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EAGLE AIR MED When Dependability is Critical


Spring - 2009

a quarterly publication of eagle air med

Feature Article: The Eagle Was Created in the Cliffs of Shiprock By Lucille Mescale Hunt

Almost all Navajo families tell the stories of the more prominent landmarks. The sacred landmarks include mountains, mesas, valleys, rivers, streams and lakes.

The Navajos have stories about their

local geographical landmarks and how certain animals are created in those places. These stories are sacred and handed down from generation to generation. Almost all Navajo families tell the stories of the more prominent landmarks. The sacred landmarks include mountains, mesas, valleys, rivers, streams or lakes. All animals are sacred and are created at these prominent places. Because Navajoland is vast and the people are separated by great distances, different versions of the stories exist. Most of the traditional stories are not written down. Navajo folklore have deep meaning and are teaching tools about life. I

have chosen to share a story about Shiprock, one of the geographical landmarks on Navajoland. This is the story I learned as a child and have told it to my family for many years. It is about how two evil young monster birds were turned into friendly useful birds. There is one story about Shiprock, that it was once a bird that turned into a rock. My story is about the Hero Brothers who killed the monster birds that nested in the cliffs of Shiprock. This is only a small part of the story about the twin brothers, Monster Slayer and Born of the Water. The whole story takes at least two days or four nights to tell. It details the trials of their journey to their father, Sun Bearer. While there they were

tested to prove their heritage, after which they received magical weapons to kill the man-eating monsters that roamed Navajoland. I have shortened this portion of the story in the interest of limited space. Monster Slayer and his twin brother, Born of the Water, are the sons of Changing Woman. It was Monster Slayer who went after the monster birds that nested in the cliffs of Shiprock. When his mother told him where the monster birds lived he traveled many days on foot to get there. As he approached Shiprock, he discovered there were other monsters living in the area which he had to kill. On that day his goal was to hunt the monster birds. (continued on next page)

The Eagle Was Created in the Cliffs of Shiprock...continued from previous page The dreadful birds killed their prey by throwing it against the cliff, which killed it instantly. Then it was fed to their young in the nest below. Their nest was made in the crater of the rock. The male monster bird was first to return to the nest. He flew so easily with his wide wingspan, flapping and gliding. When he spotted Monster Slayer he attacked. He flew in and out from all four sacred directions. He missed him three times because Monster Slayer was able to evade the monster bird as it flew at him. Finally, when the monster bird flew at him from the north, the monster bird caught him and swept him up with his huge powerful talons. He swiftly flew to the top of Shiprock and threw him against the cliff. However, Monster Slayer was not injured because he wore his live eagle feather for protection. Monster Slayer landed in the nest with two hungry young monster birds. He quickly ripped open an animal intestine filled with blood that he had hung around his neck from killing a monster earlier that day and splashed the blood into the faces of the young monster birds. Then he crawled between them to hide from the fierce parent bird. The male bird landed on the east point of the cliff to watch his youngsters feed. Because the young monster birds were startled by the splash of blood in their faces Monster Slayer was able to keep them at bay. They yelled to their father that their meal was still alive, but their father only encouraged them to divide the meal equally and flew off to hunt for himself, for he too was hungry. Monster Slayer then stood in front of the young monster birds and cocked his bow with an arrow and pointed it at

them. He threatened to kill them if they didn’t tell him when their parents would return home and where their resting places were. This was so he could take good aim and not miss with his arrow. The frightened young monster birds told him that their father would return when

