Rose Begay interview
Translating For KUED and PBS
By Phyllis Whitehorse
Please tell your long walk story:
Hweeldi herd was a time when people were gathered and some of the people hid themselves between the crevasses of rocks that is why they were not part of the herd. Some of them where gathered from their homes. It was not a good sight because some of them got whipped with no shoes and of thirst. Along the herd some of them died of hunger and thirst. They were a lot of people who died and the ones who are stronger survived.
Were they offered food from when they were on the long walk?
They were not offered food when they were herded. They just suffered on the herd.
You said some of them died and what else?
They died of thirst.
Some of them are very old and they were traveling in the back trying to catch up so what happened?
They didn’t catch up so they died. When they got to the place they were given white flour just enough and they people didn’t know how to fix it. So they just mixed it like that and ate it some of them died from it.
Some of them were medicine men; they used to get up early in the morning and prayed with corn pollen so they can be released soon. I don’t know how many years they were there.
They were given pans, that were poorly made to cook on and they were instructed how to make bread.
When they were herded there what did they live in?
They used to live in rounded circular made homes made out of some kind of root they used to dig for. They used those as firewood too. The sound that the fire made was like screech sound.
Did they dig in the ground for their shelter?
Yes, they used to live in the dug out ground.
They were released through prayers and they were given only one sheep. Some people had relatives there and they put all of the sheep together to make a herd with 3 and 4 sheep. That is how they came home.
How do you feel about your relatives of that era?
I think that if we never had that experienced or we they didn’t do that to us maybe our prayers and ceremonies would be different. We used to have a lot of rain, it used to rain a lot but not now because of it. That is what I was told.
What are the lessons learned from the long walk?
Well, over there from Washington they wanted us to be their relatives and told us “from here on we well take care of you” because the Washington people used to fight a lot with Mexican people and other race. I suppose they wanted us to be their partners and because of that they wanted to take care of us.
Where were some of the people hiding?
There was a man name (Huskananee) and he was never caught. I heard of another person that way who was (Beayosgin)Ute.
What do you think was learned from the long walk?
Probably how to cook that was it.
When they were herded they were captured from their homes and when they were herded the elders had a hard time some didn’t survived, some didn’t have shoes or it wore out.
How did the soldiers treat them on the long walk?
Yes they had guns. Some of the people who got mad just got shot there.
The capturer had guns and when one of them got mad they were just shot there. They were not treated nice.