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Buying a High

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A Google search for the biggest misconceptions about marijuana will inevitably lead you to “pot makes users lazy.” That, in fact, is part of a much larger misconception that all marijuana is created equally.

Since the legalization of recreational use and sale of marijuana and the continued high demand from all walks of life for the plant, the selection of marijuana has increased, but many of the same stigmas are attached. Even three years after the passage of Amendment 64.

But most shop owners and those who work in the industry have created business on the fact that marijuana is diverse. The drug can be catered to specific medical needs or personal preference. The diversity in each strain comes from more than 80 known cannabinoids, which are the chemical compounds that affect users in different ways.  

There are three main categories of marijuana, sativas, indicas and hybrids. Each different.

Indicas result in the heaviest body highs.

Originating on the West Coast, the frosty buds of this sativa strain (Gorilla Glue) carry a high THC of 29 percent. This strain is ideal for consumers looking for a THC rush in the beginning of their high. Photo by Nick Naglich

Originating on the West Coast, the frosty buds of this sativa strain (Gorilla Glue) carry a high THC of 29 percent. This strain is ideal for consumers looking for a THC rush in the beginning of their high. Photo by Nick Naglich

“It makes a lot of people sleepy; it’s also a really good pain reliever because it relaxes your whole body,” Starbuds manager Sarah Mutty said.

On the other side of the spectrum are sativas which give customers the biggest head highs. Unlike an indica, a sativa enacts an active, creative and motivated high that doesn’t make the customer want to nap at all, she said.

The highs aren’t the only difference in the two main types of the plant. Sativas grow much taller than indicas, but indicas will generally have a higher yield. Sativas originated in countries close to the equator, while indicas were originally grown in higher altitudes.

A hybrid can lean either towards a sativa or indica or can be what she said is a true 50/50.

“So a true 50/50 would give you some of the head high you would expect out of the sativa and some of the body relaxation of an indica so you get both,” she said about hybrids.

General Manager Peter Mutty said that Starbuds carries a hybrid strain called Girl Scout Cookies which combines a sativa called Durban Poison and an indica called OG Kush. This strain originally was cultivated in California but can now be found on shelves all over Colorado, according to the Colorado Pot Guide.

“You get this wonderful speed running around in the beginning but at the end you relax, so if you like Durban Poison but you don’t like the after effects then this one (Girl Scout Cookies) kind of tones down the back end,” he said.

Sarah Mutty explained that all marijuana has the generalized indica, sativa and hybrid labels but that within each category there are subcategories called strains that all do something different.

Indicas: The indica plants are generally short and bushy with wide leaves and are densely branched. They developed thick coats of resin for protection because they originated in mountainous regions with harsher climates and conditions. Because of their shorter physique they have a shorter flowering time which is ideal for indoor cultivation. A high from an indica strain is generally more relaxed, calming and sleep provoking with full body effects. Indica strains are usually best suited for night use because of the body high that results in “couch lock” – meaning users are content just sitting around and unwinding as well as being relaxed enough to fall asleep. For medicinal benefits people use indica strains for insomnia, pain relief and muscle spasms.

“We have an indica called Purple Cotton that was bred for pain relief and relaxation and that one’s not going to make you fall asleep; you’re just going to have a pleasant, relaxing, pain relieving strain,” she said, “Kurple Fantasy that is a cross between Purple Urkle and OG Kush and that is going to make you go to sleep and they’re both indicas.”

“A strain is a combination of plants that have been merged together to deliver a certain type of experience,” Peter Mutty said.

Different strains of cannabis can be used in ways other than smoking buds and waxes. Many shops carry edible products like chocolates, brownies, drinks and candies, and they may also carry creams, oils, teas and other various products.

Strains and products at dispensaries vary from store to store but there are products that are more popular than others. Strains like Golden Goat and Blue Dream are common in dispensaries and are popular among consumers.

For people new to marijuana products, the staff at many shops do a total evaluation of their customers.

Sarah Mutty said Starbuds staff try to tailor recommendations to what people want to get out of their highs so they can have a good experience.

