Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A Note on Heritage

The big family trip wrapped up today at about 5:00 p.m. with much relief and four very tired bodies happy to see their own beds. We left last Saturday and travelled to Page, Arizona and then, on Sunday, we drove to Durango, Colorado with brief stops at Navajo National Monument, Four Corners Tribal Park, and the Dominguez and Escalante Ruins outside of Cortez. Monday we woke the kids up early and dragged them to Aztec, New Mexico, and then North to Silverton before we exhaustedly returned to our digs in Durango. Tuesday, we left Durango and spent a good portion of the day in Mesa Verde National Park before we drove to Blanding, Utah. After a much needed pitstop in Blanding, we woke up this morning and high-tailed it home.


Now that the travelogue is complete, I want to focus a bit on the importance of a family heritage. Yesterday evening I visited the grave of my grandfather and showed it to my little girl and my stepdaughter. Naturally, it meant very little to them as they didn't know my granddad, but just the act of introducing them to my heritage was significant and satisfying.

Along those same lines, this morning, I had the opportunity to show my girls the ruins of my great great grandfather's house in an historic district in Bluff, Utah. The ruins were slightly more impressive than the grave marker so I recieved a more enthusiastic response than yesterday. I proudly loaded the girls into the minivan and smiled. I'm blessed with a last name imbued with honor that was passed down.

As I drove home across the Navajo Nation thinking about my heritage, I wondered about the heritage of the men and women who spend their lives on the reservation. Is it a proud and honored heritage? Do their children know it? I suspect that some parents share it and others don't. I suspect some children listen and others don't. I wonder if my children will know the importance of their heritage.

This topic of heritage seemed to dominate my thoughts during my trip. Do I carry the badge of my heritage? Would my ancestors be proud of how I honor the name they gave me? How do I honor them? Just questions I asked as I cut through the canyons and rode over the mesas.


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