opportunity to succeed. Jared Ivins-Massey, an ASU law student who produced a video of his community project showing the Heritage Celebration, the community initiative to restore past practices and traditions.  Massey and  others will share their stories online using #GenI …

13 year old Vernon Anderson says he loved the “War Dance” he got pretty excited thinking about things back in the day–“it was pretty cool” he said.

The Fort Apache Cultural Center called Nohwike’ Bágowa hosts exhibits, exhibitions, regularly scheduled Apache arts demonstrations. The museum houses the Tribe’s archival collection, including manuscripts, publications, and a large collection of historic photographs.

The Fort Apache Cultural Center called Nohwike’ Bágowa hosts exhibits, exhibitions, regularly scheduled Apache arts demonstrations. The museum houses the Tribe’s archival collection, including manuscripts, publications, and a large collection of historic photographs.

OFFICER TREE ROWlrFA Visitors to Post Office_Fort Apache is an icon of the Apache Wars and the American West and is now a monument to celebrate Apache Heritage. Fort Apache Historic Park

sits on the confluence of the north and east forks of the White River in the White Mountains, homeland of the White Mountain Apache people. The presence of the U.S. Cavalry was initially to help the Apache live peacefully on their lands and to stifle conflict among the Apache clans and then arriving white settlers. Today Fort Apache recalls both a period of conflict and a time of cooperation between the U.S. Cavalry and several tribes from the Western Apache. The U.S. military left in 1922 after many years of declining use. The Apache Scouts that had been employed by General Crook were transferred to Fort Huachuca on the U.S,-Mexican Border, where they continued to serve. The last three Scouts retired in 1947. The Fort was transferred to the Bureau of Indian Affairs to house the Theodore Roosevelt Indian Boarding School. First intended to serve Diné (Navajo) children, by the 1930s, a majority of students at the school were Apache. Theodore Roosevelt School continues today on the very spot to serve as a middle school with a school board selected by the Tribal Council. From the founding of Fort Apache in 1870 until the capture of Geronimo in 1886, this fort was involved in the Indian Wars and was first called Camp Ord, in honor of General O.C. Ord, Commander of Arizona when it was built in the spring; however, just a few months later, the name was changed to Camp Mogollon in August, then Camp Thomas in September. The post was finally designated as Camp Apache on February 2, 1871 as a token of friendship to the Indians, the fort soldiers would spend many years fighting and trying to exterminate. The fort’s initial purpose was to guard the nearby White Mountain Reservation. Situated at the end of a military road on the White Mountain Reservation, which adjoined the San Carlos Reservation, the fort guarded the White Mountain Indian Agency, while Fort Thomas watched over the San Carlos Agency. However, both reservations became the focus of Apache unrest, especially after troops moved the Chiricahua Apache in 1876 from Fort Bowie to the White Mountain Reservation. On April 5, 1879, Camp Apache was renamed Fort Apache.

BUILT IN 1871, GENERAL CROOKS CABIN HOUSES A GLIMPSE OF THE MILITARY LIFESTYLE IN ARIZONA

BUILT IN 1871, GENERAL CROOKS CABIN HOUSES A GLIMPSE OF THE MILITARY LIFESTYLE IN ARIZONA

Today, twenty-seven historic buildings make up the 288 acre National Register Historic District. Following maps available at the Museum, visitors can explore the district at their own pace. Interpretive signs located throughout the district explain the construction and use of the historic buildings andFt Apache Post Office_ spaces, and allow visitors to immerse themselves in the history of what many consider the best surviving example of an Apache Wars-era military post. The Fort Apache Cemetery is 1/4 mile east of the main fort grounds and is accessible

The grave of an Apache Scout, one of many who served with the U.S. Cavalry during the Indian Wars .

The grave of an Apache Scout, one of many who served with the U.S. Cavalry during the Indian Wars .

by walking trail or road. Visitors interested in more adventure can hike the Historic Park ’s recreational trails, including a 1.4 mile loop through the East Fork canyon that passes the site of a historic Apache Scout camp. General Crook’s Cabin, built in 1871 and the oldest structure left on the fort today provides visitors with maps, historic photographs and murals allowing an historic overview of the fort and its impact on the Apache people.  One room offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of army officers and their families living on a remote outpost in the wilds of the western frontier. The Fort Apache post office occupies the adobe adjutant’s building. The stone officers’ quarters, are today the residences of teachers and other Bureau of Indian Affairs employees. The sutler’s store and commissary building, cavalry barns, and guard house have not been significantly altered. One of the original four barracks, an adobe building in bad disrepair, houses the farm shop for the school. The parade ground provides a recreational area. The cemetery no longer contains dead soldiers, but does contain the bodies of Indian scouts. The fort is located five miles south of Whiteriver, Az, from Globe, take US 60 northeast 66 miles; turn east on State 73 and drive about 27 miles to Fort Apache.

