ASAZ: Where do you stay and with whom?
Learning; because it teaches me skills like how to chop wood, how to have my own animals, and how to haul water. Everything I do while out there is a learning experience for me. I want to learn how to survive post-industrial collapse because fossil fuel dependency in our culture is unsustainable and fossil fuels will either run out or the Earth will collapse because of all of the pollution. I want to start learning these ways as soon as possible before it’s too late!
The person who would “stay home” would do all the chores. I’d either get wood by chopping down trees/limbs or go with the truck and chainsaw, then split or chop the wood, and fill the box in our hogan. I also filled up the five gallon water bucket by siphoning with a hose out of a 55 gallon barrel. In the winter we were melting snow for dish water so I’d scoop up some snow in a pot and put it on the stove to melt and then start some food for later. I would shovel snow, repair the hogan with mud, shovel snow out of the sheep corral or fix the sheep corral. Then I’d go to grandma’s which is a few minute walk up the hill and I’d do all these same chores for her. Chop her wood, organize her wood pile, start a fire, bring wood inside, fill up the water, maybe cook for her, although she’s pretty picky about how she likes to cook. I would give her massages sometimes and keep her company by listening although that was harder for me because I don’t know Dineh bi'zaad'.
SheepHerder: I do feel like I’m helping. Many resistors are elders in their 80s or 90s whose families are in the cities far away and can’t come visit that often therefore they have all the responsibilities that a whole family would usually take care of. Some elders will get sick in the winter or slip on ice and have to go to the hospital so it’s very helpful to have young, able bodied people to move things and help them walk or shovel snow. Grandma can do all these things but it’s probably not good for her because she’s getting weak. Being an on land supporter and living with a family has a very direct effect in terms of keeping them company and by assisting with all the daily chores that are very strenuous and overwhelming. She shows appreciation by saying thank you to me in Dineh bi'zaad', "Aahxe'he'!" I knew she was very grateful, she didn’t have to speak it although it was mostly communicated with body language and eye contact.
We also made fun of commercials and the songs we heard over and over again because many of the radio stations are so tight on funds that they play the same soundtrack every week. We listened to Prairie Home Companion on Saturdays which gave us a lot of good laughs. We also made a lot of jokes about things that we thought we were really funny, like sweat pants. We’d give each other massages or soak our feet sometimes. We’d read, write, or play cards but usually at this time of night I was too tired to do these things. We had a kerosene lamp, imagine trying to read by one when you are already really tired, you’re going to fall asleep! And we’d play Uno by the lamp but we couldn’t tell which color was which in the dim light!