Tin Can Wash Interview

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Pages: 9

After interviewing my grandfather over emails, I asked him to record some experiences he had while working on the Navajo Reservation as a social service worker. Before he shared three of his stories he told me some useful background information.
In January of 1967 my grandfather finished his requirements to graduate college, but there was still another semester before graduation. Since he was going to major in Social Sciences he decided he would like to work as a social representative or worker. So, he applied for the state register for Utah and was put on the register as waiting to be employed. About a month later he received a phone call from the director of the social services department in Blanding, Utah, a small rural town near the Navajo
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My grandpa’s job was to check on the projects every other week. On one of these days he was going to see how the project was going and see if the men who were supposed to be helping were there. He went to the trading post and asked where the men were working for the day. The trader said the men had gone to an area called Tin Can Wash. Tin Can Wash earned its name because in the Navajo Reservation there was no garbage pickup system so, the Natives would have to take care of their own garbage. Most of the garbage was paper and cardboard so, the Natives would burn the garbage in their woodstoves. The other garbage they would throw outside to the dogs, chicken and animals to eat, but if the garbage was a tin can they would then throw the can into the nearest wash, which was Tin Can Wash. An important thing to know before the story continues is Tin Can Wash had a little dam that would collect water whenever it rained. The rain water that was collected was then used to water nearby livestock. After getting directions for Tin Can Wash, my grandpa drove to the wash and to his surprise he found a little lake in the middle of the wash. What surprised him even …show more content…
My grandfather asked why the man’s financial case was being closed and the Department said they found out the man has been working full time as a janitor at a high school in Kayenta, Arizona. My grandpa then asked how they knew this and they said one of their workers had been looking through the Kayenta High School yearbook with his cousin and saw a picture of the man, Pete Gray Mountain. (Pete’s last name was not really Gray Mountain, but the last name is changed to keep the story confidential.) The yearbook was then used as evidence to prove the man had been working a full time job at the school. My grandfather was really confused because Pete had been helping with the service projects almost every day. How had Pete been able to work full time as a custodial, help with the service projects, and not lose his job? My grandpa decided to tell the trader at the traders post about his new dilemma. The trader explained the Pete Gray Mountain in the yearbook was not the one my grandfather knew, but his twin brother. My grandfather then asked if Pete’s twin was also named Pete. The trader said yes, but no. My grandfather was even more confused because this trader was saying Pete had a twin brother also named Pete, how could this be? The trader explained that the Pete living in Navajo Mountain real name was Pete, and the Pete living in Kayenta, Arizona real name