Leigh Kuwanwisiwma Interview


This is Karen Underhill with Northern Arizona University. It is July 19, [2002], and we're at Kykotsmovi, Arizona, to conduct an interview with Leigh Kuwanwisiwma for the "Fire on the Plateau" project.

Underhill: Leigh, thanks so much for allowing us to do this today. Could we start with where and when you were born?

Kuwanwisiwma: My name is Leigh Kuwanwisiwma and I was born here on the Hopi Reservation in 1950.

Underhill: Who were your parents?

Kuwanwisiwma: My parents are Marshall and Pauline Jenkins from the village of Bacavi [Paaqavi]. I'm a member of the Third Mesa Greasewood Clan.

Underhill: Do you have any early memories of fire as a child?

Kuwanwisiwma: I certainly probably contributed to some fires, but in terms of, I guess, my recollection of fires, I recall one down in the canyon one time, near our mother's and grandmother's gardens, and that was a pretty serious fire, with tamarisk and other types of growth down there. It was pretty dangerous down there. I recall my parents and some of us bailing water from the springs and the reservoirs down there to try to control it. That stands out as one kind of a range fire that I'm familiar with as a child.

And then also in our farming activities, I do recall my father and my grandfather basically doing some slash and burn for new fields. And that's still part of our cultural farming behavior. I occasionally, if I choose to expand my farming area, basically burn the piece of ground there to get started on actually controlling the land. So that's still pretty much our behavior for farming, too.

Underhill: Is there a certain time of year that you would have a fire to clear a new field?

Kuwanwisiwma: Generally the fall is what I gather to be the most popular time, after the farming and harvest is in, it's over, that's the most (unclear) time to actually do miscellaneous work out there. Early spring sometimes is also popular for that kind of activity too.

Underhill: The range fire you remember when you were young: was that a lightning strike?

Kuwanwisiwma: I believe it was started by some of my childhood peers. I think that was what really happened. Some of my friends were playing with matches, apparently, and probably mischievously smoking the cedar bark, as we did in our lifetime, days past, of rolling up cedar bark and newspapers and lighting it up and mimicking our parents' smoking. I believe that was started by some of my friends down there. I won't name them at this point.

Underhill: (laughs) No! don't do that! In terms of putting something like that out, was it a community event, did the whole village participate?

Kuwanwisiwma: In that one instance, I do [remember], as I mentioned before, a lot of people coming down. It was in late afternoon, when the womenfolk were down there maintaining their gardens. So when that brush fire started and caught and ran up towards the base of the mesa, it was pretty serious, and I do recall a lot of the villagers coming down and helping out with pails and basically a bucket brigade, trying to get it out. It was a big fire down at the canyon.

Underhill: Were there any teachings that you remember around fire, other than don't play with matches?

Kuwanwisiwma: I don't believe there were any real teachings in terms of like cultural kind of teachings. I think the way that I dealt with those kinds of open fires was basically just being out there with my father and grandfather and uncles, who were doing some clearing of land in that manner. And today, of course, when we still do that, we're pretty careful at a personal level, and in particular, this year, 2002, is extremely dry out there, so I doubt if anyone's really wanting to deal with range fire. (phone rings)

Underhill: Does the Hopi Tribe now have a fire department?

Kuwanwisiwma: Well, the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Keams Canyon has a fire department, but they're primarily volunteers, to some degree, and some personnel from the Bureau of Indian Affairs, that man two tankers up there. The location, of course, is very undesirable, because it's one end of the Hopi Reservation. So in many cases, when we have house fires or community fires, the response time is really long and slow from Keams Canyon, about forty miles away, to the western-most village. So fires are dealt with locally. Over in my village of Bacavi, we had a couple of fires during the winter, and it was basically just bucket brigades and garden hoses to deal with one major house fire, and we couldn't get the fire out quick enough, so it was a total loss for the family -during the winter, too.

Underhill: Can you tell us how you came to be a member of a hotshot crew?