FORT APACHE WOMEN DORMS

FORT APACHE BIA INDIAN SCHOOL WOMEN DORMS

The White Mountain Apache Tribe is located in the east central region of Arizona, 194 miles northeast of Phoenix. This Tribe manages the popular Sunrise Park Ski Resort, Fort Apache Timber Company and the popular Hondah Casino near Show Low.

Located in the Fort Apache Historic Park, Nohwike’ Bágowa (House of Our Footprints) is the place to experience Apache history and culture.

Located in the Fort Apache Historic Park, Nohwike’ Bágowa (House of Our Footprints) is the place to experience Apache history and culture.

BASKETS_Nohwike’ Bágowa, the White Mountain Apache Cultural Center and Museum, is housed in a modern facility constructed to reflect a gowa, the Apache traditional holy home, the cultural center and museum is committed to the celebration and perpetuation of the Apache heritage. Nohwike’ Bágowa hosts long term exhibits, temporary exhibitions, regularly scheduled Apache arts demonstrations, and other special events. The museum also houses the Tribe’s growing archival collection, including manuscripts, publications, and a large collection of historic photographs. The museum shop offers a wide selection of the best Apache basketry, beadwork, and other arts, in addition to books, music, and Fort Apache and Tribal mementos.MARY HUME BASKETWEAVER_
Being held next to the Casino at HONDAH, AZ ON June 5th featuring Social Dances on Friday
and Pow Wow competition will be held Saturday and Sunday
GANN DANCE COMPETITION
 Mountain Spirit Dance Off will be held in Canyon Day on August 1st

CRADLE BOARD MACHUSE LOLA

PREHISTORIC KINISHBA RUIN

PREHISTORIC KINISHBA RUIN

The Fort Apache Historic Park, including Kinishba Ruins, is open daily from 7:00am to sunset. Nohwike’ Bágowa is open Monday-Saturday 8am to 5pmduring the summer, and Monday-Friday 8am to 5pm during the winter. Admission to the museum and park is $5.00 per adult, and $3.00 for seniors (64+) and students. Children under 7 are admitted free. Admission to the Park after-hours and on holidays is $5.00 per vehicle per day. Apache tour guides are available with advance reservation, and special accommodations and activities can be arranged for tour groups.
24 Hour information line: (928) 338-4525
Museum: (928) 338-4625    White Mountain Apache Office of Tourism: (928) 338-1230

FA Crooks Cabin The death of Nochaydelklinne,”The Dreamer” at Cibecue Creek and the Apache attack on Fort Apache two days later is often considered the final battle between the Apache and the U.S. Cavalry at the fort. The Apache repeatedly attacked the fort at long range, firing vollleys and scoring.  The U.S. cavalry and native allies fought back but the Apache remained at the end of their rifle range during the entire fight. Two days later, reinforcements arrived but by this time the Apaches had already retreated into hiding. Only three American soldiers were wounded and Apache casualties are unknown.  The two separate engagements at Cibecue Creek and Fort Apache helped ignite another Apache war that would end with the surrender of Geronimo in 1886. But the last Apache attack on the U.S. at Fort Apache was led by Apache Lawyers who took the United States all the way to the Supreme Court and won $12 million. In 2003 the Supreme Court of the United States held in a 5-4 decision that when the federal government used land or property held in trust for an Indian tribe, it had the duty to maintain that land or property and was liable for any damages for a breach of that duty.

CAVALRY BARRACKS

CAVALRY BARRACKS

The case involved Fort Apache, the collection of buildings on the reservation which were transferred to the tribe by the U.S. Congress in 1960. Although the tribe owned the Fort Apache buildings, they were held in trust and used exclusively by the federal government for an Indian school. This was a continuation of the building’s use from when the federal government retained title. As more schools were built at other Indian reservations, attendance dropped at the Fort Apache school. The tribe began to plan for use of the buildings and sought designation as a historic site. When the federal government wanted to turn the property over to the tribe for use, the tribe found that the property had deteriorated and sued for damages to the property.  The Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court, holding that the federal government used the property it held in trust, and that it therefore had a duty to maintain the property.  The loss led the government to settle with the tribe for $12 million. The buildings are managed by the Fort Apache Heritage Foundation and the case, helps to define the Indian Trust Doctrine. The case has been widely discussed in legal literature and books.

