A group of 30 volunteers and tribal members from Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River has spent their week here on Hopi & Navajo lands for a week of service and connection!
We've enjoyed every moment of work and play while repairing homes, splitting firewood, constructing a shed for a Navajo sheep herd, planting Hopi gardens, & spending a unique day on the First Mesa with a grassroots organization.... read on for more about this incredibly special project!
When the Spirits see people of many races working together to help the earth, they look kindly upon them and send rain as a blessing. This wisdom was shared with us by a remarkable Hopi & Tewa family whom we had the honor of meeting this week during our service trip to the Hopi & Navajo Nations.
And on Monday, our team watched in awe and gratitude as young people of many different backgrounds came together towards a common purpose; sharing of themselves through service, through laughter, through new friendships forged in joyful, hard work and a well-earned shared meal. To us, it’s nothing short of magic!
We were so grateful to spend the Monday of our May service trip on the Hopi and Navajo nations assisting with a trash clean-up led by Tutskwat Oqawtoynani, a grassroots organization led by a Hopi & Tewa family on the First Mesa. Inspired by the environmental and spiritual stewardship of the land passed down to the family's grand daughters by their grandfather, their name loosely translates to “helping the earth regain the strength to heal itself." Their mission to clean First Mesa top to bottom - rooted in traditional teachings and a deep respect for the land that is home to the Hopi & Tewa people - is brought to life through the organization's community-driven trash cleanups on and around the Mesa. In this way, Tutskwat Oqawtoynani seeks to nurture and preserve Hopi cultural lifeways and positively impact the mental health of their people.
The accumulation of trash along the First Mesa is a complicated issue rooted in systemic challenges; a complex web of historical trauma, decades of harmful government policies, funding challenges at a local and federal level, and a lack of access to infrastructure that would offer First Mesa residents an alternative to dumping have led to the pile-up of trash seen in the photos below. As one of the sisters who lead the organization explained: "The village's health is a reflection of the people's health."
What began as a chance encounter on Sunday afternoon between our volunteers and the family who leads the organization turned into a beautiful morning of service the following day; youth and volunteers from Colorado, California, Pine Ridge, and the Hopi Nation worked together to clear over 100 bags (one whole ton!) of trash from the ledges beneath the First Mesa.
From the bottom of our hearts, we thank our new friends at Tutskwat Oqawtoynani for the opportunity to work alongside them in service of their deeply important mission, for their incredible hospitality, and for new connections made which we hope will have a ripple effect of goodness. Kwa’kwah/Askwali (Thank you)
You can learn more about Tutskwat Oqawtoynani and their amazing work to clean the First Mesa HERE.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Copyright © 2018 The Tipi Raisers