Sativas: Sativa plants are tall and thin with narrow leaves and are loosely branched. They originated in regions closer to the equator where there are temperate climates requiring a longer time to grow. Their longer growing period makes them well suitable for outdoor gardens, but sativas can also be well maintained in indoor grows. With a sativa a consumer would expect a head high with mild hallucinogenic properties which tends to result in a high that is uplifting, creative, spacey and energized with cerebrally-focused effects. This type is well suited for daytime use. Sativas can be used to help with depression, anxiety, ADD, fatigue and other mood disorders.

“Somebody that has a really high tolerance smoking might have a very low tolerance on edibles because your liver has to metabolize it. It’s going to be a totally different level of THC so it’s going to affect them a lot differently than smoking, and it takes a lot longer,” she said.

THC is the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects. The National Institute of Drug Abuse said that memory, pleasure, thinking, coordination and perception of time can be affected by THC.

Sarah Mutty said that smoking marijuana results in an instant type of high and that edibles take about an hour and a half to result in a high, but that some inexperienced consumers will be impatient and take more than the recommended doses and become uncomfortably high.

“The new people, we have to teach them about edibles because even somebody that comes in here and smokes, if they’re trying an edible for the first time, we have to tell them about the doses,” Peter Mutty said.

He said that a recreational marijuana candy bar carries 100 mg of THC and a normal dose is 10 mg, whereas, medical marijuana edibles carry up to 500 mg.

Starbuds is a recreational marijuana dispensary and Peter Mutty said that the difference in recreational marijuana versus medical marijuana isn’t in the weed but in the dosage and taxing.

“Because we’re recreational we tend to buy and distribute marijuana that has a high level of THC in it because people that generally come here want to get high,” he said.

The store can carry medical products and distribute them to medical marijuana consumers but they are limited by the amount they can carry. Peter Mutty said that he pays 17 percent taxes as opposed to straight sales tax which are not imposed on medical marijuana stores ultimately making medical marijuana cheaper than recreational marijuana.

“If you come in here and show me a valid medical license I will give a discount because I respect that you’ve got a need I want to take care of, and I don’t want you to feel like you have to go to Colorado Springs just to get what you want; the only thing that they can’t get are the really high dose edibles,” he said. “But one thing that is not restricted is the high dose or high concentrate of the waxes and shatters and hash oils; we are allowed to still sell those.”

Edibles typically are much stronger than their smokable counterparts. This is because the THC is absorbed by the liver instead of going directly to the brain like it does when inhaled. A high from an edible will not happen as fast as an inhaled high because of the metabolized. Depending on the edible it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to feel the high. Photo by Nick Naglich

Edibles typically are much stronger than their smokable counterparts. This is because the THC is absorbed by the liver instead of going directly to the brain like it does when inhaled. A high from an edible will not happen as fast as an inhaled high because of the metabolized. Depending on the edible it can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours to feel the high. Photo by Nick Naglich

CBD is a cannabis compound that is used to emit medical properties but does not make the consumer feel high in the way that THC does. Sarah Mutty explained a diagram that showed that CBD can act as an anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety relief, pain reliever, nausea reducer and can help inhibit cancer growth.

“An example of something that might be medical there’s a strain called Harlequin and is designed to have extremely high CBD but most people that are coming here are not looking for that. CBD will help you if you have glaucoma; CBD will help you if you have anxiety issues; CBD will help you if you have seizures,” he said.

Peter said that what is unique about their store is the quality of the grow that they offer because their store got third place at the Cannabis Cup for the best Colorado sativa flower with their strain Pootie Tang.

“We get our buds from our grows in Denver. Starbuds has five grows in Denver, all supervised by the same master grower,” Peter Mutty said.

The edibles and other types of products come from Denver vendors and companies and some of their chocolates come from local Pueblo companies. Concentrates that Starbuds carries come from Denver once a week, and some of their other concentrates come from Boulder.

Sarah Mutty said that all of Starbuds’ grows are organic and indoors. The benefit of an indoor grow is that the grower can control the light cycle and doesn’t need pesticides for outside bugs, she said.

“What we mean by organic is that we don’t use pesticides; an organic grow is a non-pesticide grow and we don’t put weird chemicals in our fertilizers to make it grow better. We are totally organic and we are indoors,” she said.

xBoulder_Extracts_Shadder-02

Oils, budders, waxes and shatter are all made by extracting cannabinoids such as THC and CBD from the plant. In these forms, there is a higher percentage of THC than hash products making the extracts much more potent. A growing form of consuming extracts is through dabbing — placing the extract on a heated surface and inhaling the vapor. Concentrates can be smoked on bowls, joints and blunts, but because concentrate burns much differently than hash it often does not reach optimal vaporization. Vaping is also an option for users. Shatter is generally known for being the purest of extracts as it can have upwards of 90 percent THC. Photo by Nick Naglich

As opposed to organically grown marijuana, there is synthetic weed that can be sold at head shops, Sarah Mutty said.