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-6441 winner

Jared Ivins-Massey gives Kicker-Z first place in War Dance

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0464WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0426 President Obama launched the Gen-I Initiative at the White House Tribal Nations Conference  to ensure all young Native people can reach their full potential. The Gen-I Initiative calls for Native Youth Community Projects, like the first White House Tribal Youth Gathering this summer that will engage hundreds of Native youth in a day-long convention. The Native Youth Report acknowledges past failures of federal policy, explores the challenges facing Native children, and creates a path forward. WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATIONwinner-6446 copyWMA HERITAGE CELEBRATIONwinner The Gen-I Native Youth Challenge is part of the process of establishing the National Native Youth Network. Native youth are invited to take part in the Gen-I Challenge. This call to action creates a network of people interested in the issues facing Native youth and creating an information platform about opportunities and highlight their voices and positive contributions. Jared Ivins-Massey, is an enrolled member of the White Mountain Apache Tribe of Arizona. He was born and raised on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation in Northeastern Arizona. Massey is one of seventeen Native Youth selected to create a steering committee for the upcoming White House Tribal Youth Gathering this summer that will engage hundreds of Native youth in a day-long convention. Jared is the son of Leo and Rolinda Massey of Fort Apache, Arizona and hails from the community of Seven Mile and Cibecue, Arizona. Jared is a proud graduate of Alchesay High School where he was elected student body president and elected the White Mountain Apache Youth Council Male Co-President. Currently Jared is a double major studying political science and justice studies. Jared currently resides at the Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus in Chandler, Arizona. Jared states,  “With no Vision youth cannot prosper but with the guidance of our elders, a Vision is in our sight.” Jared is a traditional dancer and hopes to one day return to the White Mountain Apache Reservation and serve as a tribal attorney. I’m excited to share my Gen-I Native Youth Challenge! he shares on Facebook. My Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Challenge Event focuses on Cultural Preservation. “In conjunction with the 2015 Fort Apache Heritage Celebration & Festivities, my family and I will be holding the “Jared Ivins-Massey Apache War Dance Special” This dance was done in times of victory and through the event I hope Apache youth will learn this powerful dance. In addition, I ask that all participants submit a half page essay on “What it means to be an Apache Warrior.” The reason for my Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) Event, is to ensure that my Apache language and culture continues. This event brings comfort knowing that this dance will continue for generations to come. These Apache Warriors will dance into the next Seven Generations. I see you Apache Youth!  he writes. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)  in Sacramento, CA. elected White Mountain Apache tribal member Jared Massey National NCAI Youth Commission Co-President. During his term Massey will work closely with tribal leaders in Indian country on BIA funding, healthcare, Indian Health Services, Indian Reservation Roads funding and gaming. NCAI is a national organization that advocates, lobbies and addresses issues throughout Indian country.  “We are extremely proud of Jared. He is an excellent role model and ambassador of the White Mountain Apache Tribe. The National Congress of American Indians is a great organization that works for the betterment and well-being of Indian people. NCAI will be a great experience for Jared to further develop his leadership skills and solidify his future’s foundation with education, culture and experience,” stated Harrisen DeClay, WMAT Education Director.

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-0340Jerad Massey hopes by providing insight and assistance to White House staff in planning the 2015 Tribal Youth Summit, he hopes challenges that youth face today on reservations will be addressed. Coming from the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, Massey has seen first-hand the struggles of reservation life and tribal youth.  “I personally have experienced so many social issues that plague our youth and challenge our youth from breaking so many cycles with suicide, drugs, alcohol, poverty, sexual abuse and domestic violence. I am excited to work with the White House, because this personal testimony and experience is not just part of my past and my roots as a young Apache man, but they are the real-life and day-to-day things that face our youth. We need to use these issues to deliver messages to our youth empowering them to overcome these social issues and that we will survive to create an even better and more promising futures for our children.”

