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Dzil ta’ah Adventures Navajo Youth Bike-Packrafting Adventure Series: Nazlini, AZ

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Dzil ta’ah Adventures Navajo Youth Bike-Packrafting Adventure Series: Nazlini, AZ

This is the first installment of what we hope to be a series chronicling our efforts to develop sustainable tourism on the Navajo nation through the establishment of meaningful bikepacking routes and accessible singletrack. In addition, we hope to build a bikepacking community starting with the youth and eventually extending to interested community members.  Our first foray in this ongoing project will be a Fall bikepacking series with local Navajo youth NICA riders. This series consists of three trips; the first two being on Navajoland and the last with Four Corners Guides, out of Mancos, CO, to include packrafts.

The first in this series begins in Kayenta on Sept 26th and ends Oct 31st in Lake Powell, Utah.  The planning started back in July and continues every chance I can meet up with the participants.

Here is the first of a journal I hope to keep, documenting this event.

Renee Hutchens on the Land for RockShox

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Renee Hutchens on the Land for RockShox

Photo by Eric Arce

There’s been a lot of discussions on what “land” means here on this website and today our friend Renee Hutchens shared her thoughts at the RockShox website. The article is a great read and I encourage everyone to give it a read.

“Kinship, or K’é reflects a deep relationship with each other spanning generations upon generations. This is the seed of our resilience. The fact that I am here today speaks to this — it means my family, like every Indigenous family, did whatever they could to survive hundreds of years of violence, forced removal, forced assimilation, genocide, destruction of our cultures, identities, our land, and natural resources. Despite all of this they ensured my existence today. But the violence of colonial thinking never ended. We live in a country that continues to render us invisible. Indigenous erasure is our modern form of racism that continues to inflict trauma on top of historical trauma. Therefore, I’m drawn to go to a place where I am seen and heard, where I can heal, re(connect) with my identity, culture, and traditions.

This place is on the land.”

Read this exceptional piece at RockShox

Swift Industries Acknowledges Cultural Appropriation

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Swift Industries Acknowledges Cultural Appropriation

Much of the land in the US is named after its Indigenous owners, resulting in lakes, mountains, rivers, and even cities holding First Nations names. When Swift Industries began to develop their line, this is something they didn’t consider, so in a step towards being better, they decided to re-name some of the products in their lineup:

“Today, we are changing the names of our Elwha Pack and the Ozette Randonneur Bags from Indigenous names to those of birds of the Cascade region that are intrinsic to the ecology, histories, and cultures of the Pacific Northwest. The Elwha Pack is being renamed the Ardea Pack, in ode to the Great Blue Heron, the Ozette Randonneur Bag will be called the Peregrine Randonneur Bag for the Peregrine Falcon, and the Ozette V2 Randonneur Bag is changing to the Merlin Randonneur Bag. “

If this interests you, head to the Swift Industries blog to read more. Good on y’all for doing this.

Undivided: Diné Bikéyah – Held by Our Land, Held by Our Ancestors

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Undivided: Diné Bikéyah – Held by Our Land, Held by Our Ancestors

The essay below was written for Bikepacking Roots’ Bears Ears Loops Landscape and Route Guidebook to provide bikepackers with one perspective about how the landscape in its entirety is sacred to Indigenous groups. The designation of Bears Ears National Monument marked the first time in history that a National Monument was created in response to the voices and advocacy of the Indigenous groups who call the landscape home. Leaders from the Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Pueblo of Zuni, and Ute Indian Tribe formed the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition in 2015 to represent a consortium of tribes unified in protecting and promoting the cultural, archeological, scientific, historical and natural resources of the Bears Ears region. Just 11 months later, the Trump administration reduced the Monument’s size by ~85%. And in a direct affront to the request of the Intertribal Coalition, the southern unit of the reduced Monument was named the Shásh Jaa’ Unit (using the Diné name for Bears Ears). The Coalition had insisted upon the use of the English “Bears Ears” name for the Monument rather than in any one tribe’s language in solidarity and unity.⁠

Zhaawani-noodin: There is a South Wind – a Response to the Name “Dirty Kanza”

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Zhaawani-noodin: There is a South Wind – a Response to the Name “Dirty Kanza”

I can tell you one thing; whenever someone tells me what I should do, I almost always do the opposite. I have been that way for as long as I can remember. In some psychology class years back, I learned about the theory of psychological reactance. It all boils down to an idea that people believe that they possess freedoms and the ability to participate in those free-behaviors. When those behaviors are threatened, something within us is sparked and we react. I find myself pretty apprehensive when it comes to telling anyone what they should be doing. For that matter, I mostly, don’t care what anyone else is doing. A person’s true character comes out regardless. You are what you do.

Bikepacking Navajoland with Dzil Ta’ah Adventures

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Bikepacking Navajoland with Dzil Ta’ah Adventures

“See that rock formation over there, and the other skinnier one in the distance?” Jon Yazzie says, “they represent the story and fate of Big Snake and Owl Maiden.  Big Snake came from what is called Sugar Loaf near Mexican Hat, Utah slithering its way down, and eventually ending up coiled around Agathla Peak or (what Kit Carson called) “El Capitan.” The Owl promised to look over Big Snake until he came back to life again.  Owl is frozen in sandstone looking right at big snake on Agathla Peak.” Having passed through Kayenta countless times, driving from the southwest US to Moab, or further into Colorado, these prominent volcanic plugs and sandstone towers rising iconically out of a sea of sandy fields and sandstone mesas have always caught my eye. As we rested there just a few miles into the ride, legs slung overloaded bikes attempting to absorb everything Jon was telling us about the surrounding landscape, I knew this was going to be a special weekend.

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Where the Water Ends: a Video Profile on Alexandera Houchin

The University of Minnesota – Duluth has pulled together an exceptional profile video on Alexandera Houchin, the SS TDR record holder. Check it out!

“After living thousands of miles away and spending time zig-zagging down the Continental Divide on bike, Alexandera Houchin’s homecoming is extra meaningful. Growing up, she never saw a Native American dentist or doctor, and decided to counter that with plans to practice dentistry on her reservation. Through her example, Alexandera envisions empowering the next generation to take care of its citizens. “If you can’t see it, how can you believe it?””