living on the navajo reservation

I grew up most of my life in the city and coming back to my great grandmother’s house was a regular event throughout my entire life. Nearly all of my aunts, uncles, and grandparents have spent most of their lives around that house and it has become the place where parties and holidays are held and it really is so stereotypical and happy there.

Almost 30 feet away was the house that belonged to my paternal grandmother and that’s where I currently live with my son. We’ve lived here for a year now and I really do think that he loves being here, so close to his grandmother’s every day. It’s definitely a big change in environment for me every day but I  really wouldn’t want to change a thing about it.

It is really unfortunate the kind of circumstances that brought us here though, but as always it is because of my boyfriend’s actions and choices involving heroin. For at least 4 months before we moved he was taking money from my account to spend on his habit. This money was what I made at my full-time job, money that I worked hard for while pregnant might I add. This decision to basically steal from me was the reason that we almost didn’t make our rent payment for those months. And why for the last two months that we lived there we didn’t pay our rent at all. If we didn’t move when we did we would’ve eventually been forced to leave by the constable with our 2-month-old infant.

And even after moving and being away from the toxic environment that was our apartment complex sobriety wasn’t a priority to Kannon’s father. Just finding some way to get a buzz even if it wasn’t from opiates. And for other dramatic and just stupid reasons and events, Kannon’s father was no longer welcome on my grandmother’s property.

But that’s all changed and we are happy here on our own.  We live at least 45 minutes from a Wal-Mart and a mall and other main food places but the view every day is fantastic and so worth it. We live right across from this small mountain and it is just gorgeous. My family each year goes on a group hike and we get right up to the edge for picture and just for the thrill of it.  We have our Easter egg hunt at the base of this mountain and my Great Grandfather was even laid to rest nearby. Each winter we also go sledding and tubing down the roads too. There have just been so many memories created by my family on this lands that make it so unbelievably special.

It definitely is a shock not having a heating a cooling system like most civilized areas but it’s nothing some hard work and elbow grease doesn’t fix. It was a struggle to keep the wood stove constantly going and warm with a young baby but you know next winter will be a different story and experience because my son will be much older. Even now we are fortunate enough to have an air conditioner in our bedroom now that it is getting to be warmer each and every day. Even living on the reservation we are very fortunate and privileged to have running water, electricity, and gas in our home readily available to us.

Many of the residents of the reservations including elderly don’t have access to these kinds of basic needs. Many people living in more rural areas than myself have to go and get water and bring it back to their home and conserve this water for possibly a week or more before they can go make the trip to get more. Many of these same homes don’t even have access to electricity. This could be because of the cultural preferences of the elders but that doesn’t make it right. If anything because they are elderly they should be receiving access to electricity more than others. But this is just the cold hard facts of the lifestyle of that is very common on the reservation. Each Native American reservation is considered sovereign land and only receive a predesignated amount of fund from the US government and as much as the Native governments try their best to distribute assistance to those who need it the fact is that we as Native Americans are struggling each and every day.

 

waste free day to day DIY products

The more I look into the effect that each person has on the earth the more I notice commonalities in the habits that we are all making. If you are a person with at least halfway decent personal hygiene then you would at least have soap and toothpaste. And for those that pride themselves on their hygiene rituals then you have much more in your arsenal. But after plenty of research, I’ve learned that many of these day to day products could be made at home in bulk or in small batches as needed.

Like toothpaste, you can spend between 4-8 dollars per tube and they last well enough but there is a way to pay less than a dollar for just about the same amount of product, comparatively. All you need is BAKING SODA! Of course, you can add flavoring through essential oils like peppermint.

Baking soda is really just like the holy grail of DIY and can be used for so so so many things for beauty and household cleaning.

I have yet to start making my own products in any sense except for a body scrub recipe I’m experimenting with but right now I’m using up all the products I have the plan is not to re-buy or restock on any of it.

I have looked into the history of soap and I realized how easily I could of start making my own and I could possibly do in the most all-natural way. I love in an area of the Navajo reservation where wood stoves are the main and only source of heat in the winter. From the ashes, a type of chemical can be extracted, and combine that with a type of oil or fat, and you have the beginnings of soap! There is just so much information on soap making that I’ll make a post of its own on that, I’ll maybe even try to document my progress on it.

I think that just goes for most of the projects or plans that I have for the future. Right now I’m just so busy with mom duties that I can’t have much focus on anything but my son. But I will try to at least put out a bit of writing each day.

first step to a waste-free life

You know with all that’s going in the world ecologically and politically I have been looking into what I can do to help reduce my footprint in the world. I read a statistic somewhere that said each person creates about 7-10 pounds of trash in a single day. That is just ridiculous to me but it still makes sense.

As much as I’d like to put my son in cloth diapers and reuse and wash them each day where I live it is just not possible, so like most parents across the country and the world I use disposable diapers because of the convenience. There’s not much I can do to change that except looking into potty training him early but even that is a challenge in itself.

The most simple and lazy thing I have found to reduce my waste is to start composting. Composting is basically putting together all kinds of natural waste from fruits and veggies to cardboard and paper and letting nature do its thing. To speed up this process vermin aka natural decomposers like different species earthworms can be added to the pile and they will just digest and expel it all again.

When the pile is completely composted this can be reused as fertilizer and it saves you the trip to home depot or where ever to spend 15-30 dollars on the pre-produced stuff. That is just mind blowing to me, with this fertilizer you can grow your own vegetables, fruits, and herbs or even just have a flower garden.  And don’t even get me started on how a flower garden could help out the bee population.

But you really don’t have to use your product to plant because that is just anxiety inducing itself because of the whole “what if I don’t have a green thumb?” dilemma. That means that if you are willing to you can find a local farmer or gardener and make them offer for your product, and there you go money in your pocket for your trash.

So from what I can tell all you need is some kind of plastic container to layer your waste and within a matter of weeks, you’ll have your own piece of mother nature doing work right in your backyard or porch. And yeah I know it is kind of unnerving thinking wow I have a bunch of stuff just sitting there decomposing and doesn’t that just mean its rotting? No, it’s not it’s slowly breaking down the enzymes and this is just an all natural chemical reaction that our planet has been doing since the beginning of life. It’s really just trying to find the right combination of green and brown waste and once you find that balance you really don’t have to do much except stir and re-layer waste occasionally.

So that is my first solution to a green lifestyle change, I still need to get a container but I’ve already been collecting my waste and once it’s started I’ll be sure to take pictures and I think eventually I’ll add in some earthworms. but I want to learn how to balance my green and brown waste before hand.