Simultaneous volunteer service projects often require supply runs, tools swapped and delivered from crew to crew, and other challenges resulting from the long distances between worksites on the reservations we serve.
But on our final day of service during the recent August Volunteer Trip, traditional Hopi architecture helped us avoid that common obstacle!
The villages of the Hopi - who are a Puebloan People - are made up of adobe homes which share walls and surround a shared plaza, in which ceremonies and social gatherings still take place. This type of architecture reflects the Hopi & Pueblo emphasis on community and sharing - Indigenous wisdom that still guides the Hopi today.
Thanks to these ancient architectural practices, our entire volunteer group was able to work side-by-side on three different projects at Sitsomovi Village atop First Mesa:
1. Finishing touches to a new wood shed for a Hopi family
2. Installation of a wheelchair ramp for a Hopi elder
3. Waterproofing of the roof of a 17th century Hopi home prone to severe leaks
Just one of the many ways Indigenous wisdom helps bring this work to life!
In the video above: See volunteers work side-by-side to complete three projects on the final day of our August Service Trip to the Hopi & Navajo Nations!
A wheelchair ramp for a Hopi elder.
A new, accessible shower for a 96-year-old Diné great-grandmother.
A shed to shelter sheep on whom a community relies for cultural and physical nourishment on the Navajo Nation.
A wood shed for a family who depend on firewood to stay warm in winter.
A flatbed of trash picked up from a village on a journey of healing from its trauma, past and present.
Repairs to a Hopi corn shed housing a year's supply of heirloom corn.
Firewood split and distributed to elders and families preparing for cold temperatures.
Gutters installed at a historic home on First Mesa.
Two layers of plastic sheeting on the leaky roof of a 17th century home in need of extensive repair - a temporary solution to complex problems faced by the community in which the home sits.
None of these acts of service solve the deep-seated challenges of poverty and cultural loss, of historical and present-day trauma. But in 11 years of this work, we find that it is the little things which move reconciliation forward, which bring communities separated by conflict, colonization, discrimination, and isolation together in a spirit of friendship, which remind each of us of the importance of showing up, as we are, at service to a shared purpose and a more connected future.
It is a drop in the bucket - but if enough good people make the effort to contribute a drop, whenever and wherever they can, a tide of healing is bound to flow someday.
On the Navajo Nation, sheep are not just a source of food and wool - they are the lifeblood of a resilient and rich culture, a reminder of those who came before and the embodiment of an ancestral wisdom that continues to sustain Diné communities today.
In a quiet, rocky enclave at the center of the Navajo Nation, three Diné women are carrying on the legacy of their ancestors as the stewards of a flock of two dozen sheep. For their family and the surrounding community, the sheep provide meat, wool to be woven into traditional textiles, cured hides for sleeping mats, and a connection to the generations of sheep-herders that preceded them. No part of the animal goes to waste - particularly in a food desert like the one in which the flock is located, where some families face food insecurity on an ongoing basis.
For a decade and a half, the sheep have faced harsh, high desert winds and bobcat attacks that have revealed the need for a sturdier and more permanent shed to house them. In partnership with the family who cares for the flock, volunteers on our May and August service trips have helped construct the roof, walls, and fencing of a new shed to house the sheep.
This week, construction was completed on the shed, and the sheep are now protected from wind and predator species! In their new home, these stunning animals will be able to provide physical and cultural nourishment to their community for years to come.
This project was truly multigenerational and cross-cultural: youth and elders from Pine Ridge, Cheyenne River, the Navajo Nation, Colorado, and Washington D.C. have worked side-by-side to bring this project to life, sharing laughter and building lasting friendships along the way. Collaborations like this help move all four themes of our mission forward.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Copyright © 2018 The Tipi Raisers