By Maureen Trudelle Schwarz
"I imagine what's constantly particularly extraordinary to me is that Navajo are by no means surprised via whatever that occurs. since it is like in loads of our tales they're already there."--Sunny Dooley, Navajo StorytellerDuring the ultimate decade of the 20 th century, Navajo humans needed to confront a couple of demanding situations, from unexplained disorder, the consequences of uranium mining, and challenge consuming to threats to their land rights and spirituality. but irrespective of how alarming those matters, Navajo humans made feel of them by means of drawing assistance from what they considered as their constitution for all times, their starting place stories.Through huge interviews, Maureen Trudelle Schwarz permits Navajo to talk for themselves at the methods they locate to answer crises and protracted concerns. In taking pictures what Navajo say and examine themselves, Schwarz offers this southwestern people’s perceptions, values, and experience of position on the planet.
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Additional resources for Navajo Lifeways: Contemporary Issues, Ancient Knowledge
When they found their father, he made them endure several trials to prove they were his children. They persevered, and finally Sun supplied them with weapons to slay the monsters. The twins worked together to slay all the monsters except Hunger, Poverty, Lice, and Old Age. When Monster Slayer came to slay these monsters, they gave sound reasons for their indispensability. After Hunger, Poverty, and Lice made their pleas, Old Age spoke up, reiterating the need for the “give and take” of births and deaths as rationale for sparing him: “In spite of all, I am going to live on, my grandchild,” he said.
Although Navajo origin accounts generally are spoken of as if they hold ontological status, the interview excerpts in this chapter and book show that the relationships between origin stories and current practices are not self-evident. The stories compress historical knowledge and human experience into vivid narratives that can illuminate and educate. As teaching tools, or parables, they are open to different levels of analysis. In the Navajo world, the stories are useful because they contain numerous messages at each of the various levels of interpretation, depending on the degree of analytic abstraction applied by the Navajo listener.
16 At this level, the episode encodes information regarding the interconnection among all Navajo persons. In this account, it was First Man who investigated the strange phenomena seen on Gobernador Knob. As he climbed to the summit, he heard a different sound at each of the four directions: an undifferentiated cry in the east, a bird cry in the south, the cries of other birds in the west, and the sound of a corn beetle in the north. Upon reaching the top, he saw a dark cloud with a rainbow and falling rain.