Meet Mikki Metteba. She grew up in Navajo Nation in an area called Deer Springs, but we met her at Yale University. Mikki is a first year student at Yale studying political science as well as women, gender & sexuality studies.
Mikki is heavily involved in the divestment movement at Yale, and through our conversation on extraction we talked about the patterns of colonialism and the many shapes it takes today. Mikki is the first voice you hear in this episode.
This is Sayrah Namaste, she is the director of the American Friends Service Committee New Mexico program.
This sign marks the entrance to North Leupp Family Farms, a collective farm run by Stacey Jensen. Stacey started this project as a way to connect with the land and his community while also addressing health issues in Navajo Nation.
Lack of rain and high winds make growing food and raising animals in Leupp, AZ particularly challenging. Stacey Jensen spoke of a time when the landscape was lush and full of diverse life, but overgrazing and rising average temperatures have made this land increasingly difficult to inhabit.
Stacey Jensen, owner of North Leupp Family Farms, sits in his greenhouse surrounded by the fruits of his labor (garlic, lettuce, and other greens).
This panorama shows the entrance to North Leupp Family Farms. The high fence keeps elk from eating up the plants on the farm. In the distance on the right you can see Humphrey’s Peak, at the base of which is the city of Flagstaff.
The STAR school is a charter elementary school located near Leupp, AZ. Students here are taught sustainable agriculture, indigenous history, and the Dine language among other things. The acronym STAR stands for Service To All Relations.
Starter plants fill the greenhouses. Old aluminum cans, egg cartons, and plastic cups house the sprouts until they can be transplanted.
Kale plants grow in rock beds submerged in water. This is part of a hydroponics system that the school is experimenting with.
Strawberry plants grow in an experimental hydroponics system built at the STAR school.
One of the greenhouses at the STAR school.
This is Mark Sorensen, director and co-founder of the STAR school.
Jalapeno pepper plants line the wall of one greenhouse. Students get to plant the seeds and watch them mature over the school year, eventually harvesting the peppers to eat.
Through the greenhouse window the arid landscape creates a stark contrast to the lush green of the plants inside.
Polly Peshlakai-Atkinson grew up in what is now Wupatki National Monument. Her family was forced off of their land when the monument was created and relocated to an area heavily contaminated with uranium. Polly and her family have suffered from a variety of health problems throughout her life. It is clear that these issues are linked to uranium exposure, yet they have never been compensated.
Podcast hosts Harrison Horst and Michaela Mast stand with Chief Robert Yazzie. Chief Yazzie is a renowned author of several books on Navajo Peacemaking and traditional forms of law. He was a lawyer for many years before serving as a chief justice–now he teaches at a University in Gallup, NM.
This is Robb Redsteer, our wonderful guide while we were traveling around Navajo Nation. Robb helped set up many of our interviews and orient us to the places we were visiting. He also spoke with us about some of the ways Navajo people are discriminated against in the healthcare system.