Rock Point Community School, Rock Point, Arizona

Originally Published in 1995

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These are voices from red rock country of Rock Point. These are voices of dry washes and hidden springs in the back of dry canyons and mesas that zigzag blue horizons, all of northern Arizona. These are voices that shake walls of an old BIA building that is more than two decades old, a dormitory turned into a high school. These are voices that bring the Canyon de Chelly to life with echoing laughters at the end of the school year. These are voices that call back the sheep, sing the children to sleep, dance the skip dance at Enemy Way ceremonies, whisper and succeed in classrooms of university and prep school summer programs across the country, all during the summer. These are voices from the beginning. These are voices from the future. These are voices rising today. These are young and powerful voices that do not need interpretation, that do not need a teacher’s explanation. Let them rise. Let them speak. Let them create. Rise. Speak. Create.

The Skinwalker

Once upon a time i fell asleep
on a cold dark night
i walked upon anasazi ruins
fire was burning
hairy creatures were dancing
ritual of the night people
the smell of piss was on the air
i walked closer
scared to see
what was inside the cave
my heart started to beat fast
my shirt was soaked with sweat
i tumbled over a rock i didn’t see
i know they knew
i turned around
as dark as it was
i ran into the dark
i ran and ran
i fell over
my sides hurting
i was in pain
i was lost in the dark
the only light
was from the stars above
there was silence for awhile though
then the laughter came
the sound of a wicked tongue
almost stopped my heart
it came from all directions
the laughter filled my mind with fear
although it was dark
i could see their eyes
their black figures
moved about in the dark
they had circled me
the smell of fear, hate, death was all
i had ruined their meeting
now I had to pay
i heard weird sounds again
it was some kind of language
almost like Navajo
i was stiff with fear
what were they gonna do to me
i couldn’t think or talk
i was scared breathless
i felt small pinches all over my body
it was windy
evil wicked laughter
was the last thing i heard
i awoke that morning
my bed soaking wet with sweat
i got up around 10:00 am
a sharp pain hurt
on the side of my neck
i wondered
i stayed alone that night
unlocked doors and windows
was it all just a dream
or had I just been cursed
for not believing

—Anderson Tallboy

That Rock

The wind blows by,
small grains of sand move
across the rock.
The rain comes down, and
water flows down the side
in a small groove formed from
years gone by.
The rock gives off
the longest and biggest shadow,
the sun has set.
Small animals lay under this rock:
it gives off heat from the day
and chases away the cold weather
of the night.
Morning comes,
and with it
the runner.
He runs up this steep rock,
rests awhile,
then leaves.
The sun comes up slowly,
the beams flash across the smooth surface
of that rock.

—Conrad Begay

Midget, the only one for me
black, scruffy, very short
no wonder he lived by that name
big, macho dogs that came in gangs would
crowd around him
hungry wolves drooling over a lost fawn
Midget would stand there and
the wimper that still haunts me today
the time when he was battered
by some mangy mutts
He didn’t need that kind of
He didn’t do anything wrong
he was all the friends that I could ever have
those canines didn’t have
anyone to love them
like I did Midget
I’m just sorry that it will never be the same
No one could ever replace him…
my Midget.

—Michael Lee

Beautiful Land

There are no big houses or big
city buildings there, there are
only plants growing. A little ways
away there are two hills
covered with green grass.
From one hill runs a narrow silver
stream with a twinkling, shining glow,
a reflection of the sun. About the
size of Rock Point, there the land is covered
with green grass and wet leaves, and
it seems like it never stops raining. This
untouchable land.
On that land there grows a bunch
of roses and flowers,
having the fun time of their lives, they
are dancing their stems to the sound of the
breeze that goes by. Bo human or creature
has put their footsteps on the land.
Beautiful sun flowers, attracting.
Honey bees and wasps, jumping from different
flowers to oak trees to juniper trees. These
stand on top of the hills, looking like they are
standing guard. Showing their heights and colors.
The sun tanning in the thick grass.
How wonderful it would be to see the
beautiful land that is covered with bright
attracting colors. The untouchable
land. Wishing that you could be there alone,
thinking that you would like to run through
that grassy land with the wind or breeze swishing
by and feeling the cool air. Beautiful land is ancient.

