Reportback from the Fall 2012 Caravan

A few weeks have passed since the 2012 Fall Caravan and Wood Run and we are already looking forward to putting together a spring work party!   Our crew was really small this year- only two of our organizers from Denver could make it down, but we teamed up with Black Mesa Indigenous Support (BMIS) and Clan Dyken to distribute wood and donations to elders and families living in resistance on Black Mesa.

The BMIS caravan was small too- they only invited returning supporters this year and we all got to work quickly, stepping into the familiarity of tasks we’ve done before.  About thirty supporters spent the week herding sheep with different families across the land.  Others of us spent the week cutting and hauling wood under the hot and dry sunshine- by far the warmest weather we’ve seen during the November caravan.   During the week, along with Clan Dyken, we delivered about 40 loads of wood.  

Some the money we raised in Colorado went to a brand new chainsaw that cut it’s teeth chopping up loads pinon and juniper all week, and was then donated to a family.  In addition, we also were able to get a much needed car part for a resident to help get her truck running again.

At the end of the week, all of the BMIS supporters came together with elders and families from around the area for a feast and we listened while the elders spoke in Dine’ about their forty year struggle for life and land in the face of relocation policy and Peabody’s unending appetite for coal.  For those of us who don’t speak the language, we were grateful to get a translation.   After the circle, we all ate mutton stew, salad and frybread.  Grumble from Seeds of Peace and Los Angeles Food Not Bombs were there to help us prepare our big feast- we are grateful to them.  The Black Mesa Colorado Caravan used some of our fundraised money to pay for the sheep and to have it butchered by a Black Mesa resident. 

Some of the money we raised went to loads of wood to pitch in on the efforts of BMIS and Clan Dyken to make sure that all the elders and families start out the winter with a load of wood.  It’s not nearly enough for the whole winter- and there is always a need to get more, especially for elders living alone.  

We also brought a little bit of food down to distribute- and want to thank the Catholic Worker House for sharing their donations with us, as well as our friends in Mancos, CO, who worked to get us yet another donation from Cortez Milling, the makers of Bluebird Flour.  We were also grateful to bring down squash from The Woodbine Ecology Center’s Indigenous Community Garden harvest.   There are so many people in the Denver area to thank- we are grateful to our friends from Fort Collins as well the University of Denver’s Native Student Alliance, who both organized fundraisers for this year’s caravan even though they couldn’t make it.  There are countless friends, supporters, family members, businesses and community members who have continued their support for the past four years, we are thankful to all of them.

We are also looking ahead to future indigenous permaculture projects on the land.  In mid-November, we had a planting party out at Blacktail Permaculture Farm in Henderson, Colorado and planted 125 peach and apricot seedlings to transplant down to Black Mesa.  In spring we hope they will sprout, and then give them at least a year to become big enough to make the move.

We are already talking about a spring or summer caravan- email if you want to get involved.  Support is needed year-round, sheepherders and wood-choppers are always needed, material and monetary donations are always welcome.  Ahe’hee!Image

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