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Author Topic: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "---December 1947  (Read 33103 times)

eymurphey

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I was recently doing some research for a thread on JERRY'S NOSTALGIA BOARD, and came across a series of pictures from the LIFE MAGAZINE PHOTO ARCIVE that were labeled "NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN" and showed trucks from the NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES delivering food and goods to the Navajo Indians of New Mexico.

The pictures were taken in 1947 and sparked my interest since I had spent part of a summer back in 66 in Ganado, Arizona in a Navajo Mission.

An internet inquiry into this event, which was also called "The Mile of Trucks" produced only two "hits".  The first was actually a mention of this incident coming from a UFO magazine ---


Food for Navajos

The event was in December of
1947 and was called the “Navajo Brotherhood Caravan”
(or the “mile of trucks”) and
ran supplies from Albuquerque to Gallup,
NM. (roughly 90 miles south of Shiprock)
where the Indians took possession of
the supplies.  The Navajos were having a
tough time of it and people throughout
the state were helping out.


The second "hit" came from an article that appeared in TIME MAGAZINE ----


INDIANS: Reprieve
Monday, Dec. 22, 1947


"Shocked at the discovery that the Navajo Indians face starvation and even death this winter (TIME, Nov. 3), the nation suddenly began sending them relief. The American Red Cross appropriated $100,000 for "immediate stopgap aid," rushed disaster relief workers to the barren Navajo country. A Navajo Trail Relief Caravan Association gathered up food and clothing in California, started seven truckloads on the way to the reservation. Utah citizens helped too. Congress, conscience-stricken after neglectful years, voted a $2,000,000 relief fund for the Navajo and Hopi tribes."



I think this is an important piece, and unfortunately a forgotten piece of trucking history. It must have produced  a great deal of pride for the NAVAJO FREIGHT LINE as it gave back to its' namesake, the NAVAJO nation.


What I can't believe, is the lack of further information about this event -- so that is where you, the reader, come in. If you have any stories about this or know more of the story ---

PLEASE SHARE IT HERE!!!
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 07:14:11 AM by eymurphey »


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eymurphey

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2011, 05:59:28 AM »
Hope you all enjoy these pictures from LIFE MAGAZINE -- Yes, I know this ISN'T a NAVAJO TRUCK, but is the beginning of the caravan.

NAVAJO RELIEF CARAVAN LEAVING PALM SPRINGS CALIFORNIA

« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 07:18:48 AM by eymurphey »


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eymurphey

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2011, 06:16:58 AM »
THE MILE OF TRUCKS




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eymurphey

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2011, 06:18:30 AM »
COMING INTO TOWN

 

 

 

 

 

 
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 10:08:02 AM by eymurphey »


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eymurphey

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2011, 06:20:04 AM »
UNLOADING THE GOODS

 

 


REMEMBER THE "NAVAJO"

 
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 06:27:07 AM by eymurphey »


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Jerry Austin

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2011, 07:48:07 AM »
Hey, George:

OUTSTANDING collection of rare photos!!!!

Thanks for posting them, as well as sharing the story behind them!

NEVER knew of this before, and, it is not only an event that document TRUCKING history, but AMERICAN history as well!

GREAT WORK, my friend!! :)

Jerry
"THE RUMBLE OF THE DIESEL, THE SHIFTIN' OF THE GEARS! THE RHYTHM WHEN HE'S MOVIN' IS MUSIC TO HIS EARS! CANNONBALL! CANNONBALL!"

Jerry Austin

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2011, 07:53:46 AM »
Hey, George:

Just did a quick 'net search......outside of what you came across, there is NOTHING ELSE WHATSOEVER (that I could find) dealing with with the "CARAVAN".

You would think that, something of this historical significance, would be better documented, at least via internet sources!

Well, at least, thanks to you, others will know of this historic trucking event!

Jerry
"THE RUMBLE OF THE DIESEL, THE SHIFTIN' OF THE GEARS! THE RHYTHM WHEN HE'S MOVIN' IS MUSIC TO HIS EARS! CANNONBALL! CANNONBALL!"

eymurphey

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2011, 08:05:30 AM »
Just found this on HANK'S, and noticed that this unit #62 participated in the caravan ---

  


Same unit -- different trailer --

   
« Last Edit: March 19, 2011, 10:12:36 AM by eymurphey »


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Jerry Austin

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2011, 07:22:29 AM »
Hey, George:

Thanks for this latest!

I still cannot fathom as to WHY there seems to be no record of this on the 'net, with the exception of the rare photos you were most fortunate to discover thus far.

IMHO, it would indeed seem as though there would be a good deal more documenting such an important (and historic) event.

Surely, there must be other documention SOMEWHERE out there......perhaps, in the archives/files of some museum/historical society in the area where the NAVAJO people once flourished.......just a thought I wanted to mention......

