Monday, July 16, 2018

Lucy A. Willie 
 Lucy A. Willie was Navajo, and an elder in her community on the Navajo Nation in Burnham, NM.  I first met Lucy in November of 2004.  Stories of health problems, social justice issues regarding mining rights, desecration of ceremonial and burial sites, with the losses of grazing permits and homes had drawn my attention to the area.  For 12 years I documented birth, death, joy, and sorrow in the Willie family.  I viewed, experienced, and photographed a way of life, which is quickly vanishing in America.

Lucy took me into her family.  Taught me the Navajo way.  Called me her younger brother.  Made me the uncle of her daughter and granddaughter.  Showed me how to herd her sheep with the dogs.  We cooked fry bread.  Laughed and cried as one.  Traveled untold miles together over the reservation working to bring social and environmental issues to light.  Lucy never stopped believing in the truth.  She stood tall and strong for her family, community, and country.
Lucy completed her journey on Mother Earth on Saturday July 14, 2018 at 7:20 am.  She co-founded Dooda Desert Rock.  Her peaceful spirit and strong resistance to wrong brought positive changes for all future generations.

Thank you sister.  It was an honor far beyond words to know you, work with you, and be called your younger brother.  May your journey ahead be filled with peace and joy.  I will always remember your gentle smile and the lessons you taught me. 

be strong, be safe, Talon

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Beginning of the End?
President Donald Trump declared war on Harley-Davidson on Tuesday, saying it's decision to shift limited production overseas would be the “beginning of the end” for the iconic motorcycle company.  He also predicted he would suffer little fallout for his aggressive tweets. "The people who ride Harley-Davidsons are not happy with Harley-Davidson,” Trump told reporters.  "Their employees and customers are already very angry at them,” Trump said in an early morning tweet....REALLY?  Maybe he needs to go for a ride on a Harley and actually listen to people.  After spending the last two weeks traveling across this beautiful country, meeting and talking with bikers, HD employees, and by the way riding an  incredible machine, it is impossible for me to understand where this crazy, illogical, thoughtless rhetoric comes from.

It saddens my heart when an iconic American company is threatened and attacked in such a reckless manner.

be strong, be safe, Talon

Friday, June 22, 2018

HWY 83 - Day 11 - Magic City
Good sleep in Westhope in the bank building last night.  It was FDIC insured and secure.   Breakfast at a four table cafe.  Invited to join a table with the local folks and share stories.  Before I knew it we were all laughing and chatting like long lost friends.  Could only happen in a small farm community.  Rode back south to Minot to drop off the LowRider at Magic City HD.  Good folks.  Had a hard time putting the kickstand down for the final time.

Shared a beer with a friend, Arlen, from North Dakota tonight.  Special way to end the ride.

Couldn't help but think about some Bison advise I had read at Standing Rock Reservation.  Lessons of the road.
 Cherish wide open spaces
Stand your ground 
Have a tough hide
Keep moving on
Have a strong spirit
Let the chips fall where the may
Roam wild and free

Wingin' my way back to Santa Fe in the morning.  Via the friendly skies.  Be missing the road with the wind on my knees and the sun on my back.
 
Roam wild and free, Talon

Thursday, June 21, 2018

HWY83 - Day 10 - Knife River Indian Villages, End of the Road, Sleeping in a Bank
For centuries the Upper Missouri River Valley was a lifeline winding through the landscape.  It's wooded banks and rich soil became the home of the Earthlodge people.  They hunted bison and other game but were essentially farmers living in villages along the Missouri and its tributaries.
Alisha is Chief of Interpretation and Cultural Resources at the Knife River Indian Villages.  She is a direct descendant of the Mandan and Hidatsa Earthlodge people.  "The Knife Villages had been established for over 500 years at the time of contact with Europeans.  The Hidatsa arrived in the area around 1300.  Archeological evidence shows that the Knife River area has been occupied for more than 11,000 years.  In 1837 a smallpox epidemic transmitted by the Europeans reduced the populations by 90 percent.  In 1885 the US Government forced the remaining tribes to move to the Fort Berthold Reservation."
Hand painted buffalo robes depicted and celebrated important events.  They were placed within a sacred area of the Earthlodge.  Cooking fires were in the middle.  Buffalo hides were wrapped around the upright beams to give thanks and respect for all the bison provided for the people.
Walking through the villages and along the Missouri River this morning I was filled with a sense of peace and tranquility.  Agriculture with gardens of corn, squash, beans, and sunflowers were the main crops.  The women of the Mandan and Hidatsa nurtured their gardens as they did their children.  It was here in this village Lewis and Clark met Sakakawea who traveled with them to the Pacific Ocean.
A short 85 miles further north brought me to the end of HWY 83 at the border of the United States and Canada.  At one time the road gently curved into another country. Today it is all about passports, immigration, forms, and government regulations.  2211 miles from the Gulf of Texas to the border of Canada in North Dakota.  Across vast grass plains, sand hills, headwaters of mighty rivers.  Through disappearing Americana and history that formed this country.  Folks I met in small towns and big cities, chatted with, heard stories, and drank coffee with.  All part of the Last American Highway, a journey through time.
Lookin' for a room for the night.  Pulled up to the Gateway Motel in Westhope, ND just 6 miles from the border.  It was a bank at one time.  Now the city hall, library and a motel with 16 non-smoking rooms.  Entered the building.  Sign with a phone. "Call this number if you need a room".  Called the number.  Jim answered.  Told him what I needed.  He took my information, gave me the combination to a key box where I found my room key. "Don't forget to leave your key on the dresser in the morning.  If you don't we are goin' be charging you for each day the key is missing."  Got my attention.  Key is laying on the dresser.  BTW 15 additional rooms still available tonight.

Tomorrow ride back south to Minot.  

Kickstand down Weshope, ND 210 miles

be strong, be safe, Talon