Kuwanwisiwma: My firefighting experience occurred right out of high school in 1968, and also the summer of 1969, as I recall. But our exposure to the Hopi hotshots went earlier, because the Hopis were already being recruited in the early sixties, as I recall, for firefighting. So as a youngster growing up, we knew that our fathers and our uncles and even some of our grandparents were firefighters. So we grew up into that kind of firefighting sort of culture as well. Later, when we were in high school, the firefighters were organized by mesa, so there was a First Mesa Hopi hotshot crew, a Second Mesa hotshot crew, and then a Third Mesa hotshot [crew]. So there were three, basically, groups that the Bureau of Indian Affairs would draw on when fire calls went out. So in the early sixties it became a little bit more organized. So by the time I got out of high school, that was really the only form of employment, too, for some of us, and some of the seasonal employment for our parents, too. So out of high school I signed up, and the physical examination really wasn't as rigorous then, and they were basically looking for bodies, I guess, to call on, so they didn't really scrutinize their health or whatever. If you sign up, you were basically put on the list. But they did advise you, for example, if you wore glasses like I did, if you were called, make sure you have an extra pair. Those were the basic, I think, health advice, if you will, but nothing really vigorous. No testing of strength or vision. You just signed up, and you were on. So when you signed up, then you were basically then issued your duffle bag, and had that ready and so forth. So the way that they notified the villages if there was need for Hopi hotshot crews, they would send these big trucks out -one-ton trucks out into the village, and they would park and honk their horns, and all the firefighters that were available, not out herding sheep or farming, they would basically get their duffle bags with their personal belongings, jump up in the back, and the truck would just go over into Hotevilla, pick up some more people; over to Oraibi, to Kykotsmovi, and be trucked down to Keams Canyon, and, you know, were ready to go then.

In '68 when I signed up, I don't recall the specific name of the fire, but it actually started out north of Pocatello, Idaho. There was a big fire apparently developing, so that's when they called Hopi crew. Part, of course, of what you were issued was that aluminum helmet. It's very important insignia that they put on there. They put that on there with a logo of our sun, the Hopi sun symbol. And it had "Hopi," I think, under there somewhere. And that was our emblem. I still have that somewhere, my firefighting helmet.

Well, anyway, the call went out, I recall, probably sometime almost immediately after I had signed up. So that was my first firefighting experience. From Hotevilla and Bacavi, there was one hotshot crew, and another hotshot crew from Oraibi, Moenkopi, and Kykotsmovi, I believe. So there were two Third Mesa hotshot crews. I don't recall, for the Pocatello fire, whether or not Second Mesa and Third Mesa went, but I do know our Third Mesas were called. So after we got to Keams, then they had these old army buses up there -two of these gray army buses, I think a couple of them. And then they took us up to the Farmington Airport, and along the way we picked up some Navajo hotshot crews, and perhaps maybe some other pueblo people. We eventually got to Farmington, to the airport, and that's where apparently the transportation and logistical center was.

We got up there, there was almost like a military camp up there, tents all over, because there was thousands -all tribal hotshot crews. So we went down there and stayed, I believe at least a night, if I recall. And again, we were being transported by these old World War II army transport planes. And all it had was a long bench on the sides there, and that's where we were putting in, so our backs were right in the middle, and then we were sitting down there. So the next morning, the Hopis got on one plane, and then they took off from Farmington, and went nonstop into Idaho. That was a pretty scary flight, because these were old, rickety, World War II planes, and you know they rattled all over. And for a lot of us, it was our first flight, and turbulence scared them, and we were holding on, and all of that was part of the first experience for me. We eventually got into Pocatello, and it was like we witnessed this year, 2002, this whole area was just smoke-filled. And so the staging area was outside of Pocatello, so we were on the airport, then trucked up there again, and meshed into the bigger fire-fighting crew up there. And it was a huge fire. It went on all summer.

The Idaho fire jumped the Snake River and ignited another fire across the river on Montana, I believe. And then together, it was pretty mountainous, and a lot of ravines, inaccessible. So trying to, for example, do fire lines was almost impossible, because there were really no access roads. Basically they could do anything except have it burn. And then where it was accessible, we'd be doing fire lines, all that. It was a pretty eerie place to be, because at night you could see the glow in the smoke all over. And it was like that -we stayed up there all summer. I don't think we came back until sometime in August. I believe I came back because I had to go to school. So I don't really recall when or how [much] longer the fire went. That was my first experience firefighting, and like I said, I've only had two actual experiences of firefighting, so it's pretty vivid in my memory.