“Synthetic weed is called spice and it’s sold at head shops, and it’s very dangerous; it has totally unpredictable effects and it can kick off a psychosis episode,” she said.

Sarah and Peter Mutty both echoed that their store is for adults only and that the precautions they take are for their customers.

 

 

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Why are teachers in the Steel City prepared to strike: ‘Teachers are walking into classrooms that are not funded’

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Teachers in Pueblo are prepared to join a national movement of educator activism and walk out of their classrooms later this year if their demand for a 2 percent raise isn’t met.

Members of the Pueblo Education Association, the southern Colorado town’s teachers union, voted last week to authorize a strike after the local school board rejected a third party recommendation that the district provide the cost-of-living pay increase the teachers were seeking during this year’s contract negotiations.

As part of its rationale for rejecting teacher raises, the board cited other budget priorities, a desire to protect funding reserves, and raises given to most teachers in the past two years. The average teacher salary this year in Pueblo is $47,617, according to state data.

The board’s vote came after the district recently decided to go to a four-day week, in part as a cost-saving measure.

The extraordinary vote — the last teacher strike in Colorado occurred in 1994 — took place as teachers across the country have left their classrooms over demands for better salaries and more school funding. So far, teachers in West Virginia and Oklahoma have staged weeklong strikes. Arizona teachers are also preparing to leave their lesson plans behind.

“I think both movements, both nationally and locally, show that teachers have had enough,” Suzanne Etheridge, the Pueblo teachers union president said. “Teachers are walking into classrooms that are not funded.”

For the moment, Pueblo teachers are still in their classrooms. A strike can’t take place until after the state decides in early May whether it will step in to broker a deal.

Etheridge, in an interview with Chalkbeat, discussed the circumstances that led teachers in the 16,000-student school district to take such “drastic” action, how the national climate is fueling their effort, and how the looming strike could be resolved.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. (Click here to read the district’s statement on the union’s vote to strike.)

Negotiations between the union and the district have been tense before. What’s different this time? Why did you go all the way to taking a vote for a strike?
I think what’s different this time is the true lack of openness during this round of bargaining. Although the district has accused us of never coming off our demand for 2.8 percent, which was our initial request, they also stuck to zero the whole entire time. There were also some issues, some discussions we should have had but never happened. We were invited to one budget summit that consisted of a sit-and-listen to somebody lecture the school board. So, it was just the real lack of openness and transparency through this process.

What finally tipped the balance was when the school board took its vote. Some of the comments made really angered our teachers. It felt like we were being publicly lectured asking for a cost-of-living increase. One of our board members went on about the value of younger teachers versus more experienced teachers, when we’re all valuable. There should be none of those lines drawn. We felt like some of the comments were very caustic in nature. I watched teachers’ faces at that board meeting. I watched the disappointment. I watched the hurt. I watched the anger. Our members after that were very, very upset.

You said in another interview that this wasn’t just about money, but about respect. How have Pueblo teachers been disrespected?
Educator voices are not part of the decision-making in our schools right now. At one of our schools, which is in turnaround status, they just had their lesson plan format changed for the sixth time this year. It’s the middle of April! We have very little input at the district level. We have made three open records request for the district’s staffing model for next year. And still, we’re just told no, that it’s still fluid. When they ask questions, they’re very often met with not only resistance, but are sometimes punished. It’s those sorts of things that have just added up for teachers.

There’s a five-member board. Two of the members were endorsed by the union. How did your relationship with the board break down?
The board members who voted against the fact finder report aren’t hearing teachers. What we’re trying to tell them is that a budget is about choices. And we don’t agree with some of the choices they’re making right now. One of the choices was that the instructional budget was cut, but business services had their budget increased, so did human resources. That’s a choice. The district is spending a lot of money on a law firm out of Boulder. That’s a choice. Administrators received a cost-of-living increase this year, teachers are not. More importantly our paraprofessionals have not. It’s those kind of choices we’re looking at in our budget analysis and saying, “Wait a minute.” We’ve also found money where we believe the district is over-budgeting and has some money available.

