Fawn Douglas, Where the Creator Goes to Dream (View of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge and the story of the Bighorn Sheep), mixed media, 24” x 18”, 2019

 

As the oral tradition has passed on the histories, it has been told that the Desert National Wildlife Refuge has strong significance to the Southern Paiute beliefs. The area provides an open pallet for the Creator to dream of all the living things. Dreams become reality as the wildflowers formed and the animals were gifted to the lands and people. The Nah-gah, or desert bighorn sheep, was loved so much by Shinob that he gifted him two large earrings that curve and frame his face. The Creator made the Paiutes as well. When we were at a time of struggling, the Nah-gah sacrificed itself so that our ancestors could survive. To honor the nah-gah, we have stories, songs and dances. We also have a covenant to protect the Nah-gah and his home. The large population of bighorn sheep have had their migration pattern disturbed due to military exercises in parts of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge. We are currently fighting the Government to put a stop to the Air Force taking more of the Refuge for their “red flag” bombing exercises that disturb the Nah-gah. 

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