1. Helpful Horse

     
  2. panthertree in the trees

     
  3. Niki and Robo in our home studio. panthertree

     
  4. Makes sense | Provo, Utah

     
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  6. Looking for Rose, another trail of tears. Part III

    I spent the last few days exploring the area around Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River while trying to fulfill a desire to have some kind of experience similar to that of Grandma Rose, my Navajo ancestor kidnapped by Utes.  The deserts of the southwest are abstractly beautiful to me, life and death at every turn.  I couldn’t help but to be reminded that a sense of place is very important to your core identity.  However, a place cannot completely define who you are. Grandma Rose spent only the first five years of her life in the land where she was born, she never returned and she never saw her family again.  I often feel like some piece in my life is missing and it makes me sad that I will never know anything about my past Navajo relatives.  I’ll never know which tribal clan my family came from.   

     
  7. My great grandma, a Navajo captured by Utes and sold to a Mormon polygamist frontiersman. | Rose Daniels with beaded gloves. | Utah mid-1900’s

     
  8. Looking for Rose, another trail of tears. Part II

    Reports from the LDS Church and from family interviews in the archives at the University of Utah have said that, this area in Arizona (near Lee’s Ferry) is where my Navajo ancestor Rose was kidnapped in 1845. Rose was four or five-years-old when she was abducted by White River Utes as she tended her family’s sheep. The stories say Rose was brought into the White River Ute tribe as a slave and put to hard work. She didn’t like her captors and escaped many times only to be found again. Due to her rebellion she was sold to Chief Tabby, a Uintah Ute. A few years later, Tabby sold her at Fort Bridger in Wyoming to a polygamist Mormon frontiersman named Aaron Daniels. He wanted her to help with his family chores. They married a few years later. Many fascinating details fill in the gaps between her owners and to the day she died at 104 years old.

    These three blog posts are the first part of a larger project exploring Rose’s life. This set of photos are from my exploration of area around Lee’s Ferry National Monument in Arizona. Geographically, this area is one of the only sloped approaches to and from the Colorado River.  For hundreds of miles in southern Utah and northern Arizona, the river’s banks are inaccessible because it is surrounded by sandstone cliffs. For thousands of years, when water was low, natives found ways to cross the river near Lee’s Ferry. In the 16th century, Spanish missionaries attempted to cross here and by the late 1800’s, Lee’s Ferry saw major traffic from Mormons, gold seekers and newlyweds. The wagon road stretching to and fro was called the “The Honeymoon Trail.”  Hundreds of recently married Mormon colonizers in eastern Arizona used the trail to cross the river in order to travel to St. George, Utah to solemnize their marriage in the LDS temple.

     
  9. Looking for Rose, another trail of tears. Part I

    I call myself a modern-day frontier mutt, the biological result of western expansion. My mother’s side is descendent of Ho-Chunk and my father’s side is part Navajo, then stir in some English, French, Dutch and Irish pioneer blood. The native side always kept my fascination. My relatives told stories about our kidnapped Navajo ancestor Grandma Daniels, my father’s great grandmother. Her captivating life story created fodder for my childhood mountain man daydreams, while through time, the reality of her hardships continue to humble my simple privileged life. Her name is Rose and her journey started with kidnapping, hostile native tribes, mormon frontiersmen and lost spanish gold mines.

    For years I have wanted to make a personal photo project about Rose, but I was complexed by the challenge of creating images for a story about a Navajo child who was born in what was Mexico Territory in 1840. Many people have found her story interesting; there is an abundance of old photos, academic audio interviews, vintage magazine articles, and LDS Church reports on the internet and in the historical archives at the University of Utah. I even found actual copies of the 13th and 14th US Census recording her and her children. 

    I decided not to let the photo challenge stall my momentum and I blindly started my visual journey at the place where her life changed dramatically, Lee’s Ferry, Arizona. Curiosity and spontaneity guided me into the deserts around the Colorado River.

     
  10. I have been reediting a photo project I made in the summer of 2006. Photos from the dusty pathways and barn floors of the Benton County Fair. I put the negatives in my archive and had to forgot about them…see the whole collection here: A Slice of Pie

     
  11. Panorama

     
  12. Iris Boom!

     
  13. I love my three legged girlfriend

     
  14. Following the Millcreek light | Salt Lake City

     
  15. The iris patch | spring 2013