—Simpsan Yellowharr


I bump my head against the dresser
I go into a distant land
where many teddy bears are dancing, laughing and having a good time

—Barcelona Tsosie

The Autumn Feeling

Walking along the cracked sidewalk
the heels on my shoes
hum a rusty note.
The pale, gray sky
like my inner self …
Thunders roll by above.
I truly see that what the weather man
on the T.V. said is to be true.
It’s going to rain …
to rain happiness
to rain pride
to rain freedom
to rain the surrounding, cool and damp…
A yellow crispy leaf
floats down my path.
I step on it and feel and hear
the crunch . . .
like my eating a
“NestleCrunch” candy bar.
I have the good feeling
that autumn
will be beautiful.
Beautiful for all of us
to enjoy fond memories of.
The people will be disappointed
to see autumn go .
all those glorious, matching colors . .
Autumn bright
Autumn grace
Autumn fresh
Autumn beauty
Autumn . . .

—Leaven Tcosie

One night, and not long ago,
a man was asleep, dreaming.
Whether it was good or bad, he dreamt on.
Later he was all sweating and got up.
He was talking and soon he was crying.
Later his wife heard him
and woke him up.
She asked,
“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”
The man was scared and had goose bumps.
The man started talking about his dream.
“It was a bad dream. I dreamed that a snake had
bitten me on the legs when I was going
after the sheep.”
At 3:00 o’clock in the morning husband and wife
comforted one another.
Then they both hit the sack.
In the morning the man choked on his dream and
washed it down with morning coffee.
“Go to a medicine man. See what he can do for
you,” his wife said.
The medicine man told him seriously,
“When you dream something like that you have
to say a small prayer so it won’t happen.
What you need is a dream catcher.” The old man
nodded his sleepy head.
“The dream catcher only catches good dreams,
dreams go through the center hole, and the
bad dreams never know the day.”
So he believed, and he hung one around his neck.
Since then bad dreams vanished forever.
The dream catcher triumphantly
and freely danced in the air.
The family lived happily ever after.

—Jasan Charley


The minute
you touched my hand you were nice and warm.
Hours later
you were mean to me but I had the feeling that you were just playing with me.
A few days later you were cold and couldn’t tell what was being told.
Weeks later
you turned your back on me
and took advantage of everything I bought for you.
Months later
I had the feeling that I didn’t care for you even though we spent the days together with everyone at home. Still it didn’t mean a thing to you.
Bow the way you are treating me
won’t change what I used to do for you.I’ll continue changing your litter,
giving you fresh water, pouring you more milk; and buy you another mouse.

—Sabrina Bia

The Last of  You

Whistling through the window
the wind
Scattering about
ashes from the fireplace
Bringing on a throbbing pain
the chill
The dead body
looks alive against the carpet

-Justin Ashihi

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses

Many Hundred Ancient Minute Moons Ago A Cowboy went to a Western Dance During the Central Fair in August.
The stud was asked to Dance By this beautiful young looking girl.
Of course the girl with the tight pants knew how to cut a rug, But she didn’t know the guy couldn’t.
Yeah, the guy thought that he could outdo everyone Until he got out there.
What an embarrassing moment for the young show-off.
Bot even half way through the song the young lady got tired of the guy because he couldn’t control his two steps.
Every time the two made their step the guy stepped on the girl’s toes.
They even hit their knees together.
So the girl got tired of the 160 pound cowboy ruining her  night.
So the guy told the lady that “It’s been a long time” since he danced to country music.
The girl just took off and didn’t want to see the guy again.
The next time the stud was asked to dance, he told the young ladies that he was already taken.
The next night he just sat on the bleacher, wishing he knew how to dance.
Even though he had all these  dance tapes of western dances, he just couldn’t do it.