The school board president, Barb Clementi, a former teacher whom you did endorse, wrote an editorial recently about her vote against giving teachers a raise: “There is no question that our employees deserve more, and yet we are in a grim financial situation. Since three educators were elected to the board, teachers, paraprofessionals and other educators have seen two raises and three step increases in pay. We are struggling to continue to fund those increases in the coming budget and will undoubtedly see cuts to staff and programs in order to do so. It is fiscally irresponsible to dig an even deeper financial hole by raiding our reserves, which are meant to cover one-time emergency expenses, or by further cutting staff and programs.” I know you’re suggesting that the district doesn’t need to use reserves to pay for these raises, but more broadly, why is she wrong? Is it just possible that it’s just not the teachers’ turn for a raise? Was a guarantee of a raise next year never part of the conversation?

No, it was not. At least not until now, after all this has got rolling. We still have next year’s contract hanging out there. It’s been mentioned in some informal conversations, “Well, there’s next year.” The problem is, those raises, the past two years only came after this same process — long, drawn-out negotiations. Steps (or years of tenure) are not a raise for all of our employees. There are some places people are frozen. What the district also fails to recognize, is that in all of its years, it’s never once been on the state’s watchlist for fiscal risk. They’ve always been very healthy financially. They’ve maintained stable ground. We’ve tracked reserves through the years, and this is the first year you can see a little bit of a decrease. But that’s because the district made a choice to move some money to address facility issues, which we also understand. The other thing they neglect to mention is that the district continues to get more money from the state despite declining enrollment. They are getting additional money, and they’re set to get more money. School finance is looking a little better in Colorado for next year.

Should teachers expect to get raises every year?
I think there are ways that we need to start looking at our traditional salary scales. That should be something on the table at a future point. Do I think some of the structures of our salary schedules are a little outdated? Yes. I think there are ways we can change that to make the money a little bit better. What people also need to understand is that schools are funded by the state based on cost of living. So, I think it’s reasonable for there to be something. Does it need to be a 10 percent raise? Not necessarily, because we are dependant on state funding.

Teachers, in a lot of cases, have the same level of education as attorneys, physicians assistants, nurses. And those people can expect raises. They have a high level of education and so do our teachers. Teachers have been deprofessionalized by the lack of funding, by the lack of raises. Do I think teachers deserve to come into a profession and take care of their own families, to pay off their own students loans? Absolutely.

We’re at a moment of national unrest and action by teachers. Do you think your members are feeling embolden by that? Would your members have voted to strike if it there wasn’t this national conversation?
I think we’d still be heading here, even without the momentum. But do I think the national momentum has helped? Absolutely. I think both movements, both nationally and locally, show that teachers have had enough. Teachers are walking into classrooms that are not funded. We have teachers who (can only make) 100 copies a month from the building copier. And yet, they see 125 to 150 students a day. That’s the kind of thing teachers are tired of. My daughter-in-law, she’s a teacher, the decorations in her classroom are bought with her own money. Teachers for the last five to seven years have been put in the situation of having to buy basic supplies such as paper and pencils because schools have been so underfunded. It’s all part of the same issue. It’s about respect. No other professional would be asked to buy their supplies like teachers do.

Pueblo is the only urban school district in the state to not have voter approval for additional local funding for its schools. What do voters in Pueblo and Colorado need to know about how the financial situation is contributing to this moment?
Colorado has fallen further and further behind in school funding. Current estimates suggest we’re either 46th or 48th in funding schools. Which is really tragic considering our economy — at least in the northern part of the state — has been healthier than it’s ever been.

The other piece of this, for districts like ours that have not passed a tax increase: We’ve hurt ourselves. School districts have had to pass local tax increases to keep the cash flow coming in to do things like keep up facilities, supplies, and technology.

We desperately need one. We need a long-term, well-thought-out plan for a mill levy override and perhaps a bond issue to be able to get our schools up to date. There was supposed to be a committee to get this started. And we were supposed to be part of that committee. But it hasn’t happened.