Again, GOOD WORK, my friend, for bringing to light this most fascinating (and historically significant) event!

Jerry
"THE RUMBLE OF THE DIESEL, THE SHIFTIN' OF THE GEARS! THE RHYTHM WHEN HE'S MOVIN' IS MUSIC TO HIS EARS! CANNONBALL! CANNONBALL!"

eymurphey

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2011, 05:21:11 PM »
A little more background on the plight of the Navajo during the winter of 1947, and what lead up to the forming of this caravan.

TIME MAGAZINE ARTICLE --- November 3, 1947

INDIANS: Winter of Death
Monday, Nov. 03, 1947

As the chill of autumn descended on their piñon-dotted desert lands last week, the Navajo Indians prepared their hearts for punishment at the hands of their old enemy, the United States of America. When winter came—the 84th winter since Kit Carson had defeated them in honorable war—it seemed almost certain that many of them were to die.
It was a difficult thing for the Navajos to understand. The U.S. had had its chance to kill them after their surrender in 1864. Blue-clad, tobacco-chewing U.S. cavalrymen had rounded them up, marched them like cattle 300 miles from Arizona Territory to New Mexico's Fort Sumner, kept them prisoners for four years. But when the Navajos agreed to peace "from this day forward," they had been freed and helped to start a new life.
They were given 3,500,000 arid, mesa-studded acres in Arizona and New Mexico; a reservation which was gradually expanded until it was almost three times the size of Massachusetts. The tribe grew from 8,000 to 56,000 people. They had been encouraged to build a rude economy on sheep-raising; as the years passed, they accumulated flocks totaling over a million animals. There was mutton to eat and wool to weave, and silver jewelry for the wrists of their women.
But in 1933 the Government discovered that its encouragement of sheep-raising was a grave mistake. The Navajo country was so disastrously overgrazed that the land was washing away with every rain and blowing away with every wind. The U.S. ordered the Indians to begin doing away with their flocks.
Soldier's Pay. At first, the enormous change in the Navajos' way of life did not work insuperable hardship. During the prewar years, many a tribesman worked on CCC projects. After Pearl Harbor, more than 12,000 got wartime jobs off the reservation, and 3,600 young men went into the armed services and sent their pay back home.
But when the war ended the jobs ended; with living costs mounting, all but a handful trickled back to the reservation. The Government, which had all but destroyed the Navajos' means of livelihood, did nothing to help them find new ways of making a living.
Insulated from the 20th Century by the desert and by neglect, they still live, for the most part, as they did in the 1860s. Their women wear flowing skirts copied from those worn by wives of frontier cavalry officers. Their shelter is still the "hogan," a windowless, one-room log structure with a hole in the dirt-covered roof to let out smoke. They still live far from streams because unfriendly spirits inhabit them; most must haul their water from one to 15 miles.
They are among the most destitute and underprivileged of U.S. minorities. They have no vote. About two-thirds know no English (there are schools for only 7,000 of their 24,000 children). The Navajos' tuberculosis rate is 14 times that of the U.S. as a whole, but there are only 182 hospital beds for their t.b. patients ( TIME, Sept. 8 ). There are too few doctors, only two dentists, only two field nurses on the reservation.
Bread & Coffee. But last week these deprivations seemed like minor matters. Great numbers of the Navajos are facing starvation. Only 161 of their 11,117 families own as many as 200 sheep—the number needed to maintain a mere subsistence level of living. Without big irrigation projects (which could make the reservation capable of supporting 35,000 people at most), their desolate lands are almost useless for agriculture.
Last week, the Office of Indian Affairs was doing its feeble best to bring in some food. It promised to ship two carloads of potatoes a month. But from 25,000 to 30,000 Navajos were lingering in the state between malnutrition and starvation. The whole tribe's diet averaged only 1,200 calories (the U.S. average: 3,450) and many have nothing to eat but bread and coffee. Assistant Secretary of the Interior William E. Warne visited the reservation and last week announced a ten-year, $80 million plan for solving the Navajo problem.
But all this meant nothing if Congress did not vote the money. And the Navajos had little faith in high-sounding plans. The Government had welshed on its promises before. Last year, a group of old men had gone to Congress and asked: "What is to be done with the Navajo people?" Congress had replied by doing nothing.
And even if Congress were to change its heart, there was no likelihood that it could do so before the regular session in January. By January, if the winter was hard, there would be snowdrifts on the reservation and many of the children and old men would be dead.








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Jerry Austin

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2011, 05:40:25 PM »
Hey, George:

As I stated earlier, I think it might be worth your time to try to contact some NAVAJO museum, or, at least, the libraries at Palm Springs and Albuquerque.......perhaps they have some old photos of the "CARAVAN" in their archives, or, at the very least, be able to point you in the right direction.

Also, IMHO, something of this historical significance just might have been filmed by a newsreel company.

