Spending Time On the Rez...reflections.
I have been spending so much time out on the Navajo Nation in the recent months, my interactions with the Navajos and Hopi have been nothing but rewarding. I became a bit curious after a conversation I had with a Navajo lady outside of a small store that we frequent before we hit the dirt roads.
paintings by Harrison Begay
Living here I tend to conveniently overlook the "daily drive" throughout this arid region where water is scarce, food is hard to grow, some with no electricity, these hardships I know creates powerful generational lineages which carry these important cultural traditions that have stood in place for over 150 years. The traditions of the Diné are deeply rooted in the everyday life lived in these remote desert locales, and have specific methodology to assuring success in future generations by following specific Holy People practices. As these traditional practices continue to move forward into future generations, they are aware and have a sense that these practices will need to be "reinvented" or "reawakened" to modern standards of continually approaching economic perseverance. Just discussing with her, the simple practice of where the very location of a buried umbilical cord (random, I know) is directly tied to the need of particular roles needed within the family, the community and in the Navajo Nation. This practice is necessary to ensure that these necessary skills are provided to the new generations. She said that in extreme cases, loss or misplacement of a cord can result in lifelong disorientation or antisocial behavior. So, the imminent need to find a proper resting spot for the umbilical cord is necessary to issue consummation for the family and generations to come. Talk about an interesting conversation to say the least.
Diné people describe themselves as the "ones who walk in beauty", and by doing so they must live harmonious in a continuous flow of "natural order." By passing down these traditions generation to generation creates energy focused on developing and retaining the Navajo culture that can get lost in these fast-paced, exponentially changing times. It can be frustrating, I see it. But they still find beauty in all part of their lives, and use that beauty to better enhance their future prospects. By fostering these traditions in today's modern Navajo household, it gives family members a positive prospect for the future. It is essential to maintain these cultural significance's, it gives them the strength as people knowing that they will pull together to find and to discover the path or paths to achieve this "natural order," again (?), one that can encompass all new outside influences including the western education system, agricultural restraints and modern technologies while still retaining the old practices, ceremonies and other Diné traditions.
paintings are by Patrick Dean Hubbell
Our time on this planet is changing so quick, I wonder how can I keep up in todays time, and now I reflect to my time talking with the Navajo lady in front of the store.
How does she keep up?
How did these Diné below carry on into the future when Westerners, Kit Carson (?) sent them on the Long Walk?
Getting a bit tired now, but glad I was able to squeeze that out before bed.
photos by Edward Curtis[gallery ids="3566,3567,3582"]