This is gonna be a long post and it only really covers two specific event on our trip.
A co-worker once told me that if you ever wanted a traditional Navajo Rug, the only place to get one was the Crownpoint Auction. I had never heard of this auction, but a quick trip through the web and I discovered that the Navajo hold a rug auction monthly in the small town of Crownpoint, NM.
It just so happened that on our trip, we were gonna be traveling right by Crownpoint, NM on the day of an auction, so mom and I made our way to the small Elementary School gym in Crownpoint on Friday the 13th.
What an amazing experience. The stuffed parking lot looked more like a National Park parking lot with license plates from all over the US. Since this is not a widely known auction, it was amazing to see so many people from all over the US here in this tiny little town just outside of the Navajo Reservation.
From 4pm to 6pm, the rugs are all on display on cafeteria tables in the back of the gym and you are free to look at them all and note the numbers of the rugs you are interested in bidding for.
Also during this time, you can get some great Navajo Frybread Tacos from the vendors outside or shop the other Navajo craft tables in the hallway outside the gym. Mom and I found beautiful Kachina dolls for $40 and there was also pottery and jewelry for sale as well.
The auction started at 7pm with two white cowboy auctioniers, complete with 10 gallon hats and full-on auction banter. There were 220+ rugs for auction that night and each rug was held up and the rug number, weaver and their hometown was announced along with the starting bid (set by the weaver). Rugs went for anywhere between $200 up to $2000 depending on size, intricacy and color. There were some absolutely stunning rugs for auction.
What was also neat was the weavers themselves were in attendance, lining the back of the gym walls, waiting to see the price there rugs would achieve. It must be hard to sit there and watch all these rich white folk bid on your beautiful hand crafted rug.
Mom and I both walked away with a rug. They are both more traditional patterns and colors (blacks & browns). We checked some rug prices at some other Navajo stores over the next few days and realized that we got a very good deal on our rugs at the Crownpoint Auction.
The next day, we moved furhter into the Navajo Nation traveling up to Canyon de Chelly near Chinle, AZ. There was an approaching storm in the distance as we traveled along the rim of this beautiful canyon. We stopped at the overlooks and enjoyed the stunning views while keeping our eye out for the storm, complete with lightning, in the distance.
On our way down from the south rim, we came across an accident that had happened only moments earlier. A car was flipped over on the side of the road. We stopped and quickly asked the passengers of the other two cars who had also stopped if 911 had been called (they had).
The car was flipped upside down with the front and top severely damaged and gasoline leaking out of the rear. We couldnt tell if the driver was pinned in the car, but soon discovered the driver had been ejected out of the car quite a distance to a spot down in a small ditch.
I asked if he was ok and the other witnesses said he was in bad shape with multiple broken bones. I was kinda shocked that no one was staying with the young man. I got my med kit from the car, not knowing exactly how bad of shape the man was in, and proceeded to make my way to where he was lying. One of the witnesses told me to not touch him.
When I got to the young man, he was still breathing, but his breaths were very gurgle-y. His legs looked in bad shape, twisted underneath him. I knelt down near his head and just continued to talk to him, encouraging him to hang in there and keep breathing and that EMT was on its way. He was slightly responsive to my voice, so I just kept talking to him, willing him to live and keep breathing.
Eventually, cops and EMT showed up and took over. After being released, mom and I went on our way. I have no idea if the young man survived or not, but my prayers continue to be with him and his family.
Later, I finally broke down and cried. I think the shock and emotion finally gained control after the adrenaline of the event wore off. I was angry that everyone was saying not to touch the young man. Granted, what they were saying was indeed true as it is best not to move someone if there is potential of a spinal injury, but no one even attempted to talk to the man or stay with him. I felt as if the other folks had written the young man off for dead so why even bother trying to help him further.