Rise and Fall

by Urvin Yazzie

i’m from the navajo nation....i moved to utah becuz there is hardly any jobs out on the navajo rez. i’m working becuz i could go to places that i want to go. i also want to help the dooda desert rock group. i work mostly everywhere even in texas. i get jobs to help my brother and sisters to. i started to work ever since i was young.

i pledge allegiance to the feathers
of the united tribes in this land
we stand for no greed and power
under no god or president
we will live by the sun and the moon
not by the time that was made
we will not live behind those
imaginary lines
this land belongs to nobody
our history before 500 years was
our freedom
the present is our prison of
technologies and wars
we will live in peace and harmony
with the earth and creator on our side
blinding ourselves with their medias and plots
advertising on the billboards and on tv
stuffing us with cotton and put us behind the glass case
making profits out of our bones
our bodies belong deep into the earth
not behind glass case to be look at
controlling our minds with alcohol, drugs, materials
causing us to hate amongst each other
fighting, killing, forgotten the way of life
not accepting the traditions
ashamed by it
what have they done to us?
what are they doing to us?
just to let u know we still exist
we will never fade away
we will not be ignored


on november 8, 2007 me and my friend decided to go to the desert rock camp for the gathering. we planned it for almost a year. dooda means “no” in navajo and desert rock is the name of a power plant they are trying to build on navajo land in new mexico. people are trying to stop it. we hitchhiked to blue, just between cottonwood and pinon on the navajo reservation, then chinle, then tsaile, where we got off at dine college. we started walking towards my friend’s house to get some more stuff like water, tent, sleeping bags, and some munchies.

we got back on the road with the bags and they were kind of heavy. we walked for three hours and the sun was going down hoping we could make it before dark. finally we got picked up when the sun was almost down. they drove us all the way to crystal and it was kind of cold in the back of the truck. when we got to crystal, new mexico and we stood on the road towards sheepsprings. we waited for awhile then finally some lady picked us up and took us to sheepsprings. when we got there she told her husband, to take us to the burnham junction and he did. we headed towards the road to the burnham chapter, then our ride pulled over. we asked where he was going and he told us he was headed to shiprock. he knew we were headed to the camp. after awhile we got into an argument of what we think about the power plant being built. he was for the plant but we opposed it. he stopped the ride and we got chased off. we were getting our bags in the back but he took off with our stuff still in the back.

we walked for along time to try and find the camp. we didn’t have any food or water. we walked for five hours or more looking for the camp. the security that patrols the area stopped beside us and told us where the camp was. he took us to the camp and we were so hungry and cold and dehydrated for walking along time. at the camp we told them what happen to us; they called the cops. we told the cop what happen and we really didn’t see who the person was and didn’t find out the license plate. they can’t really do anything about it so we just went to sleep. the next day we had fun.


when we were on the longest walk we did a 24 hour walk...we did it twice – the first one we did we covered 56 miles and i don’t know how many miles we did on the second....the second 24-hour walk was hard and challenging for all of us but one of us made it all the way with one of the supporters.

this walk was for the people in this world. Dennis Banks dropped us off at the starting point and talked to us for awhile then prayed for us. we started walking at midnight, some of us were tired and sleepy but we kept going for two hours then we rested for awhile. we ate some snacks, when we were finished we started walking again for another hour and a half. that’s when Verna started to feel pain in her leg, but we still kept going until we reached a store in a small town.

Verna and Andre were told to go to the hospital to get it checked; her leg had swollen up. Chino and I got on the bus even though we still wanted to walk. we sat on the bus thinking we should keep walking, but people wanted us to end it cause our legs were hurting. when the walkers rested and started walking we joined them again, we walked for 10 miles then we took a break and ate lunch.

once we were finished me and Ben started walking, Chino’s leg hurt so she caught a ride with Henry. Ben and I walked and walked for two hours, we walked into Louisiana. we were surrounded by green trees, swamps and bugs were all around. we rested for awhile then PJ joined us then we started walking again. we walked for a long time, then it got dark but we still walked until a support vehicle came and gave us some food to eat.

we started walking again until a cop pulled up and asked us what we were doing. the cop called for backup so another cop pulled up and asked us the same thing but she was mean. another cop pulled up and asked the same thing again we told him what we are doing and why. they checked our background but we were clean so they let us go.

we continued our journey again. we walked for another couple of hours then Henry showed up and picked us up then took us back to the camp. I was so tired and my leg was hurting cause of my bad knee, but I made it the whole 24-hours. this second walk we did was hard and challenging and a struggle but it felt good even though I was hurting. Ben and I made it all the way which was pretty cool and PJ and Ben sang some songs which made the walk more exciting. me, Chino, Verna, Andre – we’re known as the “midnight walkers.”

the walk was fine then things started to go crazy like people getting kicked out of the walk for drugs. when we walked to taos i met more people and they offered some of us to stay at their place rather then staying at the skater rink. we stayed for one night then went back to the rink. that night was cold and i couldn’t sleep.

when it was time to leave we walked in the snow again. we walked for like 15 miles then got on the bus. the runners finished the rest of the miles. every day we walked and walked and sometimes we rested for a day or two. the food we ate was all leftovers, we didn’t eat food that was freshly made. some people got sick off of it.

soon it seemed the whole walk wasn’t really for the environment – it was just for some guy who was trying to make money off of us that’s all. we got into so much conflict when we were getting closer to washington D.C. people were arguing amongst each other. most of the time i enjoyed some scenery with someone i met on the walk. when we were somewhere in north carolina some girl got run over by a car on her foot. that’s was drama and we separated.

we still walked to DC. on the blueridge parkway. some people supported us and helped us out. we went to those places that the longest walk II was suppose to go. we were threaten by the longest walk organizer. we still made it to D.C. when we got there we were headed to the teepees but the security from the walk was pushing us around and threatening us. we never got a chance to get into those teepees. the goons of the longest walk told the cops that i had a gun and they started to search me. i almost started to resist.
when we left those guys followed us and threw signs at us. we ran some stop lights just to get rid of of them. when we got to our destination we set up and went to sleep. the next day we did some ceremonies and during the evening we left and went back home.

This story by Urvin Yazzie, 20, was featured in SNAG Issue #6. He is from the Navajo Nation.

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