Deandra Antonio, 17, of Whiteriver, Arizona, of the White Mountain Apache Nation and who serves on the White Mountain Apache Youth Council, is greeted by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House Tribal Youth Gathering

 

WMA HERITAGE CELEBRATION-6476

APACHE CROWN DANCER VIDEO

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JESUS CHRIST, IT’S EASTER AGAIN ! TUCSON’S FAITHFUL CARRIES CROSS TO A-MOUNTAIN ON GOOD FRIDAY

A MT GOODFRIDAY-CROSS CARRY-6194

A MT GOODFRIDAY-CROSS CARRY-6248 A MT GOODFRIDAY-CROSS CARRY-6269 A MT GOODFRIDAY-CROSS CARRY-6208  Tucson’s west side is built on tradition. A-Mountain the volcanic hillside with a whitewashed “A” is where this desert city began and today you can drive through Sentinel Peak  park and enjoy the sun rising or setting upon the  always growing desert landscape turned cityscape nicknamed the “Old Pueblo”.  Tonight is Good Friday and the Easter/Pass Over period has filled the grocery stores with masses of shoppers. But for 46 years “The Faithful” have taken time out, put on their walking shoes, and headed for A Mountain to carry David Herreras’s cross to the top of the desert mountain where Easter mass will celebrate Jesus Christ.

   Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves
               and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

More than 300 faithful turned out to walk the stations of the Church, each time a new group would step forward to pick up the cross and in turn carry it to the next station. Where others would lift it up and carry it forward. A MT GOODFRIDAY-CROSS CARRY-6194A MT GOODFRIDAY--6160“A sense of peace” is their reward says Rosa Trujillo who has returned year after year to recite the stations and follow the cross to the summit. She came for 15 years nonstop and then moved to Sahuarita but this year she is back with her sister who never used to participate but still lives on the west side. Today everyone has come together. T-Shirts tell much of the story, “Is God, in the house”, “Save Our Streets”, “Mighty Men of Valor”, all christian based programs to help youth stay on the right track. David Herrera, who started the “Los Dorados” group in 1969 when the first “Procession of Followers of The Lord Jesus Christ” was held. Today at 94 he is still directing the first steps taken up the peak. Herrera began his quest to create a path for A MT GOODFRIDAY-CROSS CARRY -6291children to find the Church and Jesus Christ. The procession has become an annual event.  Having seen procession photos taken on Good Friday over the years I was anxious to find some colorful craggy faces contrasting against the stark white cross.  But this year I noted a generational change in the procession, young people stepping up to run the event, young people stepping up to carry the cross !  For Antonio Chavarria, the annual procession, is a touch of the old country and it puts him in a relaxed and pensive mood when he reflects back forty years after arriving in Tucson from Nicaragua where rebels had made his country a war-torn state.  He worked 20 years as a Mexican food cook and another 20 years

DAVID HERRERA

DAVID HERRERA

with TUSD, in time, bringing his mother and three brothers and three sisters to the United States. Antonio remembers one year fondly when he and his wife walked from River and 1st Ave to the Sunrise Ceremony leaving home walking at 3:30am and arrived ten minutes before the mass. Tonight the “Faithful” settle the old cross on to its resting place, the spot it will greet the Sun, Sunday Easter Morning!

As I prepare to leave I noted the young faces that filled the crowd and wondered about Herrera’s focus and goal for the past forty years of creating a path for Tucson’s youth to find religion through Jesus Christ.  I couldn’t help but believe that one man can make a difference ! David Herrera did. A MT GOODFRIDAY-CROSS CARRY-6199

TO SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM GOOD FRIDAY CROSS CARRY AT A-MT…CLICK HERE

GOOD FRIDAY is the Friday before Easter. Also known as Holy Friday, Easter Friday and Black Friday.

What it means: Represents the day Jesus Christ of Nazareth, condemned by Pontius Pilate, was nailed on a wooden cross, where he died.

Last Supper: Christ was believed to have had his last meal with his disciples the night before Good Friday.

Easter: One of the two most important days in the Christian faith. The other is the day Christ was born. Easter is the day Christians believe Christ rose from the dead, two days after he was crucified.

Cross: The cross, a symbol of death and resurrection for most Christians, usually is associated with Jesus Christ.

Catholic and Protestant crosses: Catholic crosses often contain an image of Christ nailed upon them, while Protestant crosses do not. One reflects Christ’s death and suffering, the other reflects his resurrection.

A MT GOODFRIDAY-CROSS CARRY -6314

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THE POW WOW PATH LEADS TO FAMILY & FRIENDS DANCE COMPETITIONS BUILDS NATIVE AMERICAN PRIDE WITH TRADITIONS LINKING TO THEIR PAST !

SANXAVIER POW WOW-9849
InterTribal Dance includes everyone who wants to dance...

