Category Archives: Reservation

Elk Parts


October 4, 2015

Elk parts. They come once a year. Archery season opened a few weeks ago and rifle season follows it up. My bow hunting friends are saying this is a season unlike any other. The elk are not traveling normal trails or hanging in their normal high country valleys. Maybe there will be few elk parts this year.

I never imagined elk parts growing up in the rural canyons of southern California. Our deer are small in stature and when it comes to meat, they are little more than a big rabbit compared to an elk. Though small is size, being of a landscape of canyon sage, the flavor of their meat rivaled any Cascade elk. The black-tailed deer of sage country may not be the biggest of deer, but they are right up there with the smartest of deer—and a hair coat the blends beautifully with the sage landscape. The cageyness of these deer meant many hunters spent their time enjoying the landscape and returning home to eat beef. That might be why I never saw another hunter in the ridges and canyons around home, and why “I’m going up north to hunt, these deer are to small and not worth the time,” was often heard leading up to hunting season.

I knew I was not in the landscape of my youth when hunting season rolled around my first fall in White Swan. Growing up rural, forty minutes from town is one thing, living in a rural town is something different. The proximity of folk to one another in town (even a town of 500) leads to a different way of thinking than the open country. The old adage that everyone knows everyone in a small town carries a bit of truth. One of those truths is folk have a very good idea of which neighbor struggles economically and who does not—including their dogs.

When the first elk came out of the hills, that first fall, and after they were quartered and cut into steaks, roasts, and jerky, many hunters went about town giving their meat to the elderly and families who struggled. The knowledge being, the hunter is capable of hunting again and many others are not.

Two events made me notice how this new place was different from back home. One, two hunters showed up at the parsonage and offered us meat for no other reason than placing value on the community’s spiritual leaders. Place matters. When two elk roasts were lifted out of the back of the pickup, there was more meat than any one deer I hunted as a youth. My place was no longer the landscape of canyons and sage. Continue reading

God is in the Flies


July 19, 2015
[Post By Selys Rivera: Yakama Christian Mission Intern 2015]

When I first arrived at JustLiving Farm/Yakama Christian Mission this summer, I was determined to prove I was more than just a city girl. So to detox from city life, I sat down on a bench and willed myself to connect with nature.

There were stunning mountain ridges that sat patiently for my acknowledgement. The wind danced with the grass, the tree branches, and the flowers, expecting a high score from me for the performance. The crickets chirped, the sprinklers sang, and the cows mooed in a well-rehearsed musical composition. Together, shades of blue met green, spurts of red, and pink, creating a canvas unlike any I had ever seen. As I watched, the fresh scent of grass kissing flowers introduced itself to my nose. The wind danced with my hair then and I suddenly realized that everything I experienced expected me to sigh one word: “breathtaking.”

But I couldn’t and here’s why.

Butterflies waved as they passed by, merely implying their greeting, but not the flies. The ants continued their workday below me, too busy to chat, but not the flies. Unlike the butterflies, simply gliding to their destination didn’t satisfy the flies. Instead, they anxiously zipped here and there, unaware of how to fill the extra time. They weren’t as busy as the ants either, so they constantly buzzed their anxiety to each other, their choices in conversation local always near my ears.

As a result, the more I tried to enjoy time away from my iPhone, laptop, Netflix, and kindle, the more I struggled against one fly in particular. It must have realized what I was trying to do and found it hilarious. It didn’t think I could truly unplug from my gadgets and connect to nature. It laughed at even the thought of it – buzz, ha, buzz, ha! Continue reading

Table Across the Street from the Reservation School


January 11, 2015

Sitting, at the southwest table.
The Cougar Den is the only
gas station restaurant in town.

First bell rang ten minutes ago.
He sits, black cap backwards, at the opposite
wall table, two in front.

She walks in,
shawl dances around her, as
wind gusts through shutting door.

A glance across the room,
she strides to counter, orders,
then coffee in hand fringes soar as birds.

Black bill rises, like duck of water
after eating in the shallows,
head drops and hides.

Shawl spreads like hawk wings,
her stride summons the wind.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in school?”

The bill is still, the air is quiet.
Elder voice shivers blue and green fringes,
duck quivers as hawk circles.

Shawl hand rests on bill shoulder,
ducks bob on water,
feet dangling in trauma.

Continue reading

Wild Horses of the Yakama Nation

By Tamalyn Kralman

April 27, 2012

Last Saturday the JustLiving Farm and Yakama Mission hosted Spring Horse.  Spring Horse brings amateur and professional photographers together to experience the wild horses of the Yakama Reservation and to enhance their gift by developing ongoing relationships.  These photographers give us their unique perspective of the landscape.

Spring Horse 2013: April 20

By Roger Lynn

By Roger Lynn

By Doris Steeg

By Roger Lynn

By Tamalyn Kralman

By Roger Lynn

By Roger Lynn

© David B. Bell 2012

Spring Horse

Photographer David Biddle

March 17, 2012
My Future
Yakama Mission
JustLiving Farm

SPRING HORSE—Yakama Reservation April 21, 2012

Spring Horse is a day for anyone who wants to experience the wild as few have the opportunity.  From sunrise to sunset, you have the chance to spend a partial or full day with photographers who will help you frame a photo of wild beauty.  BUT, you do not have to be a photographer to enjoy the day!  If you are simply interested in experiencing the wild horses of the Yakama Reservation, join us!  Bring your binoculars, spotting scopes, compact cameras, DSLR cameras, whatever fits your needs.

There is no fee for the day, but donations are encouraged.  All donations go to MY FUTURE, the art-based after-school program of the Yakama Mission.

We are lucky to have five great photographers whose photo’s call for pause: David Biddle, Roger Lynn, Jeff Kent, Rebecca and Andy Lee.

Save the date of April 21 for Spring Horse and send an email to to receive further info as it becomes available and reserve a spot for the day!

Spring Horse is a collaborative opportunity provided by the Yakama Mission and JustLiving Farm—Good Spirit, Good Land, Good Food.

© David B. Bell 2012