As our 3rd year approaches we have seen and experienced so much to be grateful for. When we first connected with Harold Begay and Lillie Redsteer, it was Robb Redsteer who led the way. Robb and I connected in Flagstaff AZ as I was returning from a family trip on November 28, 2010. We drove to Naataanii which is about an hour and 45 minutes north of Flagstaff, which gave us each just enough time to go through our life stories and to develop a level of trust with each other.
Once we reached Naataanii and met Harold and Lillie, we went into their Hogan and as I spoke in English Harold spoke in Navajo and Lillie translated, something beautiful was being born.
We agreed to work together on our first event for Earthday 2011, and the core team developed after going through a challenging period of tests that strengthened our connection and solidified our purpose.
Earthday Naataanii 2011 was more like a pilgrimage than most people were ready for. It’s a long 9-13 hour drive from Southern Ca, and we had people coming in from Idaho, Oregon, CA, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah so people were coming from all over the country. The distance was one thing but when the motor homes started showing up on the bumpiest roads most had ever traveled it became very surreal.
The mesa’s were more beautiful than words or even pictures can describe. The land where we held our event was literally covered in hundreds of thousands of raw crystals just laying on the ground mostly undisturbed for many many years. There was a feeling that we all experienced. A connection to the land and the people like none of us had ever really felt before. A beautiful soul donated a nice Biodome which now produces organic food quite well in very harsh conditions.
So many amazing people along the whole path have given of themselves. Robb Redsteer started doing what he could to make a positive impact in the Bennett Freeze communities 16 years ago. Many others in the Freeze communities suffered and still do in every way imaginable. I have seen the long term impact of a 46 year Property Improvement Freeze and its not something that should exist, especially within an hour and 45 minutes of a major city!
The story even gets worse for many who live in the Freeze communities as they have some of the highest cancer rates in the country from Coal, Arsenic and Plutonium poisoning that has never been cleaned up by Peabody mining and other massive corporations. Something can be done and beautiful synchronicity has allowed us to have a role in creating positive change.
Right where we held our last 2 Earthday events, there are now 4 homes. 3 still lack running water and 2 still lack electricity but there are real houses with real foundations and when the water and power lines are completed they will no longer freeze or have to drive 10-30 miles for water to put in their buckets and containers.
So far a total of 28 homes have been approved since we have been working closely with Robb Redsteer, Harold Begay, and Lillie Redsteer. They are the real Hero’s of the community and although some in the community still give them grief for working with the white man (us), most of the community, including the Elders and Medicine Men are very welcoming and honorable people who love us and for that I am very grateful.
Some of the most gratifying work took place on December 15, 2012 during a 15 hour Ceremony involving both Navajo and Hopi Medicine Men. This was the completion of a ceremony that took place earlier in the year on March 10-11. It was a very cold day and I had to use my Jeep to go get 2 of the Hopi elders because they were snowed in! The whole story will come out soon but suffice it to say that a significant Forgiveness took place and actions were taken by both Navajo and Hopi that may very well change the future between them for generations to come. I pray that the seed that was planted grow in Palestine and Israel, Africa, and all around the world. Peace is really possible between all people when based on real forgiveness.
Where do we go from here? We are excited to help complete all of the houses possible and make sure that the people feel Love and hope for a better future. We are also helping the people in the Freeze communities to apply for grants to create organic farming jobs which could also feed the population and create a much needed economy.
An incredible company called Airstream Innovations has committed to donating a half-acre covered greenhouse that can withstand 80 mile winds and hail, so we could really be putting some jobs out here sooner than later with the right farm equipment and some start up capital. This could really end up as a great success story for a community which has been almost forgotten!
Thank you for your prayers and support of any kind. Please do something good for someone today.
PRESS RELEASE May 14, 2012
President Ben Shelley Calls for Action to Help Families Attain Homes in Bennett Freeze Area
CAMERON, Ariz. – Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly called for immediate action to help people purchase new homes after he toured two homes affected by a 40 year old policy that was lifted in 2009.