there was a male storm with thunder and lightning and that their father’s resting place was at the highest point on Shiprock. Through their quivering voices they also told him that their mother would return when there was a quiet and gentle female rain. Soon there was a thunder storm and the male monster bird flew in and landed on the highest point of Shiprock . Monster Slayer was ready for him with his powerful lightening arrow. He shot and hit him. The monster bird fell to his death below. Then he waited until the rain clouds formed once again and the gentle rain began to fall and the mother monster bird flew in with a meal for her young ones. She too was shot with the magical lightning arrow and fell to her death. The hungry young monster birds screeched and tried to fly at Monster Slayer. He caught one of them by his feet, turned him upside down and whirled him around and around speaking sacred words. He empowered him to continue the generations of a sacred bird that provides sacred plumes, feathers and strong bones to make useful tools for the people, thereby making him a useful bird—the proud Eagle. The monster bird that was now an eagle promised he would never harm the people again and flew away. Then Monster Slayer grabbed the other monster bird, turned him upside down and whirled him around and around by his feet and spoke sacred words to him like he did with the first monster bird. He told him that he will be a messenger bird. As a messenger bird he will tell the people of good and bad news and warn them of dangers. The monster bird, in his new form, promised to be a good messenger and never harm the people again. He then flew to a nearby rock point as an owl. There he sat turning his head in all directions with ease watching out for the people. As Eagle Air Med employees, we strive to be like the twin brother, Monster Slayer. We bring not only peace and harmony to the people we serve, but hope for healing and a healthier life. To do this we use sacred words, healing Náánágo ‘&nda. medicine, and magical flying Lucille Mescale Hunt machines. We use them to Eagle Air Med help accomplish our mission, which is to provide safe, compassionate and efficient air medical transportation.

Kayenta Airport Reopens In today’s world there are many things we seem to take for granted – family, friends, and our health, just to name a few. However, residents of Kayenta including the Eagle Air Med crews who call Kayenta home, understand that the strip of asphalt on the east side of town is something that they can’t take for granted.

James Hunt, Eagle Air Med Vice President address the audience at the Kayenta airport dedication ceremony

In June of 2008, the airport was shut down so Kayenta Township could perform a needed overhaul of the facility. Township worked with Armstrong Consulting to expand, repave, and upgrade the airstrip. The facility reopened in January. During the seven months without an airport, Kayenta Health Center and Eagle Air Med crews adjusted to get patients transported to and from the healthcare facility. One such adjustment for Eagle Air Med included getting clearance to fly patients from the Peabody Coalmine airstrip. Eagle Air Med was very grateful to Peabody for their cooperation and for providing a viable solution, even though the travel distance and added weather considerations were not ideal. “All of our Kayenta medical crews and pilots are very happy with the reopening of the airport," said Jason Lin, a Kayenta resident and Eagle Air Med Chief Flight Nurse. “The reopening of the airport means once again we have a plane permanently based in Kayenta, this shortens transport times for Kayenta patients and also helps us provide faster response times to support other area facilities such as Tuba and Chinle."

Eagle Air Med Service Area

The new airport also includes an new FAA-certified Automated Weather Operating System (AWOS) which provides weather forecasting for safe and efficient aviation operations. “Perhaps even more exciting for us is the new weather reporting service at the airport,” added Lin. “This is a much needed service that fills a big gap in reporting coverage allowing us to make better informed decisions about flight safety. Previously weather was reported from Page, Blanding or Window Rock and the weather in those places often differs from Kayenta. " At an opening dedication of the new airport held in March, Anthony Peterman, former Kayenta Community Development Director said, “The heart of this airport is about saving lives.” The reopening of the airport helps Eagle Air Med crews transport patients safely and efficiently, confirming that the airport is about saving lives — something all area residents should be thankful for and something that is not taken for granted.


When Dependability is Critical

Eagle Air Med P.O. Box 305 Blanding, Utah 84511

Everyday Stories

In appreciation

Recently, Eagle Air Med received a letter from an individual that was transported by Eagle Air Med crews. The patient stated, “I want to send my appreciation for the great care I received from the pilot, nurse and EMT...everyone was comforting and efficient with hardly a bump flying during adverse conditions. Please give each of those people my thanks. They made it possible for me to be diagnosed and treated so I could return home quickly. “

This type of letter gives us hope that we are living up to the Eagle Air Med Vision Statement which says: We aspire to be an example to the air medical industry by raising the bar and exceeding industry standards. We have the finest equipment and skill level industry-wide, and provide the highest level of service and satisfaction to all persons at all times.

Eagle Air Med Spring Newsletter 2009  

Eagle In Flight - JayMorr Photography

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