From Trading Post To National Historic Site - SMSC Supports Chemical Dependency Prevention
By Kathy Helms
GANADO – When John Lorenzo Hubbell started a trading post in Ganado in 1878, it was more than just a store. As the trading business grew, he turned to freighting, which required mules and horses that liked to eat – so much so that in 1902, to save on feed, he leveled 110 acres and began to grow alfalfa.
With men from the local community, Hubbell built an irrigation system more than 2 miles long that ran from Ganado Lake to a holding pond near his fields, according to the National Park Service. The hay grown in the fields was used to feed his 45 mules and horses while the surplus was sold commercially.
“He built irrigation ditches, primarily to get here to his fields, but they also went to other farms,” according to Anne Worthington, superintendent at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. “Farming was quite extensive in the Ganado area. I think in its heyday it was probably about 700 acres under cultivation.”
With the advent of trucks, by the early 1950s, the farming business “was pretty slim,” she said. Today, however, there is renewed interest in restoration of agriculture at Hubbell with the ultimate goal being self-sufficiency.
“One of the reasons I think things slowed down a little bit, or stopped as far as actual agriculture, was that the dam at Ganado Lake was condemned by the Bureau of Reclamation for almost a whole generation, so a whole generation didn't farm,” Worthington said Wednesday.
The Bureau has since repaired the dam and put in an irrigation pipe. “We now have pipe that goes to all the farms, she said, and interest in reviving the farming community is growing.
Hubbell had his fingers in a lot of pots, according to Worthington. In good years, he shipped 100,000 pounds of wool to market in Gallup. He also often had contracts to ship material for government projects on the Navajo Nation, according to the Park Service.
“He traded and bought and sold sheep and other livestock. Once they started getting a lot of livestock, he would freight hay in as well and what he didn't need he would sell. Early on he primarily dealt with wool and pelts before he got into the live sheep buying and selling, so he would have to haul all that to the railhead and bring back all his supplies. He had a lot of people working here,” Worthington said.
“Agriculture was part of his thing, and we want to try to get back to more of the overall story here, not just the store,” she said. “We just have about 11 acres under cultivation right now. We started off with nurse crops of rye and oats and now we've got a mix of grass and alfalfa. We're grazing Navajo Churro sheep on there so we don't want pure alfalfa because it's not good for them.”
The hay is used in winter to feed the horses and sheep that now occupy the farm.
They also have planted some fruit trees. “We don't know specifically what Mr. Hubbell had at the time,” Worthington said, “but we do have catalogs in the archives, so we know what the potential was.” She said they worked with an individual at Northern Arizona University who identified the varieties that would work best at the historic site – apples, peaches and apricots.
Operation of the kitchen garden has continued over the years. This year's crop – if it survives the grasshopper infestation – consists of corn, squash, melons, tomatoes and chilis. Both a sprinkler system and a drip irrigation demonstration project are used to water the fruits and vegetables.
“We're trying to get a farmer's market going,” Worthington said. “We had one last year, kind of – we were the only participants. But these things take time. We're going to try again this year. It would be really great if we could get people to bring them in. I know most people grow corn, squash and melons, but if there's a market for other things, I think it will start growing.
“We're not just your typical national park – it's supposed to be 'real,'” she said. The trading post is a real store whose primary customers are members of the community. “It's not living history, it's not pretend. We have groceries, dry goods, and then they will bring in rugs, jewelry and other things to sell. We're competing with Wal-Mart, so we're losing, but it isn't just a gift store.”
The goal for the farm is to be self-sufficient, though Worthington admits they have a long way to go. Funding is provided from Youth Conservation Corps and the Public Land Corps to hire local youth every summer to help out. “We can hire six to eight, depending on how much money we get. Some of them are really interested in farming, and some are like, 'What did I get myself into?' They do the lion's share of the work,” she said.
