Southwest Indian Relief Council
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A Program of PWNA


Success Stories

 Many Farms, Many Hardships

Ken

Ken served in the US Army for 20 years. He received his basic training at Fort Ord in California, was with the 2nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg in North Carolina and attended Jump School at Fort Benning in Georgia.

He sustained an injury to his ankle during his training and further injured his back and collar bone during a jump accident. Ken hasapplied for disability compensation many times over the past 40 years, but has been denied. He had applied for rehabilitation, but was also denied. He continues to do what he can to make ends meet.

Ken is originally from a small Navajo community, Chilchinbeto, located between White and Black Mesas in the Four Corners area of the Southwest. Ken was married, but his wife has since passed. He has two sons and one daughter, still living in the area.

Nellie and Ken

He now calls Many Farms home where he cuts wood and sells it at the flea markets or in the parking lots of grocery stores in the larger towns. He described his partner, Nellie, as an "excellent weaver" — proud of her work. He shared that she was near completion of a large rug, that once sold, would help with the household finances. "She has had to climb ladders to complete the top."

He described his way of life as "Third World — hauling wood for heat and cooking and no running water." He was appreciative of the services offered through the senior center, which in turn are supported by many of our projects. He and Nellie typically receive their weekday nourishment at the center.

He knew he suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) when he returned from the Army, but years ago no one knew what this was so it went untreated. He used traditional ceremonies to heal and felt his daily prayers had kept away cancer and diabetes. Unfortunately, living rurally had created some work related injuries that added to those from his military service.

Ken would be considered a Southwest cowboy. He stuck to the "Cowboy basics" for clothing — hat, boots and jeans. His dad trained horses; Ken grew up steer wrestling and was part of rodeo for eight years. Ken conceded that even ranch work could be dangerous. About 10 years ago, a horse he was riding got spooked and Ken almost "kicked the bucket."

Ken and Nellie were grateful for the services offered through our Program Partner at Many Farms. He will continue to appreciate the extra help, especially if his benefits fail to be approved!

Many Farms Statistics from 2000 Census

  • 7% Civilian Veterans
  • 78% Speak Navajo at Home
  • 47% Poverty Status in 1999
  • 49% Wood is House Heating Fuel
  • 31% Lack complete plumbing
  • 24% Lack kitchen facilities
  • Source: Selected Characteristics from Census 2000, Many Farms, Arizona



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