listener, documenter, videographer
Canyon De Chelly, Arizona
To support Lupita and John McClanahan in documenting traditionally oral histories to pass on to their family.
Lupita and I met while a friend and I were on a hike in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona.
We got to talking.
I got to listening.
She is a Navajo woman who grew up in the canyon but was forced to attend a christian school as a young person.
She asked if we could help her record some stories for her family.
"All my life, I’ve lived in the canyon. I was raised here.
I really didn’t know my older brothers and sisters. My parents and grandparents would just tell me that they live far away,
That some people took them
And they’re in different places
With different people.
And they really didn’t know where they were."
"We were always told that somebody,
are gonna come and take us away and
be in a different place and if that should happen then they say that the land might be forgotten, the place might be forgotten,
They might not have any more grandchildren.
I have 12 sisters and 4 brothers. I live with my grandparents in a separate Hogan from my parents-- my mother. She [mother] wanted to raise my and she did all the way into about 6 or 7 years old. She took care of me and I lived with my grandparents.
One day she [grandmother] hears vehicles or some strange noise in the canyon. She was always careful and she looks around says that maybe there’s a vehicle coming. Even though they’re miles away she could hear the vehicle. And then she’ll say, “they’re coming, they’re coming to take you away. Let’s go, let’s go hide. We don’t want you going to boarding school. You’re gonna stay here with me and take care of us.”
So we ran."