This is the first in a series of guest posts written by Jianping (Corey) Yang — a visitor at LCM this summer, studying anthropology at Texas A&M. You can read his introduction HERE. Each new post in this series will be published on Mondays following today with regular blog posts written by Jill published on Fridays.

The Lybrook community is a remote area in northwestern New Mexico. As a newcomer, everything intrigues me – its natural environment and cultural phenomena. Before I came here, I had limited knowledge of American Indian culture. I kept asking myself, “what are people’s lifestyles? How do they consider their traditions?” Having been in a university for so long, the real world is exciting, but challenging to me.

The weather is pretty dry; water resources are limited. In other words, it’s an arid environment. Because of water supply limitations, many Navajo people come to the LCM property for water, which is drawn from a long way underground. Often, the vehicles I see coming have tanks of varying sizes. Their arrival breaks the silence of the neighborhood, which makes me feel as if this is an area that is not too remote. In some parts of the world where water resource is limited, water supply can be an important social, economic and political issue. As water is a scarce resource here, I am sure water relates to other issues here in Navajoland as well.

It is apparent that Navajo and Asian people look alike. I am sure if they were in China, Thailand or Vietnam, few people would think they were from somewhere else. However, they look slightly different from Northern Chinese, Korean or Japanese people. The difference is that Navajo people have deeper-set eyes and darker skin. However, I noticed that Navajo babies and small children are not as dark as adults, so it is reasonable to assume that the adults darker skin probably results from the accumulated exposure to sunlight. This similarity constantly reminds me of the theory that Native Americans originally migrated from Asia through the Bering Strait during the recent ice age. If we accept this theory, then what connection can we find between Navajo and Asian people?

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