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Arizona Illustrated Episode 608

Arizona Illustrated Episode 608


(upbeat music) – [Tom] This week on Arizona Illustrated Indigenous People’s Day. – What are we leaving behind
of our kids, our grandkids? Is it good and did I have
a part to play in it? – [Tom] Change Makers. – People think that business
is a White man in a suit coming to your community
that wants something and that has found
something on the reservation that they need and want access to. So we wanted to change that. – [Tom] And native harvest. – I should be sweet, not bitter, and it should not dry
your mouth or throat, it should not have any slight burning, and it should not be chalky. If it’s burning, chalky, drying or bitter don’t use it, it’s nasty. (upbeat music) – Welcome to Arizona
Illustrated, I’m Tom McNamara. The Tucson community recently gathered to raise awareness and celebrate
Indigenous Peoples Day. Participants shared their
culture and traditions honoring the land, the
people, and their way of life. (upbeat music) – We’re here today to come
in resistance and respect for Indigenous People’s Day
2019, and no Columbus Day. We’re still here and
we’re not going anywhere. I wanna introduce to you our first singer, her name is Mary Garcia, she’s part of the Tohono O’odham Nation. What we’re doing is sharing our cultures through music, through dance. (singing) Pretty much preserving our way of life because it’s needed at
this point right now. (singing) – [Mary] Thank you very
much, this is what we do. – Indigenous peoples, our
strength is that we’re connected. As Indigenous peoples we have
a lot of wisdom teachings that are very good instructions about how to be human beings, and so I think that, in
addition to becoming informed, people are reminded of how to
live better as human beings and how to live in a way
that’s respectful also to the original peoples
of these territories. (drumming and singing) – We’re coming from the
White Mountain Apache Tribe and we’re gonna demonstrate some dances, the Apache dances, here for you guys. (bells jingling) We call ourselves the
Cibecue Creek Dance Group. – Most importantly is
pretty much recognizing our indigenous lands,
preserving that first, and just recognizing our
rights for the people that were here first,
which is Turtle Island. (drumming and singing) – The Indigenous Alliance Without Borders or the (in foreign
language) was formed in 1997 to address the issues of
Indigenous peoples on the border with its very specific needs. We do all kinds of organizing,
Know Your Rights campaigns, we initiated the movement to
have Indigenous Peoples Day recognized by various
governmental bodies here. – The Great Mother is cleansing herself. Do you feel it? Do you see it? Do you taste it, smell it, and hear it? – We’re actually in Tucson, Arizona, the O’odham version of Tucson, Arizona is (in foreign language),
the base of Black Mountain, recognizing that we’re still here. – Thank you all, thank you for that. (audience cheering and applauding) – We saw the height of the
discrimination as young people. Now it’s being more accepted, there’s a lot more participation, there’s a lot more awareness. Individuals now want to
know who we are as people. As Indigenous people we were taught not to take more than we need. (in foreign language), creator,
formed this unique system to work in harmony. We, as Indigenous people,
we’re supposed to be able to see that, celebrate
it, work in harmony, and not harm in order to live. We have always, always been taught that. (upbeat music) What are we leaving behind
for our kids, our grandkids? Is it good, and did I
have a part to play in it? (drumming and singing) – The dance that myself and
my family are practitioners of is called (in foreign
language) in our language. Easiest way to translate that
would probably be Aztec Dance. (drumming) Lineages come from different origins, different migration patters. Ours is specific to Tucson. (drumming) There’s still a lot of
injustices that are occurring. There’s a lot of things that are involved on a social/political
level with these borders, but it’s very inhumane. Yeah, we’re human beings, but
there’s a lot of inhumanity as a result of a lot of the
policies that are in place today that directly impact Indigenous peoples, especially on this U.S./Mexico border. You have relatives that are having to do ceremonies on both sides, and don’t have right to mobility when they’ve been doing
that for thousands of years. – Here we go, (in foreign
language), take it away. (drumming and singing) For folks that do hold power
and positions of authority, for them to listen, simply
listen to the voices of Indigenous peoples. (audience cheering and applauding) – [Man With Headdress]
Whoo, one more time, make some noise for that. (audience cheering and applauding) That’s thousands and thousands
of years right there. Those of you that felt
that, you take that home, and you wake up with it tomorrow, do something good with
it, put into your life, put it into your purpose. (drumming and singing) – I have hope, I have hope for humanity, and I have hope that we could start to being to move in those directions. I think that events like this instill hope and I feel that if it
