Etta Arviso is one of the Diné – or, Navajo – women who I met last year in Counselor, New Mexico. She is an “allottee,” which means her family lives on land adjacent to the Navajo reservation that is held in trust by the United States government.
In this audio clip, she introduces herself, talks about the history of her homeland and people, and voices her opposition to increased oil and gas development on the checkerboard lands of the eastern Navajo Nation.
When Arviso mentions the Long Walk, she’s speaking of the forced removal of Navajo people from Arizona and northwestern New Mexico in the nineteenth century. In 1864, the US Army marched almost 9,000 Navajo men, women, and children to the Bosque Redondo Reservation on Fort Sumner in eastern New Mexico. In 1868, the Navajo Nation and the US government signed a treaty allowing the people to begin their “long walk” home.