The San Xavier or Wa:K Pow Wow intertribal Dance includes everyone who wants to dance…

WINDOWROCK POW WOW-8

WINDOW ROCK POW WOW

Today’s POW WOW has evolved from a large homecoming celebration to categories, styles and competition. Dancers on the Pow Wow highway find themselves crisscrossing states and regions picking up rodeos as they go.  For many it has become a lifestyle like a rodeo cowboy, with prize money helping to pay the way and always headed somewhere. For others, Pow Wow is family time when old friends get together, but Pow Wow also honors First Americans traditions, creating a spiritual link to their ancestors.

SACATON POWOW & RODEO, FAIR-6023

The Cayaditto brothers, Garrott and Logan from Albuquerque, NM both dance Northern Traditional and each has roots in the Navajo, Zia and Ute Tribes. Demonstrating the diversity of cultures and traditions now being absorbed by the present-day pow-wow…

One Dancer at the San Xavier Pow Wow shared with me a horsehair braid he wears with his dance regalia. “My father was a wrangler and I often hope I will have a horse again like I did in my youth!  This braid links me with all those hopes, feelings and connections to family and ancestors. The Poncas of Nebraska created the first powwow in the early 1800s, the modern day powwow developed among the Plains tribes during the 1920’s. The idea quickly spread and today members from tribes coast to coast participate in pow wows. Over the years, powwow have added contests or dancing competitively for prize money and today there are more than 300 pow wows each year, and the size and popularity of contests-some fill sports arenas! But the small, non-competitive and family-oriented events remain popular as well.

A powwow is a gathering of American Indians who come to dance, celebrate, pray, laugh and socialize. But for each person the meaning of the powwow, and their place in that ceremony, can only be defined by themselves.

POW WOW TOO COMMERCIAL FOR SOME OLD-TIMERS….

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SACATON POW WOW DRUM GROUP TRAINS NEW DRUMMER

For the hardcore powwow folks, the arena is a sacred but fun place, its heartbeat resides in the music. The songs are divided into two main styles, northern and southern. Northern singers have a higher pitch than the deep tones of the southern singers. Some songs have words while others are pure chanting. An honor song, for example, might be composed for someone who has recently returned from the military, or for someone who recently passed away. Other songs provide ladies the chance to ask that special man to dance. Yes, at powwows, songs for sweethearts are strictly ladies choice! It’s safe for anyone to join the dancing when the announcer calls for an “inter-tribal dance. There are some old favorites songs passed down from earlier generation. “Some songs are owned by one family”, other songs, “are older than dirt”! but today many drum groups are formed that use their own languages to create new dance songs. At San Xavier, Wild Band, Black Mountain Singers, Southern Comfort, Preying Eagles, Sage Point and Blue Thunder Singers fill out the dance card throughout the pow wow.

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FANCY JINGLE DANCER STRAIGHTENS OUT HER EAGLE FEATHERS. This dance is a spiritual healing dance and the steps are fast-paced. Jingle regalia has the 365 jingles or tin cones that adorn each dress. Each cone represents a prayer and the total equals a prayer for each day of the year.

THE HOOP DANCE PLACES GREAT  PHYSICAL DEMAND UPON THE DANCER.

Native American Hoop Dance is all about storytelling, the dance, incorporates one to 30 or more hoops as props, which are used to create both static and dynamic shapes, or formations, representing various animals, symbols, and storytelling elements. It is generally performed by a solo dancer with many hoops.

The  popular Hoop dance, creates shapes in storytelling rituals forming the butterfly, the eagle, the snake, and the coyote, the hoop symbolizing the never-ending circle of life.  Native American Hoop dance focuses on very rapid moves, and the construction of hoop formations around and about the body. The hoops used are typically of very small diameter 1-2.5 feet. In elaborate sequences of moves, the hoops are made to interlock, in such a way they can be extended from the body of the dancer to form appendages such as wings and tails. The hoops are often handmade by the dancers out of plastic piping though some are made of wood and wrapped in colorful tapes.

Six Hoop Dance Video’s you have to See….

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SAN XAVIER’S WA:K POW WOW HOOP DANCE

Native American Hoop Dance has been recognized as a cultural heritage, embodied in both documentary films and as a living tradition in formal competition. The most popular competition occurs annually at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. Up to 80 dancers have participated in some years, and the competitions have drawn as many as 10,000 spectators.

