Celebrating the 75th year of the Tohono O’odham Nation Rodeo & Fair, the longest running All-Indian rodeo in the United States! The Rodeo & Fair is the biggest and most expansive event of the year. Bring the family out to enjoy the full experience there is sure to be something for everyone – rodeo competitions, traditional games, food, crafts, carnival rides, fun run, exhibits and performances. The U.S. longest-running American Indian rodeo has a Junior Rodeo which this year fielded 300 young ones, it has a powwow, carnival, parade, Wailia dances, and food/crafts at the Livestock Complex in Sells, 60 miles west of Tucson. This year’s schedule ran from January 31 through February 3, 2013 at the Eugene P. Tashquinth Sr. Livestock Complex in Sells, Arizona. Named after the long-time voice of Tribal Rodeo’s, the Chu Chui resident (1929-2006) Eugene Tashquinth spent his days bringing order to chaos, heading up most of the events at the livestock area, so when they built the new one, they named it after Eugene Tashquinth. Equally proud is the Tohono O’odham Hedricks family whose matriarch Silas’s name blesses the Rodeo pavilion where he excelled in the arena, his grandson Chad Hedrick put the first score (6.3) on the clock with his bareback ride. Sells is a place of tradition and for the ten thousand residents of the third largest Indian reservation in the United States the annual rodeo and fair is a time of gathering, folks begin gathering before noon and the festivities go way into the night with the Wailia ending around l a.m.. The Rodeo and Pow Wow bring in native American competitors from all over the South West, particularly from Arizona tribes, like the Navajo, Hopi, San Carlos Apache, White Mountain Apache Tribe and their Tohono cousins: the Pima and Maricopa Tribes. Every year, is an old-home-town visit, with folks coming together to visit, catch-up, see who big all the cousins have gotten and to get new pictures of the kids. The mid-way is a beacon to all who love carnivals, greasy food, fast rides, regge music from Bob Marley, and tee shirts featuring heavy music idols and black goth signs. Visitors pay $8 for a wristband allowing all day access, for those over 55 years-of-age, the senior charge is $2. The annual Toka Tournament brings together the Tohono O’odham “Dream Teams”, like “Sun-Running-Women” who battle it out on a football sized field fighting over a wooden puck laced with leather and flung up-field with long sticks pulled from the ribs of the saguaro cactus. The start is much like the game lacrosse-another Indian game, it begins almost like a rugby scrum–and then off down field, very little is out of bound. These women celebrate this age old tradition all afternoon long with teams chasing each other up and down the playing field, the ebb and flow, the eventual goal and high-fives all around, losers too. The Pow Wow begins with the traditional Gourd Dance and breaks down into male, female, fancy, Plains categories featuring the finest in Pow Wow and Drum traditions. Just off the mid-way, the crowd not to photograph are the Yaqui Deer dancers nor can you record them with smartphones. The Yaqui Band features a combination of home-made instruments which accompany the dancers, one wears the head of a small deer atop the head, the main dancers each wore a mask to fill out the cast for their dance.
Earlier the Santa Rosa traditional dancers displayed their dance abilities, wearing their eye-catching shell-leg chaps, made from the shell carried from the Sea of Cortez by their ancestors who later traded the shell to Hohokam in the Salt-Gila River area for their cotton. The Tohono’s Hohokam ancestors valued the shell as a sign of rank, wealth, and much of it was fashioned into jewelry, like bracelets, necklaces, and leggings with shell leg tinklers for dancers The Tohono ancestors had a prehistoric salt trail across the vast waterless Sonoran Desert, across what is today’s US-MEXICO Border and into the blackened landscape of the Sierra de Pinacate lavafields, before crossing the enormous star sand dunes of the Grande Deserto for ten miles before reaching the Gulf of California where they harvested the precious salt and processed the shell, carrying home only what they needed to make jewelry to trade. Traditions have lasted thousands of years in the lands west of Tucson, they exist today and they will thrive tomorrow. The Tohono Tribe are gracious hosts and they welcome young and old, Indian or not as visitors to their Rodeo and Fair. It surprises me how few Tucsonans take advantage and visit the annual Tohono gathering, it surprises me more how few Tucson businesses sponsor, advertise or even acknowledge the tribe and its good work and its people of sterling, ageless character who have been our faithful neighbor for centuries.
SOUTHWEST PHOTOBANK GALLERY FOR MORE SELLS AZ RODEO PHOTOS CLICK HERE ….
