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Drought Continues For Navajo-Churro Shepherds

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

Written by Jennifer Douglass

Today is August 16 and we are now in our 6th week of monsoon season in the southwest deserts. But sadly for most of us, the rain has not happened and we are becoming more and more fearful of the coming fall and winter. Besides all of us that are living in the drought, we also hear the desperation when a shepherd contacts us inquiring about assistance. In most of the regions of the southwest, there has been a high pressure system over the Southwest deserts causing summer rains to be completely diminished or spotty at best. Because the storms are short lived and slow moving, there are small areas that are green, looking so lush compared to the dry around them. These slow moving spotty storms have left most areas without any moisture at all. With this set up, large regions of the southwest have not seen any significant moisture for over a year. This means the sheep are still on a minimal diet and are weak going into fall and winter.

Tuba City area.

Elderly shepherd's home in the Tuba City area.

Because of the ongoing conditions, Irene, Tara and myself are working non stop to fund-raise and distribute hay to these shepherds. It has been trying at times but from our work, there is a bright spot. We have created a co-operative effort where many involved are now working together for solutions to historic dry conditions and a way to assist each other. It's shepherds helping shepherds, Navajo, Anglo and Hispanic, and ultimately, this creates a sense of hope. Solidarity and supporting one another does so much in such a hard time. I invite all shepherds as well as caring individuals to get involved and be part of this very important time.

We literally can move mountains.

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