Growing up amongst the grand and green Douglas Fir tree forests of the Oregon Coast, it’s never been easy to travel amongst the desert life. But each of the last several autumns, I find myself seeking the rich blue open sky, pastel palates, vast and remote spaces, cliffs, canyons, valleys and mountainous areas of the Southwest. It was in Canyon de Chelly, that the beauty of the land, the life of its people, and the troubled, yet sacred heritage came to resonate within me in a profound and special way. There is something in Canyon de Chelly and the teachings of its people, the Dine (Navajo), that we all now need, that the world needs.
You can hear it in their words- the integrity, the mindful purposeful approach to all matters, the respect for the natural surroundings and its living creatures, the acknowledgement of their elders and the holy people.
You feel it in their actions- full of vision, a community sense of what is good for the whole and not just for them, a commitment and attention to the spiritual integrity of their work and activities.
You see it in their way of life- the beauty of simplicity, the pace of nature, the peacefulness of their movement, their spiritual and culture practices and beliefs, despite the destructive economic, social, medical and political forces upon their nation.
The stories and experiences offered by my time spent hiking, listening, watching and feeling, with Jon and Lupita McClanahan, in Canyon de Chelly, have changed my life. I wish for all my friends, family, students, acquaintances and professional colleagues to be able to have those same experiences by coming with Jon and Lupita to Canyon de Chelly. Perhaps this way, the teachings of the Canyon and it’s people can offer to the world, their healing influence.
Tori Hudson, N.D.
Professor, National College of Naturopathic Medicine and Bastyr University
Medical Director, A Woman’s Time
I couldn’t keep myself away- a visit with Jon and lupita and the Canyon in winter. I wanted to see the changes, the cold, the ice and snow. I wanted to know more about their life- friends, family, ceremonies, spirituality, home, food and more. It was a beginning in getting to know more about their life and their culture- tortillas, fry bread, elk stew, Chuska mountain water, Hogan living in winter, running with the young girl in her puberty ceremony, seeing the making of the ceremonial bonfire baked cake, a small slice of the winter healing ceremonies, family life on the reservation, tending horses, laughter, stories and conversations. I felt honored to be allowed to witness part of the puberty ceremony and the winter Ye'ibichrii ceremony. I hold those moments and experiences in my heart, and the generosity of Jon and Lupita in sharing several days of their winter life.