Every evening, for example, as a safety precaution, particularly for some of us who were assigned during the night, you rotate. When you're assigned during the night, even though you didn't use your flashlight, when you returned, you were told to empty the batteries, and they'd give us new ones for the following night. So you see piles of these new flashlight batteries, just mounds of it. And they would basically cut them up and probably trash them. The same way with some of these bigger battery that was off a floodlight. They'd do the same thing, too. It was basically a safety measure, make sure that you have new batteries in your flashlights every night. So gosh, it was that kind of setting up there.

Even then, they did feed you well. We had plenty of water. I think the logistical team that came in with water and food and the fuel were great. And then when you took a break for two days back at the camp, you actually had steaks. You had some really good food and good kitchens. One Hopi guy -actually, my ceremonial godfather went with us that time, and he was an older guy. He had a heck of a time flying. He was just all scared on the first flight from Farmington to Pocatello, to Idaho. So when we landed and then we got transported by helicopter to our first area, it was like we saw during 2002, as far as a lot of wind. So we're going on this helicopter, the turbulence was also very bad. And he was just so scared. He was so scared, going and coming. So after we came back, I think a couple of days later, he just refused to go. He didn't want to go on the helicopter again. So he got assigned to the kitchen. So he became a cook for three months. That's how he did his firefighting.

Underhill: And you had good food!

Kuwanwisiwma: Yes, we had good food, too. So little things like that were interesting to me. I guess one "problem," if you will, I know the Forest Service had to deal with during that time, and I don't think it was a recurring problem, but certainly the Hopi crews were up there for a long time, in June, and especially for the home dances in July, some of the Hopis just simply came home. And then into August, some more Hopis came home for the snake dances. So initially perhaps there were maybe about fifty of us from Third Mesa that went, and eventually we were consolidated into just one hotshot crew, because maybe half of them came home. And that was sort of a problem for the Forest Service, because during that time they would actually issue checks right then. They would have field banks there, and they would issue us checks. So we were able to cash that. So right after that problem occurring, then they started mailing those checks home. So when I came back, I had about five, six checks waiting for me. I don't know, I made a lot of money that year. I was one of the few that stayed for the whole three months up there. When I came back, I had thousands of dollars. You know, they paid you night shift time and weekend time. We worked during the Fourth of July, so holiday -all of those were in place back in the sixties already, so I did well. I mean, for an eighteen-year-old, that was a lot of money. I made more money than my father did that year. So that was quite an experience for me, my first one, staying up there for three months.

Underhill: What kinds of activities did you have available in camp, on your two days off?

Kuwanwisiwma: Cards. Learned how to play poker -didn't know anything about that. All of the Hopis learned how to play poker. All kind of miscellaneous stuff. During your two days off, you're allowed to go into Pocatello, so I recall going over there with some friends and watching a movie there in a theater. It was like, gosh, about maybe ten, fifteen miles away from Pocatello, the big staging area. But other than that, it was pretty boring, especially when we're out in the field. You weren't up to doing anything at night, except to go to sleep. But card games were very popular, and there were makeshift horseshoe kind of games. There's a volleyball net that they set up, too. Showers were these old military portable showers with tanks up there. And during the summer, the water would be pretty warm, so you just turned the faucet on and had, generally, a good shower. Port-a-johns, army kind of stuff, which we were used to anyway. That's all we used in the fifties and sixties on Hopi. I wasn't used to flush toilets anyway. But it was a pretty routine kind of life.

Underhill: What kind of training did they give you prior to putting you out on the line? How to use a Pulaski? How to stay safe?

Kuwanwisiwma: They didn't even have any of those kind of things available. No Pulaskis, nothing like that. But generally you went just to orientation. For us first-timers, we were already, with Hopi hotshot leaders were what they called "straw bosses," who were veterans of firefighting, those Hopi straw bosses. So they really knew what to do. Of course there was the general orientation on safety and things like that, and how to deal with wind shifts, location. You had to, for example, learn where the wind direction was, so if the fire was here, and the wind was going here, you'd avoid hills, because once it gets down, it will just run up kind of things. So then safety, if that occurs, go on the other side of the hill, because that's your best defense against the fire catching up with you. Those basic kind of things I recall being told. The one that's about slurry, you know, talk about slurry on the other firefighting episode. Talk about the slurry coming in, water tankers coming in. But generally your fire lines are in some cases maybe at least two miles away from the main fire, you know, trying to make the fire lines that were so much wide. So there wasn't any real immediate danger from slurries and water tankers dumping it off on you.