The first World Hoop Dance Competition was held at the New Mexico State Fair in 1991. The first World Champion Hoop Dancer was Eddie Swimmer, a Cherokee from Cherokee, NC.  The venue was moved to the Heard Museum’s early February event in Arizona for the second event and the first adult winner of the permanent venue was Quentin Pipestem of the Tsuu T’ina Nation in Alberta, Canada. The hoop dance has evolved over the years by becoming faster and has incorporated many influences from outside traditional cultures such as the use of hip hop moves as well as the wide use of industrial piping to construct hoops that were once were made from reeds or willow branches. Hoop dance has gained a strong following as an increasing number of dancers tour the world.

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SANXAVIER POW WOW-0110Pow-wow, from the Algonquian word for a gathering of people, began to be used in Oklahoma around 1900. Soon the dance on the Southern Plains took the form of the traditional Straight Dance: traditional dancers move proudly and sedately. On the Northern Plains each tribe developed its own unique styles, such as the Northern Traditional. Over the decades other styles of both male and female dance movements and songs have developed: the modern Grass, Fancy and Traditional dances for men; the Shawl, Cloth, Buckskin and Jingle Dances for women. The Shawl Dance is the women’s fancy dance, with elaborately beaded or sequined tops and leggings.SACATON POW WOW-9880 The dances continue to develop as more and more tribes outside the Plains tradition have begun to join in pow wows in order to make social connections with other tribes for friendship, trade and to be part of the Indian pow wow movement. Pow-wows follow a traditional form: they begin with a grand entry, flag ceremony, invocation; followed by a sequence of dances, dance contests, singing, drumming, prayers, speeches, and honoring ceremonies such as giveaways of presents. There are usually four dance contest categories: tiny tots; boys and girls; young men and women; elder men and women. They compete in Straight or Traditional, Fancy, Grass, Jingle and Shawl Dancing. The contests are judged by people knowledgeable in pow-wow style dancing, who are dancers themselves. Early pow-wows usually held dance contests, but without the cash awards of today. Pow-wows vary from place to place. In some areas a pow-wow is primarily a spiritual and traditional celebration, while in other areas it is a more social, secular and commercial event. Many pow-wows in Indian Country are not announced in the non-Indian media, and outsiders are rarely invited to some very traditional ceremonies. Indian people from many tribes gather from every direction to participate in the activities, to meet old friends and to be part of the culture.

Meanwhile in southern Arizona, the Wa:k Pow Wow held at San  Xavier second weekend in Februrary is advertised as the largest gathering of Native Americans and I presume Pow Wow dancers because it does get a lot of dancers and lots of winter visitors turn out and watch. But better pow wows are held in Sells and Sacaton, both on the reservation, with fewer fences and more access to the dancers. The biggest is the Window Rock Pow Wow but pow wows trickle from two-year colleges like Pima College in Tucson, or the University of Arizona, Arizona State and Northern Arizona University all have their pow wows. The Casa Grande Odham Tash once challenged the bigger events but it has fallen on hard times, but other pow wows now flourish.

Quapaw Tribe Oklahoma is celebrating its 143rd Annual Pow Wow, July 2-5th, 2015 the oldest and longest running powwow. Today’s pow-wows are integral to today’s resurgence of Indian pride, and a primary way that Native people develop inter-tribal culture in a modern context without each tribe giving up its own unique identity. For urban Indians in particular, where Native culture is often very low profile, pow-wows are a way  to develop a contemporary context in which each tribal culture can continue, and have helped to create the great movement that is shaping the indigenous revival of today. Understanding the modern pow-wow is central to recognizing the revitalization of indigenous culture with its values of respect for the earth, living in traditional balance  and respect for the multiple of cultures.

ARIZONA POW WOW SCHEDULE ON POWWOW.COM

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Sacaton Pow Wow

Sacaton Pow Wow

Competitions are the main focus of the powwow for some participants, but other types of activities occur at various points during the event. Giveaways are common, and inter-tribal and special dances are interspersed throughout the affair, giving noncompetition dancers a chance to participate. Raffles are frequently held to raise money in support of the event or to help sponsor the next powwow. After the formal portion of the powwow, young dancers often get together in the late evening for a round of  dances. TSACATON POW WOW-9896he informal nature of these dances contrasts with the relatively rigid structure of other powwow dances. This is a time for celebration for young adults who dance into the early hours of the morning. Contemporary powwows play an important role in the social and cultural life of Native Americans. They are a celebration of heritage and tradition that has survived in a unique form apart from the daily lives of the participants. Powwows engender a sense of community and belonging among the people who participate. The music and dance are naturally dissemination because they are so visible, and recordings of powwow songs disperse  Native American culture not only among Native American communities but also among people from other communities. All through the day, dancers perform demonstrations of various cultural dance styles in their native regalia. Women Dance Styles – Women and girls wear long-skirted fringed buckskin dresses decorated with intricate beading designs of beads, shells, and bone beads, carrying their feather fans and a folded fringed shawl for the traditional Women’s Buckskin Dance. The Women’s Cloth Dance is another traditional dance style. Regalia is made of cloth and styles vary greatly among the tribe. The feather fan and fringed shawl are also part of this regalia.