continues to come from us, if we continue to believe, and strive, and self-determination, I
think we could arrive there. (drumming and singing) It’s by Indigenous peoples,
for Indigenous peoples, but it’s not limited
to Indigenous peoples. We want all human beings to show up in the best way as possible so we’re in solidarity with our humanity. (audience cheering and applauding) – [Man On Microphone]
Everybody give yourselves a round of applause for
coming out and joining us. (drumming) – The last train car of coal entered the Navajo Generating Station
near Page, Arizona in August and all operations are currently scheduled to end in November. Now while this will mean
cleaner air and less pollution, it also means that many
are losing their jobs and the impact will ripple through the Navajo and Hopi economies. The business incubator, Change
Labs, hopes to fill the gap by creating new opportunities
for Native entrepreneurs. (light music) – [Baya] This entire region
is my ancestral homelands. I live with the land, I live from it, I have great respect for it. (light music) – Laws on the reservation
were not made for us to create our own economy, they were made for companies to come and extract resources from our lands. This power plant is shutting down. It’s no secret that the
salary levels for those jobs are much higher than anywhere
else on the Navajo Nation. And then there’s also revenue
to the tribal coffers. They’re loosing quite a bit of revenue through royalties that
go to tribal services. So it’s gonna a rough
time for a lot of folks, but it’s a time of change. (typing) I come from a family of silver smiths so I grew up with people working every day but not actually going to work. Making jewelry and then
going on selling trips. We’d often go to Sedona,
or Phoenix, or Santa Fe. I was always told when I went to college that I would be going for business, so I did, that’s what I studied at ASU. When I was in college,
then it was really about how to work for corporations, how to climb that corporate ladder, but I always knew that I wanted
to start my own business. People think that business
is a White man in a suit coming to your community
that wants something and that has found
something on the reservation that they need and want access to. That’s the perception of what business is, so we wanted to change that view of what a Navajo entrepreneur was. (laughing) In listening to the entrepreneurs who come to our events year after year, people tell us the same
entrepreneurial challenges over and over again. “I don’t have internet at my house,” or “I couldn’t get an
employment identification number “because my roads aren’t labeled,” or “I don’t know how to convert my home– – We are in Tuba City today, we are announcing the
opening of Change Labs, which is a incubator and co-working space specifically for
supporting entrepreneurship within the community. We threw around the idea
that if we created something that was for the reservation that we might be able to help people. The response from a lot of people was that there really aren’t any
businesses on the reservation. – The ironic think is that if you drive across the reservation our
flee markets are flourishing, there’s all sorts of people set
up on the sides of the roads chopping wood, recycling
batteries, selling fry bread. We have an extremely
hyper-entrepreneurial culture, but it doesn’t necessarily translate into local and sustainable
small businesses set up in our communities. – [Jessica] We started a campaign called I Am the Navajo Economy
and really that was to boost these entrepreneurs as being part of the economy as well. (light music) (chopping) – Boom! I own a small food stand and also a small catering company
called AlterNativEats, and we focus on Japanese-inspired food. (upbeat music) – People think, sushi in Tuba
City, I don’t know about that. He started with just a smaller
menu, but it’s taken off. – I always wanted to learn how to cook, but in my family I guess stereotypically the guy had to become a
welder, or a pipe-fitter. (upbeat music) (chopping) When I went to culinary
school there was so many foods that just really opened
up my mind, and my taste, and my curiosity for different cultures. (upbeat music) I always wanted to come back, always wanted to come back to Tuba City and bring back what I’ve learned. (door creaking) – Shash Dine Echo-Retreat is
a glamping bed and breakfast about 12 miles south of Page. Our guests come from all over the world. This is an emersion into
nature, you’re surrounded by it. You go and take a walk up the hill and you can come across
any manner of creature that lives here in the desert. It’s surprising how
many people crave that. We’ve been in business
for about four years now. One of the main challenges of setting up a business here on the Navajo Nation is just wading through the paperwork that you have to go through, all of these regulations
that you have to meet, as well as introducing the
idea that you wanna run a business here on the reservation. – When leadership thinks
about economic development, they think of large-scale
