“The reason that I help Ty along the way, support him along the way, or encourage him along the way is just cause this is something that I think I would have wanted to have when I was younger. You know?”

Kris Silas, 38
Second Mesa, Arizona


Kris Silas and LaVaun Dyer were not surprised by Ty’s roping skills. He gets it from his mother’s side they say. He is a relaxed, confident kid, unfazed by all the fuss and already picking up prizes at local rodeos. Two weeks before we met him, the horse you see him with in the interview was startled and took off.  For two miles Ty calmly held on, knowing his dad wasn’t far behind.


In the soft purple of twilight, the boy is dwarfed by the horse, the darkening sky. But he is not afraid; his family walks beside him.


The Hopi have always lived in Hopitutskwa (northeastern Arizona), and even though they’re spread over 1.5 million acres, this is a tight knit community. Both Ty’s parents are active locally. When he’s not working his small ranch, Kris offers tours to tourists, which are a needed boost to the Nation’s economy. LaVaun makes traditional Hopi handicrafts to sell. As the Hopi were not displaced like many other tribes, much of their language and culture is intact.