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SAN XAVIER POW WOW GRAND ENTRY

SACATON POWWOW-8390Young girls wear colorful cloth dresses with beautifully decorated colorful shawls worn over the shoulders for the Fancy Shawl Dance. The dance steps are intricate and spirited but always in harmony with the drum. The Jingle Dance is a colorful dance style originally from Canada, the regalia is colorful with beaded moccasins and leggings. The most unique feature of the regalia is the 365 jingles or tin cones that adorn each dress. Each cone represents a prayer and the total equals a prayer for each day of the year. This dance is a very spiritual dance for healing while the steps are quite fast-paced. Men’s Dance Styles – The dance styles for men are equally colorful and energetic. The first of these is the Men’s Traditional, a northern dance style. The regalia typically includes natural feathers, bustles and bone breast plates over leather. The dance steps are proud and they tell the story of the warriors deeds in battle. Another traditional dance is the Men’s Straight or Southern Straight Dance. This dance’s regalia includes the porcupine headdress with a single feather, ribbon work on the apron, vests, leggings, otter skin trailers and sashes. It is a story dance about the warrior’s hunt.

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The Men’s Grass is an old dance style from the northern tall grass prairie regions. Regalia is brightly colored fringed yarn or ribbons that mimic the prairie grass swaying in the wind. These dancers created the dance circle by dancing the grass flat.

Men’s Fancy is a modern dance style, got jump-startered in the Wild West Shows popular at the turn of the century. Its regalia is colorful top and bottom, bustles adorned with feathers and bead work on the back and a smaller bustle on each arm. The dance pace is fast, steps are intricate and athletic. Whatever the pace, the dancer must stop with the last beat of the song.

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In the past 32 years the Gathering of Nations has grown from an early, simple dream to one of the world’s most recognized annual festivals. From the beginning the concept has always been to produce an event where Native people can come together each year to celebrate and share culture, and a place where singers and dancers can feel confident that competition is fair to all. The last weekend in April the Annual Gathering of Nations Powwow is held at the University of New Mexico Arena (“The Pit”), in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at Avenida Cesar Chavez Blvd. SE (Hwy. 25, exit #223), earlier in the week the Miss Indian World selection is held as is the annual Trader’s Market. Everyone is welcome ! The Gathering of Nations is an experience for all 80,000 visitors, Indian and non-Indian alike and a huge contest for dancers and singers who compete for the $150,000.00 to be awarded! Over 3,000 indigenous Native American, Indian dancers and singers, representing more than 500 tribes from Canada and the United States come to Albuquerque annually to participate socially and competitively. Over 800 artists, crafters, and traders  place their wares on display and for sale during the four day competition.

Hours:Thursday: 10:00am – 3:00pm: 7:00pm: Miss Indian World Traditional Talent Presentations.
Doors open at 6:30pm Friday & Saturday: 10:00am and never closes on the Pow Wow
Pow Wow Grand Entry: Friday Noon and 7:00; Saturday Noon and 6:00

The Gathering of Nations is the largest Pow Wow each year! But the NAU Pow Wow brings together many diverse cultures all living nearby and the mixture from the schools rich and diverse native American enrollment.

2015 Northern Arizona University Pow Wow
1701 S San Francisco St. Flagstaff, AZ 86011 USA
Contact: Sean Begay 928-699-1003 sbb42@nau.edu
Fees: Adults $10 both days, $7 per day NAU Students with ID Free Kids under 5 Free
Camping: Quality Inn 2500 E. Lucky Ln Flagstaff, Arizona (928)-226-7111
April 10 – 11, 2015 NAU J.L. Walkup Skydome Bldg. 73 1701 S San Francisco St Flagstaff Arizona

Friday April 10, 2015 Gourd Dancing: 6:00 PM Grand Entry: 7:00 PM Saturday April 11, 2015 Gourd Dancing: 11:00 AM & 5:00 PM Grand Entry: 1:00 PM & 7:00 PM  All Categories Tiny Tots Juniors Teens Women Men Golden Age Drum Contest Grass Dance Special In Loving Memory of Jonathan Yazzie Sponsored by: WarDance Etc., Yazzie Family, Friends, and Relatives Men’s Fancy Special Honoring our NAU President Sean Begay Sponsor: The Club HOST NORTHERN DRUM: War Scout, Sweetgrass Saskatchewan, Canada HOST SOUTHERN DRUM: Dark Horse Admission Adults—-$10 both days, $7 per day NAU Students with ID–Free Kids under 5

