ZUNI, NM ~ May 27, 2007
I was greatly impressed to see how clean and neat the Zuni and Navajo Indian reservations are in New Mexico. They are very well-kept, quite idyllic and picturesque. You can tell that these people truly care about their homes, villages, and land. This was quite a contrast to the Hualapai reservation that we recently visited in Arizona – in the town of Peach Springs on scenic Old Route 66 of all places – where you drive past a residential neighborhood and see trash laying everywhere. I respect the fact that the Hualapai Nation hasn’t resorted to making money from gambling casinos and I admire them for trying to develop a legitimate tourist industry at Grand Canyon West instead. However, if they really want to attract tourists they should work on cleaning up their yards! It’s not just old junk cars and stuff like that, either, but actual litter that has blown around and is piled up in backyards and stuck in fences. I can understand people being poor, but that’s no excuse for being lazy and messy. I am so glad to know that not all Indian communities are like that! I wonder what causes the difference in people’s standards of living, why some are satisfied to live in slum conditions and others are proud of the environment in which they live? I did notice that the New Mexico Indians had their own farms and ranches, while the Arizona Indians had what looked like government housing. Perhaps that provides a clue, since people are more likely to take care of what they have worked hard to obtain, as compared to something in which they have no vested interest. What do you think?