The Reluctant Tourist on the Navajo Nation

Photo: Avelardo Valdez                               By Avelardo Valdez I am in Mexican Hat, Utah, a way station along the San Juan River in the northern reaches of the Navajo Nation. We’ve just left the Valley of Gods, where massive and majestic mesas—the largest cluster in the world—rise from the desert floor like ancient temples.   Leaving a dusty road that runs through the Valley of the Gods, we make a wrong turn and endldez up on the steep, gravel-covered switchback route which leads to the 1200-foot summit of Cedar Mesa. Correcting our course, we circle back to Highway 63 and head south. Exhausted from two-hours of hard driving, we pull up to Mexican Hat’s lone 7-Eleven. In dire pursuit of water and snacks, we enter the store in haste.   Although I know the answer, I ask the clerk, a young Navajo man, where I can buy alcohol as he tallies up our purchases. “Liquor is banned on the Navajo reservation. Closest place to buy is 40 miles away,” he replies. Put to every local person en

¡VIVA LA MUJER! How to Grab a Cloud by María Elena Fernández

Celebrate International Women’s Day, my charge.  My fingers rebel, searching for something to celebrate.  Viva la mujer?  Can’t do empty platitudes. Or one-dimensional profiles of the heroines who fascinated me when I was younger, like Josefina Fierro de Bright (pictured left) and Luisa Moreno.  Both played key leadership roles defending the rights of immigrants in the late 1930s and in 1942 spearheaded the Sleepy Lagoon Defense Committee that secured a successful appeal when 11 Latino young men were convicted of murder with no credible evidence. I elevated their elegant portraits gracing book covers to the level of heroines and icons.   But digging deeper, I find out one became infertile after a back alley abortion; the other was estranged from her daughter who she often left in the care of others, and by 1950, their organizations crushed by McCarthyism, they were deported or fled to their native countries.  And I, too, was crushed. Turns out I did need them to be one-dimensional and

On the Day of Reckoning

By William Alexander Yankes On January 6th, 2020, President Donald Trump riled a mob to march down Pennsylvania Avenue and disrupt Congress as it prepared to certify the Electoral College votes that would make his loss to President-Elect Joe Biden final and absolute. The certification, to the former host of The Apprentice , might easily have registered as the deafening sound of his own reality TV catchphrase amplified a thousandfold and boomeranging back toward him with a vengeance, "You're fired!" He incited a riot. He did so deliberately, disregarding and defiling our democratic process, much as a dictator would have done, insisting he had won re-election by a landslide. Like a good bait-and-switch snake-oil huckster, he hawked the stolen election as the country that had been taken from them, their country. As true patriots, he suggested, they would have to be strong to get it back. In the aftermath of their violent and unprecedented insurrection, we learned that