(click this link to read the full article) http://www.president.navajo-nsn.gov/pressReleases/2012/may2012/051412_PresidentBenShellyCallsForActionToHelpFamiliesAttainHomesInBennettFreezeArea.pdf
Check out the Live AZTV Morning Scramble Interview with Gary Christmas, Kimberlee Schultz and Robb Redsteer Tuesday AM April 17th http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature =player_embedded&v=xpXetZsOb9I
A Facebook Message from Robb Monday April 30th:
“i visited with one of harold’s young neighobors to the south. she knew EVERY stage of the building of harold and lillie’s house and excitely told me about it, the best part is that they are getting a house built too. i mentioned the archeologists that came… out to harold’s that one day in the tv interview – they went to her place and after reviewing her place gave clearance to build!! she was sooo happy and just couldn’t stop with her thanks on the job we all did in creating awareness of the bennett freeze story. great job kids!! pat yourselves on the back. : ) a safe home for her, her husband and their six children. its all good.
this family has a young son with a respitory illness that requires a safe warm house in the winter – she said she’s really happy that they will have a warm house and her son will not be hospitalized. you have been out here and have seen the poverty conditions of housing out here – hey, i was so glad to listen to her!”
Facebook Message from Gary Tuesday May 1st:
“Water, and New Homes are really the key to the whole issue. When VP Rex Lee Jim, and Raymond Maxx wre there at the Earth Day Naataanii 2012 event, we told them that if the Navajo Nation whould build 1000 homes for the families in the Bennett Freeze (all 8 communities) who really need homes, we would plant a tree for each home, as long as each home had running water. So this initiative is really to motivate the government to build homes with running water for the families in the Bennett Freeze. Now that Harold and Lillie have their New House almost complete with running water, we planted a Tree for them in celebration. There are 4 homes just completed in the area so we will plant trees for each of them as well. We also just found out that 7 more New Homes are being build in the area for younger families with children so we are excited to see this progress and will gladly plant a new tree for each of their homes which will now have running water, indoor plumbing, water heater, kitchens and bathrooms. We hope to see 1000 homes so we can plant 1000 trees in the Bennett Freeze. Bringing water lines and homes is the goal.”
If you would like to help with the 1000 trees in the Bennett Freeze, click one of the links below:
$30.00 Donation Link for the Thousand Trees In the Bennett Freeze Fund https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=JMA6PUTQSJ4Y8 $50 Donation Link for Harold and Lillie’s House Fund https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=M495E9NB4W9EG
$111.00 Donation Link for the Thousand Trees in the Bennett freeze Fund https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=NTY98E9QVZ3JN
General Page Introduction:
Each and every person who attended the Earthday 2011 event in Naataanii, has given more than just material gifts or comfort. Your presence and the Love you brought has helped to bring a profound and lasting positive impact on the small community of Naataanii.
This past Thanksgiving as I was returning from visiting family in Texas, I stopped by to visit with Robb and catch up on the latest developments in Naataanii. The surprise and heartfelt joy I experienced when Robb told me that Harold and Lillie were picking out appliances for their new house is almost too much for mere words to express. When he continued to explain that 4 houses were now under construction and that as many as 69 applicants are being considered, along with planning for human grade drinking water lines and even planning for paving the 50 mile dirt road to reach the area, I was in a beautiful state of shock. Something Incredible had happened.
Just one year earlier, on November 28, 2010 when I met Harold and Lillie in their Hogan, I could feel a very strong connection to them and to their Sacred Land. They told me stories about all of the chapter meetings they had attended in an effort to get water service and resources to their community, all of the false promises that had been made to them over the years, and the charlatans who figured out ways to take money and resources that were intended for the people of their community.
Somewhere deep inside me, I knew we could help to instigate change if we kept our spirits and motives pure. If we could just bring people of Love and Integrity together with the intent of bringing sustainable food, shelter, energy, and economic development to Naataanii, we would have a real opportunity to show what this sort of out of the box “Love in Action” is capable of.
Harold Begay and Lillie Redsteer are the real heroes of Naataanii. For years they have been the catalyst for positive change in their community, and many times they have had to deal with harsh critics as they spoke the words that needed to be said as Peace Builders. Regardless of the criticisms, they continued to do what they believed was right, and last year they were host of the first Earth Day Event on their land in Naataanii. Many believe that it was this event which opened the flow of many positive changes to come for the Naataanii community, and eventually the entire 1.5 million acres of the former Bennett Freeze.
More on this will follow
We will be sharing all of the amazing miracles that are currently unfolding here.
Visit often to celebrate the journey with us!
The Naataanii Support Team