Culture, Identity, Bikes: Bringing Bikepacking to the Navajo Nation

Culture. Identity. Bikepacking. All these things contribute to who Jon Yazzie is.

Jon Yazzie is a member of the Navajo Nation. He grew up in Coal Mine Mesa, Ariz., with his mother and grandmother. Later, he went to California for a better education. But Yazzie came back.

“The love I was missing wasn’t actually from my family, but from the earth,” he said. He spent years finding a reconnection to his culture, finding his identity, finding himself.

And then he found the bike.

Yazzie started learning to bikepack in 2013. In 2020, he founded Dzil Ta’ah Adventures — the first bikepacking program for youth on Navajo land. “I found my cultural significance and my heart in the world through a bike,” he said. “And this is what makes me whole.”

This film shares not only Yazzie’s story but also the story of the program he founded — and where it’s headed.

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Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee.

She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.

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