—Vernan Begay


A little boy
trembles in the corner
Waiting for his father
to leave
He watches a young puppy
sitting beside him being licked by his mother
yearning for that kind of love
the little boy sighs

—Valerian Jones

The Planting Stick

A planting stick,
could be just any stick,
could mean a lot to some people.
It could do so much
for anyone
in many ways.
My grandpa,
an old man,
was out there in the cornfields,
hot or raining,
never quit planting with a planting stick.
It took a lot of time,
and he never minded.
He wanted to finish something,
and he did.
Whatever he did,
he did it for us,
rain came when he wanted it.
His cornstalks
were tall and green.
He planted so much
that his field expanded.
There was so much work,
he did it all,
and we didn’t have many problems.
Now, just us,
without our grandmothers and grandfathers,
we are like nothing.
We’re too lazy,
we didn’t even plant.
I always wonder why
for old people things worked.
They never gave up,
no matter how old they were,
they believed in everything they did, and it worked for them.

—Geradlena Blueeye


She sat on his lap
he tickled her to make her smile
he gave her a teddy bear
on her birthday
while I got color books and
he always takes her to town
watch movies and eat out
while I stay home and
herd sheep
Does daddy love her
or am I too young to understand
Why is there a burning feeling
in my heart
that makes me want to cry

—Anita Bevy


Upon a star,
I wish for life,
I wish for happiness
I wish for freedom,
I wish for love.
I wish for many things
that I know
many people do not have.
I wish for them,
not me.
When I see
all the destruction,
I feel what they seem to
be feeling.
How I wonder
how lucky I am,
to be born in such a
safe home.
But many people
have that opportunity,
opportunity of a life time.
I think
I wish for World Peace!

—Kalvis Tsasie

Ancient Bisons Run

Looking at rugged hills
that disappear beyond mountains
where ancient bisons
roamed, seeing only shadows
of great beasts fleeing
by, running from white hunters,

ancient bisons run.
They trample over ones that
trip and fall.
“Only killed for their
tongues and prices of their hides.
Voices are now silent
as dead buffalos are
left in this valley to rot.”
Who would do such a thing?
Their numbers dropped from thousands

to a few hundreds.
Breeding in captivity,
only a few may remember
the tragedy of their ancestors.
What they went through
throughout history.

—Leander Begay


The bullrider
the bull with red steamy eyes
claps and screams
rush by
with the eight
second buzzer
the dusty wrangler butt
walks away and
the white teeth
shine in the sun
gets the highest score
waves his black hat
claps and screams
zoom by again
the bullrider
walks away in his
dusty wrangler jeans

—Genevieve Begay

The Black Crow

The Black Crow Soars only on the Reservation
I hate and love and am jealous of The Black Crow

I hate
because it’s always in your fields eats your corn and eats your melons I try to shoot it down
but it always turns in its flight.

I love
because The Black Crow gets rid of Carcasses
no Black Crows and the reservation would stink
and everyone would be left trying to think.

I am jealous
because I cannot fly like The Black Crow
The Black Crow can fly across the sky as if
The Black Crow left from a bow
doing things I do not know of.

—Tyrin Banally

A long time ago
two little kids
played outside.
And this Black car
came along and
took the little kids
in the car and drove

The following day
the little kids were
found dead
by the river bank.

Then the policeman
picked them up.
They could not find
their parents.

he found out
that they were alone
and survived all along.

—Regina Nez

Cite This Article

"Rock Point Community School, Rock Point, Arizona." Expedition Magazine 37, no. 1 (March, 1995): -. Accessed April 18, 2024.

This digitized article is presented here as a historical reference and may not reflect the current views of the Penn Museum.

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