When I was growing up in Arizona, a famous Arizona-born Navajo artist, Quincy Tahoma made the most beautiful paintings which I loved greatly. This amazing painter died age only 36 years old of alcoholism. I am remembering him fondly due to thinking this new year, that the tragedy of the Tribes is clouded by romanticism by the left which seeks to use the agony and pain of the Tribes for their own ends.
The picture below hits hard: I had this wonderful stallion named ‘Sparky’ who was a Haflinger from Austria where my German side of the family lives in the Alps. These brave palomino horses will fight off predators and I have seen Sparky attack a predator exactly like the horse illustrated when I was a very small girl, many years ago.
I called it ‘tattooing on the coyote’ when my stallions did this. The artist captured it perfectly. Native music.
Watching the destruction of the Tribes is most disturbing. The wonderful artist of the most amazing pictures I loved so greatly when young, died of drinking. I watched this happen on the reservations which interacted with my father at Kitt Peak in Arizona when I was a child and played on the reservation with the Native children.
There are many forms of ‘intelligence’. The Tribes of the New World were ‘intelligent’ in that they figured out how to exist with the challenges of the climate and landscape of where they lived and they had ‘rich’ lives filled with art of various sorts and their own music and religions.
I grew up very immersed in their religions. When I first beheld Baboquivari Peak Mountain when I was only a child, I recognized its religious power over the Tribe living in its western shadows. My home, the complex, founded by my father, looked straight at the warning spire of Baboquivari.
The design above is a modern rendition an old basket showing this labyrinth of the dance for the change of the Year and the New Year. The sun is the center. The baskets I knew with this design didn’t have a human, though, it had vultures.
The ancient Greeks had similar designs expressing the change of the Year, too. Similar dances to express the sun’s movement from north to south with the seasons.
The time of great importance for the Natives in Arizona’s deserts was the Rainy Season in summer and hopes for winter rains which brings great desert crops in April.
The great saguaro cactus, that is, Saguaro Woman, would bloom right before the Summer Rains at the end of June. Then the waxy white blooms crowning each arm of the Saguaro would open at night and be fertilized by bats and the Natives painted pots and wove baskets celebrating this, too.
Here is a dirt road going to the holy mountain of Bavaquivari which people now visit and climb and do all sorts of things but no one did this when I was a child out there more than half a century ago. There were no roads at all. To get there, we rode horses.
I remember the first Kitt Peak road to the summit. It went straight up the mountain at my father’s behest. It was a riot, riding up there on a jeep hanging onto the fenders. Then the second road was built and it wound around the mountain, still very steep. The third road was paved. The Natives were very angry about all this by then, but always remained friends with me even then.
This is some of the filth left at Bavaquivari by illegal aliens and drug smugglers. Hundreds of foreigners die each year near this mountain.
The destruction of nature, of the Tribes, of culture is ongoing and part of the new systems we have, that is, importing everything from Asia which produces like mad hoping to fix their cultural collapse after the disasters of communism by feeding a desire for plastic stuff in the West and the Natives are just as addicted as anyone else.
I remember when they lived off the land and created stuff out of nature, out of nearly nothing, and this creativity was amazingly beautiful. The weaving of rugs, blankets, baskets by women were amazing, the pottery was intensely beautiful even simple boiling pots were works of art, the jewelry and metal stuff made by men were all gorgeous, beautiful in detail, color and shape.
The hogans of the Northern Arizona Tribes like the Navajo traditional houses above, were beautiful designs, clean and clear inside and women wove outdoors in warm weather and indoors in winter on looms their husbands built them. These homes are very similar to the British tribal homes built before and after the Romans colonized the place. Amazing, how similar homes were designed by people who never interacted in over 25,000 years!
My Victorian house which was only six blocks away from this first University of Arizona buildings, was built roughly the same time. Oh, the desert was very dry back then, it was during a prolonged drought that this was built once Geronimo was captured.
There were many romantic movies and stories about Old Tucson and its colorful past. None were about my great grandmother who killed half a dozen natives when they drank from her pot of laundry soap that was very corrosive. My great grandfather used to say, she killed more then he.
She was anti-saloon. Gave them lots of trouble, would hit drunks with her umbrella. Back then, people used umbrellas to keep off the sun, not rain, there was little rain. ‘Umbrella’ refers to ‘shade’ and not ‘rain’ for good reasons, they came from India to keep off the sun.
She wore big hats, too, as I did while living there. Arizona was not pleasant back before air conditioners. I used an ancient ‘swamp box’ to cool my little home in Tucson. I loved it! Starting in the 1960’s, everyone used modern coolers which don’t humidify the home. I preferred my swamp box.
This article talks about the ‘old days’ which I remember clearly: cooking in summer outdoors under a veranda made from saguaro ribs and under mesquite trees…I lived like this in Tucson back in the late 1960’s. I loved it. I had chickens and rabbits and the Killer Rooster and Killer Rabbit carrying on around me when I cooked outside. The cats loved it, too, they had the palo verde tree and the walnut tree to climb. It was a lovely place which was utterly destroyed by Tucson’s rulers.
Rats. This makes me feel bad, thinking about it all. The above article talks about the history of ‘ice plants’ in Arizona. I remember these. Once, when I was a child, one of these caught on fire. It was a fabulous blaze. We children joked about how ice burns. A new year comes in and I, an old ratty lady, gets to remember the distant past. I hope the future is better than the past. We never know, or we could have a crummy time of it. I hope not.