JUNE 12, 1941
WASHINGTON, Wednesday—Yesterday afternoon, a delegation of Navajo Indians came to see me. They brought me a very beautifully woven small rug. It evidently has much symbolic meaning, but since the woman who wove it could not speak English, it was a little difficult for me to understand the full meaning of the pattern.
This group lives on the reservation which covers a more or less desert area in northern Arizona, New Mexico and southern Utah. Their nearest railroad station is Flagstaff, Arizona, some 200 miles away. Their livelihood consists in raising sheep and such minor crops as they can irrigate.
The government experts have decided that they must raise fewer sheep and they see starvation before them. Ten acres of irrigated land is all they can be given. They have no outside market that is within reach, and they have come to Washington to appeal to the Indian Bureau in the Department of the Interior and the Indian Affairs Committee in Congress.
I hope that some solution can be worked out for them, for it was a sad little group, doubly so because they are so bewildered. Not more than fifteen percent of the younger generation learn English, they told me, for while they have schools, they are inadequate. They have a hospital and medical care, but that too is inadequate to cope with their needs.
They are increasing in population and to cut down their food supply seems near starvation. These puzzled and rather helpless real natives of our land, certainly have had a hard time!
Last night, Mr. and Mrs. Armand Denis showed us part of their moving picture taken in Burma. It is beautiful and most exciting. The native method of paddling canoes is not only original but very graceful. The gripping scene, however, is the one where the priestess visits the snake god, the great and dangerous cobra. She calls him out of his cave and goes through the necessary ritual which must be performed if her prayers are to be answered.
We also saw a short film on the Navy called, "The Battle," which is excellently done. Another film explained the Treasury Defense Bonds and Stamps. The large sale of these last month shows that the people of this country not only want to help the defense effort with their savings, but that they have confidence in the future of America.
A group of people is coming to the White House this afternoon to go on the air and to give their reasons for participation by all the people in the Defense Bond and Stamps drive. It will help now and in the recovery period when peace returns to the world.