Getting back to the potential strike, teachers at a local middle school recently staged a “sickout.” One parent responded: “If the teachers want to strike, fine: strike like the steelworkers strike where they don’t get paid a damn dime. But for them to use sick time and screw over all these kids, who’re aren’t in school today because of that? That’s wrong. And they expect the community to take them seriously?” What do you say to that parent? Are you at all concerned that this could backfire, are you worried that the district could just drop the collective bargaining all together?
That’s always a concern. That’s something we hope doesn’t happen. The association did not plan what happened at Corwin International Magnet School. I didn’t even know about it. I read it on Facebook and in the news like everyone else.

What I would say to that parent is that we’re not walking out to harm our students. In reality, we’re planning a strike to help our students. One of the things that this district struggles with is high teacher turnover. It’s one of the highest rates in the state. We have positions filled this year by teachers who have come out of retirement for limited contracts. We have teachers in classrooms on alternative licenses. Finding a special education teacher in the city of Pueblo is like finding a needle in a haystack. We believe that if we can get back to work openly, honestly, and collaboratively with the school district, where we can compete salary-wise with districts surrounding us, then we can keep highly qualified teachers in our classroom. That’s what we’re after. Our goal is not to harm students. But we feel like to benefit our students, we have to take drastic opinions right now.

What is the long-term solution, so a strike can be avoided and you’re not here next year?
We have made a conscious decision: We feel a 2 percent raise is fair. It’s off of our initial proposal by almost a full percent. We’d like to be able to come back to the table with some sort of real labor-management partnership collaboration agreement so we’re not here again. It’s going to take some real work. It might even take some outside help to repair our relationship. However, when we do come to the table again, I’d like to see come forward a real partnership agreement. Not one that is just written on paper.

What’s the nationwide or state solution to this moment of educator unrest?
Funding formulas across states need to be changed. States need to take a long hard look at how they fund schools. I believe Colorado’s is archaic. Will money solve everything? No. But it’s a big piece of it. We also have to get teachers to the table when education decisions have been made.

Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.


Originally posted on Chalkbeat by Nic Garcia on April 23, 2018

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More than just pie, the Pecan industry sets sights on snacks

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The humble pecan is being rebranded as more than just pie.

Pecan growers and suppliers are hoping to sell U.S. consumers on the virtues of North America’s only native nut as a hedge against a potential trade war with China, the pecan’s largest export market.

The pecan industry is also trying to crack the fast-growing snack-food industry.

The retail value for packaged nuts, seeds and trail mix in the U.S. alone was $5.7 billion in 2012, and is forecast to rise to $7.5 billion by 2022, according to market researcher Euromonitor.

The Fort Worth, Texas-based American Pecan Council, formed in the wake of a new federal marketing order that allows the industry to band together and assess fees for research and promotion, is a half-century in the making, said Jim Anthony, 80, the owner of a 14,000-acre pecan farm near Granbury, Texas.

Anthony said that regional rivalries and turf wars across the 15-state pecan belt — stretching from the Carolinas to California — made such a union impossible until recently, when demand for pecans exploded in Asian markets.

Until 2007, most U.S. pecans were consumed domestically, according to Daniel Zedan, president of Nature’s Finest Foods, a marketing group. By 2009, China was buying about a third of the U.S. crop.

The pecan is the only tree nut indigenous to North America, growers say. Sixteenth-century Spanish explore Cabeza de Vaca wrote about tasting the nut during his encounters with Native American tribes in South Texas. The name is French explorers’ phonetic spelling of the native word “pakan,” meaning hard-shelled nut.

Facing growing competition from pecan producers in South Africa, Mexico and Australia, U.S. producers are also riding the wave of the Trump Administration’s policies to promote American-made goods.

Most American kids grow up with peanut butter but peanuts probably originated in South America. Almonds are native to Asia and pistachios to the Middle East. The pecan council is funding academic research to show that their nuts are just as nutritious.

The council on Wednesday will debut a new logo: “American Pecans: The Original Supernut.”

Rodney Myers, who manages operations at Anthony’s pecan farm, credits the pecan’s growing cachet in China and elsewhere in Asia with its association to rustic Americana — “the oilfield, cowboys, the Wild West — they associate all these things with the North American nut,” he said.

China earlier this month released a list of American products that could face tariffs in retaliation for proposed U.S. tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods. Fresh and dried nuts — including the pecan — could be slapped with a 15-percent tariff, according to the list. To counter that risk, the pecan council is using some of the $8 million in production-based assessments it’s collected since the marketing order was passed to promote the versatility of the tree nut beyond pecan pie at Thanksgiving.