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Southern Arizona’s Sky Islands are frosted over for the 2013 New Year and new storms promise to spread snow throughout the border regions of Arizona. Forecasts predicts more, Bisbee has 9 inches, Naco has 7 inches, Sierra Vista has 3 inches and Mount Lemmon’s hwy is now open to four-wheel drive, and is a good place to screw up a nice 4×4, all that traction on ice…?
“It’s beautiful”, says a photographer at Catalina State Park, who has pulled over off the roadway to make a photo. Another lady stopped and rolled down her window, if the ranger sees you stopped on the shoulder, he will ticket you for being off road. Thanks I say as I pull away, that’s total bullshit I think.
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CLICK HERE FOR DAY OF THE DEAD GALLERY FOR 2010</a
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“I KNOW SHE LISTENS TO US” inserts Loretta who said an Our Father and Hail Mary each Wednesday for years. Loretta was at the San Xavier Mission’s Celebration of the Canonization of the first Native American Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (KA’-tehr-ee teh-kuh-KWIH’-thuh). Loretta came and got a seat on the second row because of the love she inherited in 1960 from her mother who came to the San Xavier Mission and prayed regularly and she had brought Loretta along. When Loretta’s thyroid cancer reappeared after 25 years she had no fear because he loves Kateri, her life has been touched by the humble little girl who loved the Cross and fought her illness. “People here are praying for me, she says of her San Xavier Parish!” Known as the “Lily of the Mohawks,” Kateri was born in 1656 to a pagan Iroquois father and an Algonquin Christian mother. The daughter of a Mohawk chief and a Catholic Algonquin woman, Kateri was born in 1656 in Auriesville, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) northwest of Albany and in the heart of the Iroquois (EER’-uh-koy) Confederacy to which the Mohawks belong. Her parents and only brother died when she was 4 during a smallpox epidemic that left her badly scarred and with impaired eyesight. She went to live with her uncle, a Mohawk, and was baptized Catholic by Jesuit missionaries. She was ostracized and persecuted by others for her faith, and she died in Canada, when she was 24.
“May her example help us to live where we are, loving Jesus without denying who we are,” Pope Benedict said before 80,000 faithful. “Saint Kateri, protectress of Canada and the first Native American saint, we entrust you to the renewal of the faith in the first nations and in all of North America!” Spoke the Pope early this morning at Vatican City a sunrise away from the Sonoran Desert where the Tohono O’odam hosted their Celebration to Tekakwitha, where the Yaqui and Aztec Tribe Dancers escorted the procession of the Figurine that Blessed the People who Love Kateri and the Tohono O’odham “Spirited Runners” carried her Cross! San Xavier Mission was completed in 1797 by a work crew of Tohono O’odham Indian who built this Mission at a time when few structures anywhere rivaled its size or magnificent Spanish-colonial architecture. The Franciscan Order retains its original purpose of ministering to the religious needs of its parish and provides a Mission School to teach the Reservation’s kids.
Franciscan Friar Steve Varnufsky finds the Canonization of Kateri is “a unifying figure” she has validated the faith of thousands of Native Americans who are Christians. Today, Varnufsky BELIEVES was a “Celebration of God’s Love” that was bringing together many tribes and nations. For Maria Orozzo who wore a Kateri Tekakwitha T-shirt knew this was very, very important and this rung true in her heart and enriched her spirit. For Miss Pasqua Yacqi Ariana Molina she believed Kateri’s canionization was something to celebrate and her friend, Junior Miss Paqua Yaqui Brandy Uriarte, said she “was very happy”.
Father Ponce who ministers to the flock on the eastside of the enormous Tohono O’Odham Reservation said to a crowd of several hundred “We place her on the altar! We hold her up for all to see ! We witness to her Life !” “She stands before US as a mirror of GOD” “Saints come from somewhere ! Look around says Friar Ponce, waving his arms to the crowd, this is where Saints come from. Some day we hold them up to the Lord. “THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE”. Loretta agrees one night she continued, she was sick at home and unable to make her weekly pray trip to Kateria Tekakwitha, the cancer weighing on her mind, she began to pray and Kateri appeared before her eyes and her pain lessened and her saint disappeared with her prayers…
VATICAN CITY — Some 80,000 pilgrims in flowered lei, feathered headdresses and other traditional garb flooded St. Peter’s Square on Sunday as Pope Benedict XVI added seven more saints onto the roster of Catholic role models in a bid to reinvigorate the faith in parts of the world where it’s lagging. One of the new saints was American Kateri Tekakwitha, the first Native American saint from the U.S. Among the few people chosen to receive Communion from the pope himself was Jake Finkbonner, a 12-year-old boy of Native American descent from the western U.S. state of Washington, whose recovery from an infection of flesh-eating bacteria was deemed “miraculous” by the Vatican. The Vatican determined that Jake was cured through Kateri’s intercession after his family and community invoked her in their prayers, paving the way for her canonization.