Just a thought....

Jerry
"THE RUMBLE OF THE DIESEL, THE SHIFTIN' OF THE GEARS! THE RHYTHM WHEN HE'S MOVIN' IS MUSIC TO HIS EARS! CANNONBALL! CANNONBALL!"

eymurphey

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2011, 05:55:10 PM »
More from TIME MAGAZINE -- "THE PLIGHT OF THE NAVAJO"

A Letter From The Publisher, Dec. 15, 1947

Dear Time-Reader,
For more than a year now the U.S. press has been doing a praiseworthy job in bringing the tragic plight of the Navajo Indian to the attention of American readers. TIME'S part in making public this injustice recently produced at our Paris office a U.S. Army sergeant with $77.50 in cash and a request: would we please forward the money to the starving Navajos in New Mexico?
The sergeant and his enlisted and officer friends in the American occupation forces in Germany had read about the Navajo Indians' plight in TIME'S Nov. 3 issue, and had been moved to make their contribution toward alleviating it. Their typically American gesture is an example of the scores of concerned letters and gifts of money, food and clothing we have received from TIME readers since the Navajo story was published.
These donations should be credited to a sizable segment of the whole U.S. press—for TIME'S story was merely the most recent of a long series of such articles. Regional newspapers like the Gallup (N. Mex.) Independent had long been recording facts about the Navajos—especially since 1933, when the Government crippled the Navajos' crude economy based on sheep-raising by ordering them—because of overgrazing and the resultant soil erosion—to begin doing away with their flocks.
Another regional newspaper, the Santa Fe New Mexican, published a series of articles last year that gave TIME'S Denver correspondent, Barren Beshoar, his first indication that things were going badly with the Navajos. He made a trip to the reservation to see for himself and TIME ran the story in its August 12, 1946 issue.
This fall, reporters for the Denver Post, the Phoenix Arizona Republic and other newspapers in Navajo territory found that many Navajos were faced with starvation this winter unless something were done for them. Writers for various U.S. magazines like Harper's found the same thing—as did TIME'S Beshoar when he again visited the reservation to confirm the facts for TIME'S Nov. 3 story.
As many of you undoubtedly know from reading your newspapers and TIME, one result of this effort by the U.S. press to tell its readers about the Navajos' plight has been a cascade of letters to Congress and the White House. Significantly enough, several Congressional committees have now visited the Navajo reservation. Another result, of course, has been the multitude of contributions from all over the U.S. for Navajo relief. In case there could be any doubt of their necessity, a letter we have received from the justly famed American Friends Service Committee speaks for the accuracy of the press' reporting: ". . . One of our representatives . . . [has] returned from a trip he made for us to the Navajo territory. He confirmed everything that TIME had revealed. . . . We are sending immediately 8,000 pieces of warm winter clothing, 1,000 pairs of shoes, 4,000 new children's garments. . . ."
In this instance, however, Congressman Ben F. Jensen, Navajo advocate and chairman of the House subcommittee on Interior Department appropriations, stated the case for the U.S. press when he said: "I shall be forever grateful for this publishing of the facts. It makes the job of getting something done in the Congress easier when people know the facts."

Cordially, James A. Linen




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Jerry Austin

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2011, 10:53:44 PM »
Hey, George:

As per our phone conversation last evening, you might also consider that PERHAPS this "CARAVAN" might well have made it into the newsreels.

Don't forget, at that time, newsreels were the primary means for folks to see "live" news events, even if they might be days....or even weeks.....old before they saw them in their neighborhood movie theatre.

Too, as mentioned earlier, local historical societies, libraries, and newspapers just might have something in their archives......

Jerry

BTW: Check your e-mail!<G>
« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 06:55:30 AM by Jerry Austin »
"THE RUMBLE OF THE DIESEL, THE SHIFTIN' OF THE GEARS! THE RHYTHM WHEN HE'S MOVIN' IS MUSIC TO HIS EARS! CANNONBALL! CANNONBALL!"

eymurphey

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2011, 08:04:51 AM »
Location of one of the pictures posted --- Albuquerque, New Mexico, Route 66, Maisel's Curios is now a landmark, Maisel's Indian Trading Post -- thankfully some of the past still exists!!!

 
« Last Edit: March 21, 2011, 08:08:31 AM by eymurphey »


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Jerry Austin

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2011, 09:58:13 AM »
Hey, George:

See what happens when you listen to your buddy Jerry??<G>
"THE RUMBLE OF THE DIESEL, THE SHIFTIN' OF THE GEARS! THE RHYTHM WHEN HE'S MOVIN' IS MUSIC TO HIS EARS! CANNONBALL! CANNONBALL!"

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Re: NAVAJO FREIGHT LINES --" NAVAJO BROTHERHOOD CARAVAN "
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2011, 09:58:13 AM »

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