“With a bull, once you get off, you’re not done. You have to get away …
but if you end up in front him, and he’s a mean one, he’ll gore you.”


Harvey Holliday, 58
Monument Valley, Utah

 
 
 
 

The Holliday brothers are known throughout the Monument Valley community, all four are Navajo elders. Harvey rode bulls for over 20 years and worked as an engineer. Albert sits on a board, fighting to protect sacred lands. Dave runs a horse ranch and gives tours, while Douglas works in the local hospital.

 
 
 
 
 
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Harvey Holliday’s favourite place in Monument Valley is Train Rock - a locomotive shaped behemoth on the valley’s outer, northern edge.

 
 

The scarcity of water:

Navajo elders, Harvey, a bull rider for 20 years, and his brother Douglas Holliday, have seen much change in Monument Valley since they were boys. The land is tougher now. Harder. Water is scarce.


 
 
 
 


 

Both men remember when their father stopped sheep farming to work in the new uranium mine. They remember too, the gunpowder-smell of the yellowcake as their mother boiled his clothes clean; her head bent over the steam. Many Navajo became sick in the decades that followed.

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“Most of those mines have barely been cleaned up… those are the things that really affected a lot of my relatives, especially those who are the same age as my father.’’

 
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“We’re losing our language and our culture so it’s really hard ... it seems like it’s going in one direction.’’

PHOTO : WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

 
 

When Harvey and Douglas were born, Navajo children were taken from their families and sent to live in government schools. Boys were forced to cut their hair. They were not taught to be Navajo. The practice was stopped in the 70s, but the damage was done. Dine, the Navajo language, was almost lost.