"Climate Change Transforming Navajo'S Dunescape To Dust Bowl"

"WINSLOW, Ariz. -- Instead of spending his time in ceremony one warm night last July, Navajo rancher Robert Diller spent it in his tractor, digging other attendees and their cars out of the sand. He lost count after 10.

The travelers were heading to the ceremonial grounds at Navajo medicine man Ross Nez' ranch for three days of traditional ceremony to heal their lands of what the Navajo call Sei Nahogishii, 'the tumbling sands.' These menacing clouds of sand or dust carried by strong winds often appear as solid walls moving across the land. ...

In the 1930s such dust storms, fueled by poor farming practices, laid waste to farming and grazing lands. Woody Guthrie called it the "Dust Bowl Blues." With climate change the Sei Nahogishii are again becoming common in northeastern Arizona's Navajo country, with similar results."

Terri Hansen reports for Indian Country Today November 27, 2009.

Thursday, December 3, 2009