In 1897, Hubbell had a barn built to stable the horses and mules used in his freighting business. When finished sometime around 1900, it was the largest barn in northeast Arizona. Made of sandstone blocks with large support beams hauled in from Defiance Plateau, it contained stalls for 20 animals, a hay loft, workshop and blacksmith shop.
Today, according to Worthington, “We're kind of like the nursing home for horses. For a while there, when I first got here we had a mule from the Grand Canyon, we had a patrol mount from Chicasaw, we had a pack horse from Capital Reef, and we had a DEA-confiscated horse.
“We only have two left. Just because we're so short staffed and it is expensive to take care of very old horses, we're going to kind of keep it at two until we can get additional staff at some point. We have anywhere between 20 and 30 sheep. We had a lot of twins born this year,” she said.
Raw wool from the Churro is skirted by youth workers and then sent to a mill to be processed into roving before being sold to the trading post. “If you look on-line, Churro is pretty expensive. The last two years we've just done roving. This year we're going to try to have some of it spun into yarn and see what the market is,” Worthington said.
“It would be great if it was such a good seller that we could buy yarn or fleeces or roving from the local community as well and turn around and sell that,” she said.
All money earned from the farm's projects is put back into the business. “If we could get what we have now self-sustaining that would be a really good start. We have about 80 acres out there that has just gone back to scrub and currently doesn't have any irrigation. If we can make this successful, then we can expand to that,” she said.
“You see all these big trucks of hay rolling in from Colorado and wherever. Why not grow it here and sell it here? Our biggest problem, really, is staff to do all these things. We have lots of great ideas but it's hard to implement them.”
SMSC Donates More Than $65,000 To Chemical Dependency Prevention Programs
Submitted by Tessa Lehto
Monday, July 27, 2009
Prior Lake, MN – The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community supports a number of programs which help prevent chemical dependency and addiction.
The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS), Washington, D.C., received an SMSC donation of $25,000 to support their work to reduce Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effect. NOFAS is dedicated to eliminating birth defects caused by alcohol consumption during pregnancy and to improving the quality of life for those affected individuals and families.
A $10,000 donation to Petan Wakan Tipi of St. Paul, Minnesota, supported general operating expenses for a women's sober house, Mother Earth Lodge, which opened its doors in 1993 to serve American Indian women. Nearly 65% of women in the program are successful in maintaining sobriety, locating permanent housing, and securing employment.
Kateri Residence, which received $10,000 from the SMSC for general support, has helped Native American women in Minneapolis recover from alcohol and drug abuse, rebuild their lives and reunify with their families for more than 35 years. A program of St. Stephen’s Human Services, Kateri offers a comprehensive support program complete with in-house healthcare, one-on-one advocacy, curriculum based on sacred cultural traditions, and an alumni program that includes in-home visitations, aftercare housing, and more.
A $5,000 grant went to Rebuild Resources (St. Paul, Minnesota) for general support. Rebuild Resources is a non-profit enterprise helping recovering men and women rebuild their lives through the most powerful social program of all: a job. Since 1984 they have graduated more than nine hundred men and women, with a measured success rate of sixty-eight percent and a social return of nearly half a million dollars per successful graduate.
Minnesota Teen Challenge (Minneapolis), one of the largest residential drug and alcohol programs in the state of Minnesota, received a $5,000 for drug and alcohol prevention education. Minnesota Teen Challenge offers a 60-day drug treatment program, as well as a yearlong program, serving teens and adults from all ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds.
Ain Dah Ing, Inc., of Shell Lake, Wisconsin, received an SMSC donation of $5,000 for their 15-bed residential facility and halfway house to continue providing healing, education, and inspiration to Native Americans in recovery from alcoholism and drug abuse.
The SMSC gave Project Turnabout of Granite Falls, Minnesota, a donation of $5,000 to help raise funds for Native American clients seeking treatment of addictions. Project Turnabout provides inpatient treatment and aftercare for gambling, alcohol, and drug addiction in their 100-bed facility.
Smaller grants were also made to the DARE Bike-a-thon, Sacred Hoop Run 2009, and The City’s Oshki Bug program.
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