$4,430 of $12,000
50 donations

This fundraiser ended on 01/15/13

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Restoring the heart and hope of our elder Helen Kee by rebuilding her home.

Two years ago, an act of vandalism destroyed the home of our grandmother, Dine (Navajo) elder Helen Kee. The Hogan—a traditional Navajo home built by Helen’s late husband, Alfred Kee, about 45 years ago—was the home where Helen raised many children and grandchildren.

When her home was vandalized, all of her belongings and many ancient family medicine bundles, of which Helen was the caretaker, were destroyed. Since this occurred her health has been unstable due to deep heartache.

To help Helen through this hardship, we began fundraising over a year ago to rebuild her Hogan, and through the contribution and caring of many family and friends we were able to raise enough funds to begin the building process, but more funds are still needed.

We are hoping to raise the remaining funds necessary to complete the construction of her new Hogan in Keam’s Canyon, Arizona by January 15, 2013, or earlier, in time for her to be settled before the winter begins. If you can make a donation of any amount during these critical weeks, you will be helping a woman and healer who has dedicated her life to keeping her family strong and helping other families in need of her prayers and healing ways.

Please read on to hear the story of what Helen has endured and how you can help.

The crime
About two years ago, Helen’s traditional Hogan home was broken into and everything inside was rummaged through, stolen or destroyed. In the process, irreparable damage was done to the structure of the Hogan. Since the vandalism, Helen has been staying with family, moving between the rented apartment that she and her daughter, Beverly, have in Phoenix, AZ, and her daughter Marlene’s home on the family’s land in Keam’s Canyon.

Helen has gone through many struggles due to the loss of her home. As the matriarch of the family, she is the one who has always held the family together through her strong teachings, prayers and guidance. Although she is in her eighties, Helen continues to work as a medicine woman among her people, and she travels extensively—day and night—to help other families in need of her prayers and healing.

The Hogan
All of the teachings of the Dine people are contained within the ancient stories of the Hogan. For the family, the Hogan represents the foundation upon which the livelihood, health and well-being of the family depends. Grandma’s Hogan sat upon the earth, beneath the heavens; the one door facing to the east, where the rising sun was greeted early each morning. The floor of the one-room home was of earth, with the fireplace sitting in the center—holding life and giving light, warmth, healing and purification. Water for the home and for the family’s livestock was hauled by hand each day by family members. Today, water is still not available on the family land, as is the case for many homes on the Dine reservation. Now it is hauled by truck every few days in barrels for the family’s use.

Loss and Renewal
Our grandmother’s loss of her home was one of many challenges she has had to endure from the time of her birth to the elder she is today. But she also has stories of renewal. She has lived through and survived the socially, culturally and spiritually devastating boarding school experience that her grandparents, parents, siblings and children were subjected to. She overcame the illness that almost claimed her life in her teens—a hardship through which she received her gift as a medicine woman. She and her family endured the forcible removal from their traditional homeland in Snow Bird Canyon by the government, losing great herds of livestock, and well-established orchards and crops that were tended there for generations. From there, they were sent to Keam’s Canyon where the family lives today. They started over with nothing, and the Hogan she lived in was a part of the family’s new life. She has endured, survived and thrived through a great deal of challenges.

Out of concern and love for our grandmother, we began fundraising a year ago to help rebuild her Hogan, but additional funds are still needed to complete the construction. We greatly appreciate any donations to complete a new home for Helen. It would be wonderful to have a new story of renewal to share on her birthday this November 11th.

Alex Turtle and Chenoa Egawa

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