Water, plenty of water. We were told to at least consume or drink maybe, I don't know, so much pints or quarts of water -I don't recall what it was, but keep fluid in your system. Nothing really technical, just basic stuff, as I recall.

Underhill: And were those straw bosses for your crews also Hopi?

Kuwanwisiwma: Yes, they were all Hopi. They were veterans, like I said, of firefighting, so they were good people, good leaders.

Underhill: Were there any women firefighters in '68?

Kuwanwisiwma: No. I understand there's some Hopi women or girls firefighting these days, but at that time it was totally men and individuals like us, just out of high school, just boys, little kids fighting fire.

Underhill: Any close calls that first summer in Pocatello?

Kuwanwisiwma: Not that I recall. We did have, on one end of the fire apparently a crash of a helicopter, but fortunately it was on his way back, after leaving the crew off and then coming back, it crash landed. But up there, that fire, the wind was terrible, so the helicopter rides were always an experience. It just tossed us around going into these other areas.

Underhill: Can you tell us about your second summer?

Kuwanwisiwma: The second summer was 1969, and the same thing, I signed up, and then got called into one fire down right around the same area that burned. It was around Payson. As I recall, very mountainous, too, very steep kind of thing. That's where I went that one summer. That was maybe for a month or so, maybe three weeks to a month. But the thing that stands out, out of my second firefighting summer, was that one Hopi got caught in a fire and was burned and died, and that was part of Second Mesa, from Sipaulovi Hotshot Crew. The Hopis were assigned one area, and the Second Mesa was assigned a little bit south of us. Apparently the one shift caught that one crew, and that's what happened. It raced up the hill towards them, and this older guy couldn't make it up on top, and apparently sought shelter in a little cave as best as he could. But it was so bad he was left behind. So that was pretty traumatic that evening, to know that one Hopi was out there somewhere, and they weren't able to locate his remains until almost a week later, after the fire had subsided. It was pretty inaccessible, too, so they (unclear) helicopter in a search crew. So that was pretty traumatic for all of us. I think that subdued the Hopi crew pretty much, as well as from Sipaulovi. An individual by the name of Leland Bennett, Sr. He was the one. Another thing, he's been the only Hopi fatality for all of our firefighting history.

Underhill: At that time were you given fire shelters? Or you were out without?

Kuwanwisiwma: In '69, none of that was available.

Underhill: What kind of clothing did you use at that time?

Kuwanwisiwma: We had generally -you know, the clothing, as I recall, really wasn't anything sort of like required clothing. The only things that were issued to us were some of the florescent vests that we were asked to wear, but no specialized clothing. It was just your own regular clothes, as I recall, back in '68, '69. And on that trip down on '69, that's where we got hit with the slurry. I don't know why. It must have been like maybe a mile away, to half a mile away, from the main fire, when the plane came over and just dumped slurry all over us. And it is wet, sticky stuff. Fortunately, the main body of the slurry didn't fall right on us, but the periphery of that slurry came in and just showered us. And I (unclear) when you go like this, it stays on you for a day or so, you're just so sticky and wet.

Underhill: Do you know what was in it?

Kuwanwisiwma: I don't know what was in it, but we came back as real red-skins, as I recall, that evening. (Underhill laughs) Came out with this reddish kind of....

Underhill: Up here at the Leroux Fire [2001], a media crew got a little bit of that. We missed it. We were so happy.

Kuwanwisiwma: Yes. And up there at Payson, there in the camp, our hotshot crew found a couple of porcupines that sadly were also burned. Apparently they were pretty fresh, and the Hopis brought it home, and we had prime rib that night. They cooked those porcupines, and sliced them and grilled them over an open fire, and it was pretty tasty. My father brought home porcupine occasionally, so as a little kid we grew up eating porcupine, too. So our crew up there did that. One time we even cooked a squirrel. These were generally typically Hopi diet, too. We ate prairie dog and squirrels and porcupine. So Hopis [ate game] at that fire, I recall.

Underhill: With the wildlife, did you see a lot of deer that hadn't made it, or did generally the wildlife get out of the way?

Kuwanwisiwma: Big game, I think, generally got out of the way. I don't recall seeing too much of dead animals, or charred or burned animals. We did run into injured animals. There was a fawn that was left behind one time, too, and that was at camp. There was another crew ran across a fawn that was abandoned. So that was sort of the camp pet too, in Payson, a little one. I don't know what the foresters did with it. The small game, like the porcupines, you would run into carcasses and charred remains.