WINDOWROCK POW WOW-3Every year, thousands of American Indian dancers, singers and musicians hit the powwow circuit in family-friendly festivals. Some of the biggest are held in Calgary, Denver and Oklahoma City. “These are full-out cultural events — dancing, music, food, fellowship and tradition, all combined in one,” says Paul Gowder of PowWows.com, which lists more than 1,500 events. “You come face to face with a living, evolving culture.” He shares these popular powwows with USA TODAY.

Crow Fair
Crow Agency, Mont.
Now in its 96th year, this gathering is like a state fair for the Crow people. “It’s a complete cultural experience,” Gowder says. The August event includes a parade with participants riding horses elaborately decorated with beads and blankets. Perhaps most notable is the tepee encampment with up to 1,000 of the shelters. “It’s quite a sight. They call themselves the tepee capital of the world.” www.crow-nsn.gov/crow-fair-2014.html

Morongo Thunder and Lightning PowWow
Cabazon, Calif.
This event (Sept. 26-28) kicks off California’s fall powwow season, attracting dancers from around the country. Based at the AAA four-diamond Morongo Casino Resort & Spa near Palm Springs, it offers a luxury setting. “You’re right there in a plush resort area. It’s well-run, and spectators love it,” Gowder says. It’s also one of the few places to see California bird singing and dancing, a distinctive regional style. 888-667-6646; morongocasinoresort.com/wp-content/powwow/pow2.php

4th of July Powwow
Cherokee, N.C.
While most major powwows are in the West, this one on the Cherokee reservation is among a handful of top-ranked events east of the Mississippi. It attracts a wide following and offers a different experience. “The dance area is gorgeous, with mountain backdrops. It’s green and lush and a beautiful location — usually nice and cool with a mountain breeze,” Gowder says. 800-438-1601; visitcherokeenc.com

Hunting Moon Pow Wow
Milwaukee
While a relative newcomer on the powwow circuit, this fall event (Oct. 17-19) has grown tremendously over the past several years and now is ranked among the top five in an annual poll on Gowder’s website. “That says a lot. It’s growing really fast,” he says. 414-847-7320; huntingmoonpowwow.com

United Tribes International PowWow
Bismark, N.D.
This 45-year-old September festival draws more than 1,500 dancers and representatives from 70 tribes, which makes it one of the biggest gatherings in the North Central states. “It’s one of the must-dos on the circuit. It wraps up a long summer of powwowing,” Gowder says. This year, it’s Sept. 4-7. unitedtribespowwow.com

Denver March PowWow
The powwow season kicks off every March with this event, which attracts a huge number of Native American drum groups. These organizations usually have 12 to 15 people with male drummers and female singers. “Some of them have big followings,” Gowder says. denvermarchpowwow.org

Julyamsh Powwow
Post Falls, Idaho
The largest outdoor powwow in the Pacific Northwest attracts more than 600 dancers and an eager crowd. “It’s more of a traditional powwow,” Gowder says. “It’s the middle of summer and the middle of the season. The dancers dance on grass.” julyamsh.com

Marvin “Joe” Curry Veterans Pow Wow
Salamanca, N.Y.
Formerly called the Seneca powwow, this annual mid-July event recently changed its name to honor a tribal member who served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. “It’s one of the biggest in the Northeast,” Gowder says. senecapowwow.org

Coushatta Pow Wow
Kindler, La.
Located near Lake Charles, La., Coushatta is one of the biggest American Indian events in the country. And while most powwows feature similar dance styles, this June event also offers a chance to see stomp dancing, a style popular among tribes in the Southeast. 800-584-7263; coushattapowwow.com

Gathering of Nations
Albuquerque
The nation’s biggest powwow attracts more than 3,500 dancers and 150,000 spectators during the last week of April. “This is the Super Bowl of powwows. Everybody saves up to come to this one,” says Gowder, whose site offers live webcasts of the events. Activities include a Miss Indian World cultural (not beauty) pageant and even a long-hair contest. gatheringofnations.com

MORE SW POW WOW PHOTOS VISIT SOUTHWESTPHOTOBANK….CLICK HERE

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