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  • Writer's pictureTribes Team

Ancient Traditional Farming Preservation as a Hedge Against Climate Change

Standing with a shy smile overlooking her family’s layout of fields on a hot summer day, Rosemary Williams recites her family farming story to esteemed intertribal elders. She tells of how her grandpa used to wake up her and her siblings very early, insisting they follow the teachings of her tribe to run early amongst the morning gods called Haasch’eelti’i.  She tells of how hard the disciplined work was to lay out every field correctly to capture every drop of water and withstand the windy sand storms, to ensure the banking of the strongest seeds, and consistent application of natural pesticides to keep out pests.  She shares the teachings of how one prays using the field’s bounty of sacred corn pollen, yellow and white corns.  She talks about the prayers and songs that the soul of the seeds long to hear for their growth.  She tells of her youthful struggles to follow this path and wanderings to the allure of leisurely city life. 

Rosemary’s story and methods still result in the most incredible harvest that is usually sought after at the local farmers market.  She is also one of the few that has changed course of an alarming trend of youth being acculturated into easier western life.  She has instilled the same passion and work ethic into her grandson Richard who is handsomely strong and poised, and quietly follows her path.  

The master farmers of both the Dine, Hopi, Zuni are concerned about climate change.  Yet, it is their methods, understanding of all forms of water, wind, soils, plants, insects, ancient songs and prayers, that offer the area tribes and humanity, the best chance for survival. 

In the past, through my non profit leadership, I have supported farmers like Rose with manpower, resources, and partnership.  We supported an actual farmers market in the area for years.  The intent then and now is to support tribal farmers to strengthen their farms and share their methods as a hedge against the forecasted impacts of climate change.  In my new assignment, its an honor to continue to support these ancient farmers.  We recently incorportated Bikooh farmers coop and are supporting their efforts to create economic resilience.  We look forward to a coop grocery store and a meat processing center.


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Don Decker
Don Decker
09. Mai

I have spent over 15 years total living on or near the Dine' people since 1983 starting in Dilcon and then on to Tolani and Leupp area employed as a school counselor in all grade levels. During this time I have seen community people doing all they can to sustain themselves working tirelessly supporting themselves and their families. There are still many dreamers today in all of Indian country who will always see a better tomorrow for their own people by taking matters into their own hands by taking the lead in developing ideas and actual plans that bring a better quality of life for their communities. Whether it's fulfilling an economic plan to bringing about a shopping center o…

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