development projects, they don’t think about
small entrepreneurs. – For those of you who are
currently running a business, where are you running it from? So there’s a few options up here. – They don’t think that
entrepreneurship is a force, when really it’s the force
that’s kept communities alive and able to survive. Our incubator has been around officially for about five years. We have 14 businesses that are
currently in the incubator. How many of you have actually worked in co-working space before? So we do this through
an application process. Once you get into the incubator, we have a series of get-togethers. We bring graphic designers
and branding experts, they do workshops on
how to create a brand. Another event that we do
is financial deep dive where we bring in accountants, and this is the part that’s difficult. We have to do this in a setting where we sort of trap them there and say, “Okay, we have to talk
about your profitability, your margins, your expenses.” Once they actually see
the numbers, and they see, okay I know what I need
to do to reach that, it really helps them to move forward. – They really legitimized us. We had these professionals
who were pushing us, who were excited about our idea, who wanted to see us succeed. Change doesn’t come easily for anybody, and this represents a change. – Here in Tuba City on the reservation, if we were to get rid
of Taco Bell, Bashas’, Sonics, Kentucky Fried Chicken, if we were to get rid of
all of those overnight, whoever made the best hamburger in town is gonna be rich overnight. Whoever makes the best
friend chicken in town, they’re gonna be bankin’ it. Like, why not let a Native– What’s wrong with a Native getting rich? What’s wrong with a Native
having a little money? What’s wrong with a
Native being successful? – [Jessica] I see the
drive that they have, and a lot of times it has
nothing to do with money. It’s because they wanna
live in their community, they wanna raise their family here. I see that, I see the
sacrifices they make. ♪ Come together ♪ But I also see the potential. Growing up, we as Navajo
people, were taught to believe what was out here for us
wasn’t what was good for us. What was good for us
was off the reservation, outside of what the Navajo Nation was. That’s one of the things that we’re trying to change now as a society. Our culture doesn’t limit us, it actually is what we need to survive, and to do more than
survive, to be successful. – [Announcer] Like what you
see on Arizona Illustrated? Visit our web page at azpm.org
to watch and share stories from this and previous episodes. And like us on Facebook
where you can watch stories, comment, and share your own story ideas. You can also follow us
on Twitter and Instagram where we share photos
and links about the show and what’s happening in our community. – Southern Arizona’s
home to a wide variety of native trees that thrive
in the Sonoran Desert. Many of them bear edible beans. Desert Harvesters is
one local organization that works to educate and inspire people to think more about native foods
and how they might be used. (light music) – When I compare the Sonoran Desert to the Mohave or the Chihuahuan Deserts, which are on either side of us, those feel like deserts to me. Whereas here, it feels very
lush and not like a desert because we have two
rainy seasons, not one, and because of those two rainy seasons we have a much greater
abundance and diversity of native food plants. The reason I’m passing
this around to start– – [Woman] Hi. – Hi, is it’s super
important that we taste before we pick when it’s a mesquite tree. My name is Brad Lancaster,
I’m with Desert Harvesters, we’re a local non-profit that’s
all about planting, growing, harvesting, celebrating
and sharing the bounty of the native, wild food
plants of this area. – Try to compare the taste of that one. You say it’s like chicken, okay. That’s a first. – [Brad] Desert Harvesters has come out to the Santa Cruz River Farmer’s
Market to partner with them and we are going to be having
some guided harvest tours. – The bean trees is really
what we’re focusing on and they are part of the legume family, and so they produce edible beans. This is the seed pod of
Foothills Palo Verde. We’re mostly trying to
highlight the ironwood, the mesquite, and the palo verde. Now mesquite is what most
people are familiar with. There’s three natives, the screw bean, the velvet mesquite,
and the honey mesquite, and in those bean trees
it’s actually the pod that we’re most desiring because it has a sweet, nutty taste and
high nutritional value. They can be ground into a flour. We call the mesquite
kind of the gateway food. – They should taste the pod and it should be sweet, not bitter, and it should not dry
your mouth or throat, it should not have any slight burning, and it should not be chalky. If it’s burning, chalky, drying or bitter, don’t use it, it’s nasty. So go find a better tasting tree ’cause every tree’s different. – I game to the farmer’s market
to do the harvesting class and get some stuff for a
potluck I’m having tonight. I’ve known for a while that a
lot of this stuff is edible, and finding out really