Kateri was declared venerable by the Catholic Church in 1943 and she was Beatified in 1980. Hundreds of thousands have visited shrines to Kateri erected at both St. Francis Xavier and Caughnawaga and at her birth place at Auriesville, New York. Pilgrimages to these sites continue to celebrate the first Native American to be declared a Blessed. Her feast day is July 14. She is the patroness of the environment and ecology.
A National Historic Landmark, San Xavier Mission was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692. Construction of the current church began in 1783 and was completed in 1797.The oldest intact European structure in Arizona, the church’s interior is filled with marvelous original statuary and mural paintings. It is a place where visitors can step back in time and enter an authentic 18th Century space. Mission San Xavier del Bac is 9 miles south of downtown Tucson, Arizona just off of Interstate 19. Take exit 92 (San Xavier Road) and follow signs to the Mission. Named “the White Dove of the Desert” for it’s stark contrast between the surrounding land and the white building. The interior is covered with recently restored intricate, hand painted frescos. There is no admission charge to visit Mission San Xavier. Some 200,000 visitors come each year from all over the world to view what is widely considered to be the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the United States. 7 a.m.–5 p.m. Allow 2–3 hours.
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“PECK CANYON is heavily patrolled and the terrain rugged.”
Few saw that the US-MEXICO BORDER would tear apart families or tribes whose cultures and languages are threatened but the cities that sprang up on both sides were predictable the division created entrepreneurial opportunity which sprung from the law, culture and needs of society. The international border became a way of life, a geological oddity (like the Grand Canyon) right in their own backyard, if their property had backed up to a great viewpoint they would have set up a pay parking lot and required admission.
The fence or border brought traders who provided the needs of the locals, like Sasabe Merchantile sells both parlor and kitchen stoves all wood-burning and priced for a population where electricity and gas are a new world commodity. Until recently, places like the San Miguel Gate, (a strip of no man’s land) became a row of boxes and traders on Saturday mornings who tried to sell goods to folks who needed their products from either sides of the border.
Recently I spoke with a young man who grew up in the Peck Canyon corridor and he believed crossings may be down “but business was being done, and if a load needed to go, it went and arrived intact! Business has been conducted through Peck Canyon since the day when Geronimo used those foothills’s perfect cover as he made tracks for the border. In our last posting, a local deer hunter said, “all border traffic was being funneled into Peck Canyon” much of this because of the high-tech sensing equipment elsewhere and the high profiles of the National Guard and additional manpower to the Border Patrol.
Unique to Peck Canyon, is the mixing of wilderness and residential, its close proximity to dense high
desert terrain and I-19, which is next to the large Border Patrol Checkpoint on I-19. I thought it would be quite easy for drug cartels to own several houses along I-19 where folks could move north from one house to another, for $5000 a head, many things are possible, like tunnels. Locals can think of four or five houses that might fit that description or have, from time to time. Likewise, the bandits who prey on crossers and smugglers alike, they probably live right there and know the terrain like the back of their hand and could be watching TV while border patrol searches.
Maybe, these Border businessmen started out young as mules! Perhaps, in the beginning they carried marijuana on their backs into the US, for $200 a pound, forty pounds equals $8000, 50 pounds or $10000, whatever they could carry quickly. Once in, they drop their load in a remote spot and hotfoot back to Mexico. When they drop their packs a man on a hillside watches and carefully telephones “his crew” who he directs to the load and they bring it further north. For decades, people have stuffed their doors and wheel wells full with pounds of grass and more than 200 pounds might be stuffed into a single ride to travel north without a second look. Driver of a loaded car might make $2000 traveling between Rio Rico and Tucson where the keys are passed to new driver to take the car on into Phoenix. This practice limits anyone person having full knowledge of the network. Lots of stolen or borrowed cars end up abandoned in the desert and they are quickly stripped by yet other border entrepreneurial opportunity. Living on the border separates families and social responsibilities can collide with professional responsibilities may result in a phone call home where an agent tells his wife he is stopping for bread on the way home. That might mean he will not be on a certain mountain and that route will be open for cousin Jaime to bring his load through. Some people living on the line, say “it business!” and others, call it “family”. Anything is possible, here. If a load needs to go, it does so successfully!
