Helms On Horseback With Navajo Council - Part 3 - NAPT Opportunities For Creative Natives
Trail Ride More than A Social Occasion
By Kathy Helms
HAYSTACK - It was nearly dusk Tuesday evening when we heard the sound of a four-wheeler and saw a dust cloud coming toward us from a distance. Navajo Nation Council Delegate Hoskie Kee, at last!
He rode up, all smiles, and gave us directions to his home, several fields and washes away. By that time, I was just praying Chaps would make it. After a few wrong turns and some back-tracking we finally arrived at our destination.
Hoskie’s family, like the folks in Tohajiilee, went out of their way to make us welcome. They had set up tables and chairs outside their home and prepared trays of food and plenty of hot coffee for the riders.
There was a corral and water for the horses, the privacy of outhouses and the offer of a shower to each of the more than 20 riders.
We unsaddled the horses and some of the older riders, like Ray Ashley and I, collapsed in a heap on the ground. Day two of riding is usually the worst. By then, your knees and legs are aching, your shoulders and back hurt, and you’re wondering if anyone brought along a donut to sit on.It was too much work to carry the saddles to the horse trailers, so when we received the call for dinner, it was all we could do to drape them over the pen.
Hoskie introduced his wife and family and had the riders introduce themselves as well while Mrs. Kee filmed it all. It was a true family atmosphere. We drank pot after pot of coffee while listening to Hoskie talk about the history of the Haystack community.
That night I slept on a cot a short distance from the horse pen. Around 1 or 2 a.m., another horse, possibly Vegas, kicked open the gate. Apparently I was the only one who woke up, and it was all I could do to wriggle out of the sleeping bag and close it back before the horses took off on an early morning rendezvous.
Around 3 a.m., the coyotes started howling. It sounded like there were dozens of them in the hills surrounding us. Shortly after 4 a.m., I could hear Delegate Jerry Bodie starting to move around so I knew it wouldn’t be long before he started shouting at us to wake up, feed and water our horses. Oh, joy.
Shortly before 6:30 a.m., Hoskie came by on the four-wheeler to tell us that one of his uncles, Harry Vandever, a medicine man, would be performing a traditional blessing, after which, his family would serve breakfast. Several of us went over to the hogan to participate.
At breakfast, another of Hoskie’s uncles, Joe Vandever Sr., a Navajo Code Talker and medicine man, joined us. Vandever, now 85, was 19 when he entered the Marines in 1943. He spent three years in the Pacific. He spoke about some of his experiences as a Code Talker. Bodie translated.
“He said that he had seen a lot of death. One of the things that was touching, that he said, was that we should all respect and have compassion for our veterans, even though we may consider them no-account, meaning there are drunks out there.
“He said they are like that for a reason, because mentally, they’re suffering from what trauma they may have endured during the time they were there. But, he said, it’s a blessing that they’re here, and that we should not hesitate to shake a veteran’s hand, no matter what condition he is in, and thank him.
“He said it is always an honor to give a hug to a veteran, because he was out there when we weren’t. He put his life on the line for us when we didn’t. He also said he was very thankful that the riders came through his community.”
Vandever told Bodie that he had done a traditional service for his late father, Nelson Bodie, just prior to his going into the service. “He said with that blessing, that’s how he survived. He also knew my grandfather,” Bodie said.
“I was honored that he’s my paternal great-grandfather. I had never met him before, but it was an honor for me to sit at the same table and share breakfast with him.”
Vandever also told a story, which Bodie related.”He said that a long time when the Navajo tradition was really held holy with the people, there was a man going up to Mount Taylor to do an offering and a prayer at the shrine.
“On the way over, he was attacked by a bear. He got up on top of a lava boulder and took off his big purse where he had the medicine in there, and just gave the bear a whack on the side of the head. Surprisingly, the bear never got up again, and he just went on his way to do his prayer on the mountain. That was the strength of his medicine.”
NAPT OPPORTUNITIES -
International Cherokee Film Festival 2008
Call for Submissions - Deadline August 15, 2008
The International Cherokee Film Festival '08 is around the corner. ICFF is seeking film submissions for its five categories: Feature Film, Feature Documentary, Documentary, Short, and Short Film Nook.
Visit http://www.interntationalcherokeefilmfestival.com/ to download an application.
Producers who submit NAPT-funded programs will have their submission fee waived. Producers who wish to have the fee waived should specify they are funded through NAPT via the submission package, and contact NAPT at firstname.lastname@example.org or (402) 472-3522.
Social Entrepreneurship In Focus Through Documentary
Call For SubmissionsDeadline August 15, 2008
Stories of Change - Social Entrepreneurship in Focus Through Documentary: The Sundance Documentary Film Program, in partnership with the Skoll Foundation, will provide $1.2 million in film project grants to enable the development and/or production of new feature-length independent documentary films that frame, examine, and amplify social entrepreneurship as an innovative approach to the central questions of our time.
The deadline for submissions is August 15, 2008.
www.sundance.org/skoll - for more information.
National Latino Media Council 2008
Latino Television Writers Program
Deadline September 2, 2008
The National Latino Media Council seeks serious participants who can write at least one half-hour comedy or one-hour dramatic television script in English within a five-week period of time. Writers whose scripts show promise will be interviewed and mentored by the network executives with the idea of placing them on a show. Living stipends, flight, housing, and meals are provided.
Writing samples must be in English, and written by individual participants; television scripts are preferred. For more information, call Acasia Flores at (626) 792-6462, or visit
Big Sky Documentary Film Festival
Call for Entries -Deadline September 1, 2008
The Big Sky Documentary Film Festival is seeking submissions for its 2009 event. The festival will screen 100 films, including world and U.S. premieres, classics, rare and experimental works.
The competitive event is open to non-fiction films and videos of all genres, lengths and production dates. Awards and cash prizes will be given for Best Documentary Feature, Best Documentary Short, Best Mini-Doc and best documentary about the American West. For more information, please visit the website- http://www.bigskyfilmfest.org/
8th Annual Native Cinema Showcase - August 21st, 2008
Native Cinema Showcase will screen more than 25 works, directed by filmmakers from more than two dozen tribes. The films celebrate Native cultures and indigenous media on the global stage, exploring issues of concern to indigenous people worldwide.
The showcase's opening-night event spotlights a special premiere of "Geronimo," directed by Dustinn Craig and Sarah Colt. Feature films include Nils Gaup's classic "Pathfinder," and the closing-night film "Older than America," directed by Georgina Lightning.
The showcase begins at 8:00 pm on August 21, 2008 at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe, NM. More information about the event can be found online at http://www.ccasantafe.org/.
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