how to identify the trees. I have a tree in my front
yard, I’m not sure what it is, I’m gonna know when I get back with all the info I got today, but if that’s edible I’ll
definitely harvest that. – If you find pods that have
all the great conditions of being super dry, good-tasting, clean, no signs of mold, or insect damage, or not off the ground where they might be in contact with pesticides or herbicides, then you can bring them in to the milling, pay us a nominal fee, and
get a whole supply of flour. (light music) – [Brad] A big part of
what our group’s doing is showing how can we use these traditional wild foods in modern kitchens. So we’ve got a hammer
mill that can grind up mesquite pods into naturally
sweet, edible flour. You can grind five gallons of whole pods into one gallon of flour in five minutes, and the resulting gallon of flour you can sell for 70
bucks, it’s that valuable. – And it’s also, it’s so
yummy, that’s the whole thing. People may not know, but
it’s super delicious. So like I use it for
pies, I use it for breads, I make cookies with it. It’s not bad for your blood
sugar even though it’s sweet. What a better food could that be, right? (light music) – The reason we’ve shifted to the Santa Cruz River Farmer’s Market is we wanna partner with other groups, so we enhance the team,
we enhance the capability. This is already such a
wonderful hub around folks that are already conscious
of food, local food. We wanna bring back
this connection to place and its wild, native food
plants as a daily experience, not a once-a-year celebration, so we’re regularly rooted to this place. – I’m wild about mesquite,
I look everywhere for pods, I’m always searching, it
becomes this addiction. EXO Roast Co.’s been here in this location for three years now. We’re a roaster, we
also like experimenting with things in our environment. We really are into eating locally and playing around with
regional wild foods and combining that with
our coffee recipes. I slow-cook my mesquite,
anywhere from 12 to 14 hours is how long it takes
to slow-cook mesquite. Then what happens is I end
up with basically my syrup, somewhere between a syrup and an extract. And then what I do is
I just basically add it as like a syrup or an
additive to our drinks, and then I add my coffee, and it’s sort of beautiful
too looking, I think. – We’re a small brewery, we’re about the smallest
one in Tucson right now. We opened just over a year and a half ago and we make a different beer every week. Probably 20 of the 64 beers we make use some sourcing of local ingredients, whether they’re from desert products or locally-grown products. Today we’re releasing the Saison de Juhki, and “Juhki” is the Tohono
O’odham word for rain. We incorporated some orange peel, and some creosote flowers,
and some white sage into it so when you pour the beer in the glass it actually smells like the
rain coming across the desert. Years ago some of the
brewers and I worked with all the local indigenous ingredients
that we could get a hold of to try and identity are they truly usable. And we found the mesquite
bean works as a nice, toasty character in a
product like a nutbrown ale, so we’re using this year in our Nutty Lou, which is a nutbrown ale. It’s not about let’s just use
it so we can say we used it, it needs to fit in to make it actually an improvement of the product and make it reflect the — of the area and the flavor of the soil
that’s here in Arizona. (light music) – It’s one of the most
unique places on earth, it’s deceptively rich and abundant with things like mesquite, foods, all sorts of things that you
can really only get here. – And the Sonoran Desert is a
highly, highly unique place, it’s only one place on the planet. If we want it to be preserved, then we have to promote the care and the huge appreciation
of what it provides. – I find this connects me to place, roots me to place, like nothing else and it really makes me
feel home, but only home, but that I’m contributing
to home, enhancing home. (light music) – The 17th annual Mesquite
Milling and Fiesta is being held Saturday, November 16th at Las Milpitas Community Farm. To find more about the event,
go to DesertHarvesters.org. (light music) Thank you for joining us
here on Arizona Illustrated. Here’s a sneak peek at a
story we’re working on. – I’d learned about him in college, and in fact, I still have my original Leopold “Sand County Almanac.” I love a lot of the essays
in “Sand County Almanac.” I think the one that is
probably the deepest for me is “The Land Ethic,” and
in this he talks about humans’ relationship
with the wild environment and how he sees, at least, we’re in the middle of a transformation. We go from feeling that
we control environment, that we own environment,
to the point where we say, no, we are part of the land,
we are part of the environment. – [Narrator] “Behind these
obvious and immediate “hopes and fears there
lies a deeper meaning “known only to the mountain itself. “Only the mountain has lived long enough “to listen objectively
to the howl of a wolf.” – I’m Tom McNamara, see you next week. (light music)

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