While Chinese demand pushed up prices it also drove away American consumers. By January 2013, prices had dropped 50 percent from their peak in 2011, according to Zedan.

U.S. growers and processers were finally able in 2016 to pass a marketing order to better control pecan production and prices.

Authorized by the Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937, federal marketing orders help producers and handlers standardize packaging, impose quality control and fund research, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees 28 other fruit, vegetable and specialty marketing orders, in addition to the pecan order.

Critics charge that the orders interfere with the price signals of a free, unfettered private market.

“What you’ve created instead is a government-sanctioned cartel,” said Daren Bakst, an agricultural policy researcher at the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Before the almond industry passed its own federal marketing order in 1950, fewer almonds than pecans were sold, according to pecan council chair Mike Adams, who cultivates 600 acres of pecan trees near Caldwell, Texas. Now, while almonds appear in everything from cereal to milk substitutes, Adams calls the pecan “the forgotten nut.”

“We’re so excited to have an identity, to break out of the pie shell,” said Molly Willis, a member of the council who owns an 80-acre pecan farm in Albany, Georgia, a supplement to her husband’s family’s peanut-processing business.

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Navajo Nation marks 150th anniversary of return to homeland

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A long-lost original copy of a historic treaty signed in 1868 by leaders of one of the nation’s largest American Indian tribes and the U.S. government will go on display later this year as the Navajo Nation commemorates a dark, but significant chapter of history.

Navajo Vice President Jonathan Nez and other tribal officials gathered Tuesday in Albuquerque to detail some of the events that will mark the signing of the treaty 150 years ago.

That treaty is what cleared the way for tribal members to return to their homeland in the heart of the American Southwest after being rounded up years earlier by the U.S. cavalry and forced to make an arduous and deadly trek hundreds of miles to a camp in eastern New Mexico.

Nez recounted the hardships of what came to be known as the Long Walk, saying many Navajos died along the route to Bosque Redondo. He also talked about those who stayed behind and hid in canyons and on mesa tops, often foregoing the warmth of a fire to avoid capture.

“We want our younger generation to know about our history,” Nez told a room packed with tribal officials and reporters.

He also talked about problems facing tribal communities, from suicide to alcoholism, drug addiction and violence. He said he wants to tap into the resilience of those Navajo ancestors who endured the hardships of the 1800s.

“What this will do is inspire, encourage our people out there that they can’t give up, to jump back up, dust themselves off and to fight even harder than ever before for what they believe in,” Nez said.

Navajo President Russell Begaye has said this year’s commemoration is also about telling the story of the Long Walk, the signing of the treaty and the return home from the perspective of Native Americans. He and other tribal officials say one goal is to address what they called a “legacy of misrepresentation” that has stemmed from that era.

Before research and planning began for this year’s events, there were only two known copies of the historic treaty. The whereabouts of one is now a mystery and the other has been kept by the National Archives and Records Administration.

The third copy turned up only recently when the relatives of a peace commissioner who was involved in the negotiation and signing of the treaty in 1868 found the document in a trunk in the family attic.

It was rolled up and bound with the original but faded ribbon. It was in pristine condition along with notes and other documents that historians hope might fill in some of the blanks from that time.

Pages of that copy will be on display starting in June at the Bosque Redondo Memorial near Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

The National Archives is partnering with the Navajo Nation to display the other original copy at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, Arizona, for the month of June.

It took more than two years of planning to make the exhibition possible as this marks only the second time an original treaty has gone back to a homeland.

Museum director Manny Wheeler said the treaty is more than just a document to the Navajo people.

“When I saw the document and I saw the marks of all of our leaders on that paper, it is a powerful thing and it is very much so opening up dialogue among all Navajos about who we are, where we’ve come from and where we’re going,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler suggested that as much as the document was key to the Navajos’ past, it also has the power to change the future by awaking tribal members to the importance of preserving their culture and language.

The leaders of the Navajo Nation’s three branches of government signed a proclamation earlier this year declaring 2018 as the year of the treaty, and the tribe launched a website .

The commemoration also includes a day of prayer across the Navajo Nation, cultural nights, tours of the tribal council chambers and a run that will span more than 400 miles (644 kilometers) from Fort Sumner to the Navajo capital.

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