Here are some links to recent articles on the Peck Canyon and its every growing violence and how the cartels are pushing back against Mexico and USA …
A Border Patrol swat team member was shot and killed Tuesday night in a gun battle with suspected bandits south of Tucson. Agent Brian A. Terry, 40, was killed when his team exchanged fire with a group of five people about 11 p.m. in a remote area west of Rio Rico, said the FBI. Four of the five suspected bandits were in custody Wednesday morning, including one man who was hospitalized with gunshot wounds. Border Patrol since “have buttoned down the Pena Blanca Lake area” covering all the squeeze points and by placing agents on quads and horseback into the interior they are looking for a fifth member of the group. The shooting occurred in a remote area near Forest Service Road 4197, west of Interstate 19, said Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada. When deputies arrived at Peck Canyon Drive and Circulo Sombrero in Rio Rico, they found Terry dead of gunshot wounds, Estrada said. The remote area where the shooting occurred is an area frequently used by drug traffickers and people-smugglers.”All these canyons in Santa Cruz County are notorious for smuggling humans and drugs,” Estrada said. “Obviously, it is a very dangerous situation for anyone patrolling those remote areas, particularly for Border Patrol. There is always that threat.”Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department was only serving in a support role, Estrada said. The FBI is handling the investigation.”Our thoughts and prayers are with the Terry family for their tragic loss,”
Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry was shot and killed Tuesday night in a fire fight with suspected bandits near Rio Rico, south of Tucson.
Mexican Crime Reporter Speaks Out
Landscape photography requires the photographer to have a link with the land, he must be attuned to the weather, the time of year, the movements of the moon and sun, blooms and fall-all things natural, but often out of sight and out of mind, not something city-dwellers easily track. Therefore the challenge, Ansel Adams described the landscape photograph as often the source of great hope and often the source of severe disappointment, it’s hard to keep it all together and be there when great things happen, unfold and become a lasting digital moment. That doesn’t mean that untold numbers of photographers won’t strive to accomplish what Ansel Adams did, with every breath they take. His record selling “Moonrise Hernandez New Mexico” was one of those “drove into the ditch, threw up the tripod, slammed in a film holder into his camera, pulled the slide, guessed the exposure, made the exposure, light faded. Then he pulled a light meter and made his readings and developed according. Hernandez New Mexico print sold recently for $609,600, more recently, the Adam’s photo “Winter Storm clearing” has sold for $722,000.00 bypassing all other Adam’s photos for a price paid. I asked Ansel about “Winter Storm clearing” once he said that he often visited that view and some times there was a photo but often nothing and he drove on. So luck, has a lot to do with Ansel Adams “luck” but his diligence and tenacity always the deciding factor, he was out there working and checking out ideas that may bear fruit, but maybe not today, keep checking. Years ago I decided that Landscape work needed total devotion and tried to devise ways of improving my chances, without living in the desert the rest of the year. A few tricks that help, the moon calendar on this website’s blog roll, tells you when the full moon will present itself, it also shows you the dark of the moon, for night shots. The AZ Highways scenic drive and monthly event calender gives you ideas of pretty drives that can dove-tail with up-coming events like the Fort Verde Days October 8 thru 10, lots of living history, drilling, posing for tourists. Maybe enroute or on the way home you decide to visit wet Beaver Creek, the road travels across several one-lane bridges and a country boarding school to the V-Bar-V Heritage Site, where after a short half-mile hike, visitors can see more than 1,300 petroglyphs depicting everything from snakes to humans with walking sticks. A nice diversion, breaks up a long drive and a good thing to shoot mid-day and gives you some variety and more bang for your buck.<!–
SW SPRINGPK WeisI have a habit of picking up rocks along the way and over the years I find myself with a huge rock garden and in the nooks and crannies of these rock, cactus adorn and bloom annually right in my backyard. Frequently cactus blooms at home fill in the blanks when I need a particular bloom but better still it keeps me in touch with the desert and when I notice the blooms in my garden I realize things are heating up out in the Sonoran Desert and I might do well to take a look.