Being on the reservation of the Navajo Nation when I was a little boy, playing on the res, it was wonderful. Everything was fresh, you know, it was real. The temperatures were right. You know the thunder, the rain. The warmth of the Sun, the smell of the dirt. To be in an environment where you are free to play and enjoy yourself. You know, of course, as you get older, you don’t realize that people were living in poverty. If that’s your reality. if that’s what you’re brought in, you don’t question it, you know. You find happiness everywhere. But when I got older and realized that our voices can make a difference, you know whether you’re on the reservation or whether you’re from a small town or state, you can literally write a letter or call and talk directly to the office or Congressperson themselves. So in that sense, you know, I’m taking care of my own little corner of the Earth when it comes down to my children or my family. Jewelry-making has been a part of my family now, with me and with my son Bronson, six generations. It is a proud legacy that we carry on. We first mine tufa, which is volcanic ash and we carve into it. We melt the silver down and then we pour it into our molds. We’ll cut and clean the silver Not many people do that today because it’s really hard work. Turquoise is truly rare. Every turquoise that’s out there is unique to itself and because of that it makes the jewelry absolutely unique. Nature comes into our work because everything is from the Earth. In our way, we respect our mothers. We take on our mother’s clan. We are matrilineal society. And you know, our mother is the Earth. If you have love for family, for children, for your mother, your father, your brother, your sister, for yourself, that love connects us all. We want them to be able to eat clean. We want them to have good water. We want them to to be healthy and want them to be safe. You know when people talk about the left or the right, what they don’t realize is that there are two wings of the same Mighty Eagle. I understand what the left wants. I understand what the right wants. Or, the mentality of them both. If we learn to be able to just listen we can make positive things happen. As an Indigenous man. It helps me to be able to understand I am from the Earth. I am surrounded by my relatives. Whether it be the trees or the bush or the rocks, the elements itself, you know, we’re connected to these things. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here. I’m very optimistic. I believe that somewhere, somehow we’re gonna get it right. Being a part of CCL and to know that there are people out there that really know how to make a difference in this world for the better. Those that are willing to be able to bring the truth out. It’s for our future. It’s really about 15, 20, 30 years from now and if there’s one way to be able to do that, it’s to be an advocate. I think it’s good for us to feel that sense of pride that we are doing our part to be able to make living better for us all.
I would love that for everyone.