Underhill: Did the crew from Second Mesa come home after that horrible incident?

Kuwanwisiwma: I believe they did. I believe they did, because that was something that we dwelt on that evening when the word went out that one Hopi firefighter was missing. There was a waiting time for two or three days before they recovered his body. So I don't know if our crew was out. I'm not recollecting details, but I know it was pretty, I think, anxiety to see what was going to be the result of the missing person, and to find out that he'd been found and had died as a result. That was on the Hopis' minds a lot. I do believe that Second Mesa crew came home after they discovered his body. And out of that, I recall -and it's still generally talked about today, because you occasionally do have incidents out there today, that go back to that time that he was caught in the fire -about the risk and so forth. But this year, for example, we had two Hopi firefighters call us [at the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office], because they were in a near area where lightning had struck, and they were within the vicinity of those lightning strikes, so they were asking our advice as to how to cleanse themselves. That's the only one that recently I've run into, for some concerns about lightning strikes, because Hopi has a lot of cultural respect for these storms -especially being struck is a very significant cultural event. You have to be ceremonially cleansed, and in some cases treated too. So that was the only call I received this year.

Underhill: Do you remember any humorous events in camp? And how did crews from all around the West get along?

Kuwanwisiwma: It was like that up at Idaho, too, because a lot of the Hopi men had long last names, like I do. The Forest Service and the rest of the non-Hopi crews used to call the -and they probably still do -they would call the Hopi camps, "Camp Alphabet." (Underhill laughs) Because the long last names with a lot of letters. So they called the Hopi camps, "Camp Alphabet." There was one thing that we got stuck with, Alphabet, Hopis.

I remember one incident where a Hopi was using the port-a-john, and it fell over. They weren't the kind you see, like these nice port-a-johns: they were usually with lumber. So they would have this one section of your john where they would dig holes and put planks (unclear) on top. It just so happened that one side of the hole collapsed while he was sitting there, and just like that, it fell over like that.

Underhill: That's worse than slurry!

Kuwanwisiwma: Yes. That was one [funny] time, a john falling over with a Hopi inside.

Up at Pocatello, there was some kind of dish. It was like an Italian dish that was served at night -a lot of kind of pasta kind of stuff. I don't know if our diet included that much pasta back then, but some of the Hopis refused to eat it because it looked like vomit to them. There were some hungry Hopis that night. Yes, you have a lot of humor.

There's a Hopi guy that started to date a young white girl up in Pocatello. She was one of the seasonal [employees], I think, Forest Service one. So one time, one evening, the Hopis put together a sheet to surprise the guy, because of course when a Hopi guy gets married, usually a bridal robe is woven. So that's a sheet that they kind of dressed up. And sure enough, they were meeting somewhere, so they went over there and put that sheet as a makeshift robe on that white girl. And she didn't know what was happening. The Hopi boy was really embarrassed. They demanded that they get married then that night, and that kind of stuff. So yes, practical jokes.

In one of the tents one night, one Hopi guy put a bull snake in there, to another Hopi's tent. A couple guys that were sleeping in there. And bull snakes are harmless, of course, but some of us are scared of them too. Put them into the tent. . . . They were screaming and yelling in there, because the bull snake apparently had come out of the little place they put it in, and was crawling over them, and they were yelling and screaming. Yes, practical jokes.

There was a contest one night as to see how much -see, we were in two tents. It was sometimes so hot you just slept outside. There was a contest one night as to.... The prize was cigarettes, because cigarettes were prized. They gave each hotshot maybe some cards, because it is boring in camp a lot, you smoke.

Underhill: Seems odd to me -a firefighter smoking.

Kuwanwisiwma: Yes, smoking. And so there was a contest planned that we would vie for cartons of cigarettes, and the challenge was how many of your metal utensils you could steal from the kitchen. So the more you stockpiled and hid -because the kitchen cooks were pretty strict about that, because they had to wash them and then reuse them. But the deal was to steal those utensils and see who came up with the most for that evening. And then the prize would be maybe five, six cartons of cigarettes. So then at suppertime the Hopis sort of....

Underhill: Did you win?

Kuwanwisiwma: No, we didn't win, but there was a couple of guys from Hotevilla that won. They were these older guys, so we were kidding the men because they must be life-time thieves, you know.

It's a pretty routine camp life.

Underhill: Why did you stop firefighting?

