Not to be Forgotten

Anyone who has ever driven across the high deserts of the American Southwest can attest to the barren and foreboding nature of the landscape. It’s a part of the world that few people see in any more depth than through the windshield of an over-heating car; a place you drive through, not to. What almost no one realizes is that for much of the distance, you are driving through a foreign country- the sovereign lands of the Hopi and Navajo Nations. Referred to generally as the “Big Res” it covers an area almost as large as Arizona itself. It is comprised of some of the harshest and resource-free lands in the United States and was ‘given’ to Native Americans because of the inherent hopelessness of survival. Extraordinarily, and against all odds, these people, and their cultures, persist. It is an endurance entirely in spite of American politics, policy, and culture.
Today, I wanted to showcase their library system, to demonstrate the power and importance of these desert outposts that exist outside of the American Library Association’s reach. But I’m too late. The website for the Navajo Nation Library states that the library is closed until further notice. I can only see this as a massive failure on the part of mainstream America, as a clear signal of the real impacts of power dynamics and centuries of cultural and economic oppression. See for yourself: