CROWNPOINT, N.M. -- On July 14, Navajo Nation Council delegates Alice Benally (Nahodishgish/Crownpoint) and Harriet K. Becenti (Manuelito/Rock Springs/Tseyatoh)began the first women Council delegates' wagon ride from Crownpoint, New Mexico.
Their destination: Window Rock, Arizona for the Navajo Nation Council's summer session which began July 18.
While the Navajo Nation Council delegates have made it a tradition to ride to the summer session on horseback in honor of past leaders, this is the first time that the women delegates organized their own special trip to the capital of the Navajo Nation.
The trip began at 5 a.m. when the women and their supporters gathered at the Crownpoint Chapter house to prepare for the journey. Medicine man Paul Long Sr. performed a ceremony to bless the group and pray for their safety along the way.
"This is the first time I have been in a wagon since I was 3 years old," Benally said this morning. "I used to ride in a wagon with my grandfather."
The delegates ride in on horseback, and now on a wagon, in remembrance of the way the Council Delegates of the past had to travel to the capital to conduct business. It also gives them a chance to talk to the Navajo people along the way as they stop at chapters and take breaks.
As the wagon traveled along the road, passers-by waved and honked their horns -- the support for the women delegates is evident and appreciated.
The traveling caravan camped out at night. The goal was to reach Window Rock by July 17 when the horse riders from Navajo Mountain, Utah, and Dilkon converged on the Navajo Nation fairgrounds for a welcome ceremony from Speaker Lawrence T. Morgan.
(Karen Francis is Public Information Officer for the Navajo Nation office of the Speaker.)