Opinion

Andi Murphy: Ensuring food sovereignty on the Navajo Nation





Andi Murphy says the Navajo Nation lacks food sovereignty:
On the dry, arid desert that is the Navajo reservation, it's hard to grow all the things you envision for your backyard β€” or all the things you see on TV and "Better Homes and Gardens" that's accidentally sent to us. Grass doesn't grow anywhere in Crownpoint, N.M., where I'm from. Every neighborhood is brown and in some places shrubs grow and trees grow. Other than that, there's nothing in the way of landscape and eye-pleasing yards.

Historically, Navajos were not farmers. They moved from place to place in search of herd animals to hunt and seasonal vegetables to harvest. Somewhere along the way β€” and by learning from the pueblos β€” they learned to farm and grow their own corn, squash, beans and melons.

These plants and vegetables and fruit became a very important aspect of Navajo culture and their way of life. Corn and corn pollen is essential to the religion; it's the Genesis, and the knowledge of farming is sacred. There are prayers and dances for the seeds, the plants, the rain and the earth.

Somewhere along the way that was lost.

Get the Story:
Andi Murphy: Green dreams (The Las Cruces Sun-News 5/29)