Kuwanwisiwma: You know, I don't know. Those were my only two years, '68 and '69. It's probably because I must have got a summer job with the tribe in 1970 that just brought in a little bit of money for me, rather than firefighting. Because I remember in 1970, I think, I was working for the tribal secretary's office as some kind of student intern, too. So it's probably things like that, that just cut my career short. The two years I went were pretty interesting for me. And because I only went two years, I remember them very vividly.

Underhill: What advice would you give to a young Hopi person who wants to be a hotshot crew member?

Kuwanwisiwma: I think the legacy of the Hopi hotshots should be continued. I think they are very renowned and have a long history, back into the fifties, of Hopi crews fighting fires. And I think the honor and the legacy of that history should be continued by people who are interested in firefighting. And I really feel that maybe a current hotshot crew should -after the fire season this year should be recognized. I think those hotshot crews should be remembered, and the history of our Hopi firefighting hotshot crews should be.... You know, part of our history. Many people think that the Hopi cultural preservation emphasis is strictly on cultural history, but different types of influences shape who we are, and one of them is firefighting -as much as the modern music culture, too. A lot of good Hopi musicians. In the question of firefighting, there's a long, long history, and a lot of memory by firefighters. So to the younger generation of Hopis, I think the honor and the pride relative to the history of the Hopi hotshot crew should be continued.

Underhill: Do you have any sense of how many Hopi tribal members have been with the hotshot crews over the years?

Kuwanwisiwma: Hundreds. I mean, hundreds. Up to Pocatello, like I said, I think there must have been at least fifty from just Third Mesa alone. And it's every year the Hopi hotshot crews are called, so there are hundreds of Hopi firefighters. I understand there's about fifty today that are in a couple of crews in Hopi. That's what I understand.

Underhill: Sounds like a great exhibit.

Kuwanwisiwma: It should be a great exhibit, if we can get some of the histories recorded, and some of the exhibit material pulled together. I think in the future, the tribe should have an exhibit and a history presentation on Hopi firefighting.

Underhill: What change have you seen climatically over time, if any, at Hopi and Northern Arizona?

Kuwanwisiwma: Well, I just -especially now, I have experienced personally severe droughts in my lifetime. This is the most severe, simply because we have an opinion about the droughts and because we're practicing farmers, too -traditional dry farming farmers. And this year is extremely bad. I mean, as a Hopi person, dealing with my farm, this is the worst I've ever seen in terms of the winter season, or the lack of a winter, if you will -versus the spring plant rejuvenation, which was very little. And then now, in April, May, attempting to farm and plant, this is the worst I've ever seen in my personal lifetime. Ninety-six [1996] was bad, but it wasn't this bad. That was another time there was a very extreme drought, in '95-'96. And in terms of other time periods of drought, I've experienced that, but I don't recall the exact years. But I think over the last three, four years particularly, I've seen generally -except for '98 -'97-'98 was a good winter and a good summer monsoon, so I measure my opinions on the amount of harvest I get. Ninety-eight [1998] was a very bountiful year for me, a very good season, moisture-wise. But in between I've seen some levels of less precipitation. But this is the worst I've ever experienced. We see that in animal behavior. I've seen, for example, sightings of porcupine down at the springs. They're very reserved animals, they like to stay aside. But the lack of forage, which is where they get their moisture, I would think, they're coming right down into the village to developed springs, so there've been sightings of porcupine, and also sightings of deer going to these developed springs around the villages. You rarely see that. As a result of the drought, you also see the collection of different songbirds real near the Hopi villages, rather than out in the washes, where these other springs [are]. So animal and bird behavior show evidence that something is happening out there.

The farms that are surviving these days are now being impacted by rodents and prairie dogs, cottontail, jackrabbits. Our corn plants are the only fresh plants out there. So my uncle generally advises us, "Well, they need food, so let them eat."

Underhill: I heard on KUYI the other day a plea that village water is not for irrigation, that it's for drinking.

Kuwanwisiwma: Right.

Underhill: So it's come to that point?

Kuwanwisiwma: Well, it is. We have a big demand on our water systems for livestock. And so some farmers were hauling water out there to their cornfields. It's a big strain on our water systems out here. The cattle, I know, are probably priority. One rancher told me....

Underhill: [We are just about out of tape. I believe you have an appointment at the cultural center, so we will stop here. Thank you very much for sharing your reminiscences with us today.]