Synopses & Reviews
The Navajo see even the most minute parts of their homelands and surrounding territory as infused with sacred significance. Places of special power are the most alive, and stories usually go with them. Navajos visit these places to connect with their power. The places anchor the ways of Navajo life as well as the stories about the origins and the correct pursuit of those ways. Navajos have responded to curiosity about these places and landscapes by trying to keep the locations and stories behind them secret - to save the sites from destruction and to keep their power from being sapped. In the face of unbridled land development, however, protecting the landscapes may mean telling the stories, and it is in that spirit that Kelley and Francis discuss the Navajo's sacred landscapes and the stories that go with them. Navajos tell many kinds of stories, both old and new, about these landscapes, and Kelley and Francis have included some of these stories in this book. The authors believe that in time more examples may be revealed with the blessing of the Navajos who care for them, but the day when Navajos willingly give many such stories to others will come only when the Navajo people themselves have gained control over the use of their land.
"Kelley and Francis clearly and comprehensivly address a timely topic, illuminating superbly the inexorable linkage between preserving American Indian cultures and protecting sites endowed with spiritual significance." --Choice
"This is an exceptional ethnography of the Navajos' relationship to their land... "
Includes bibliographical references (p. -252) and index.
About the Author
KLARA BONSACK KELLEY is a consulting ethnologist who has lived and studied in Navajo communities for more than seventeen years. Her publications include Navajo Land Use: An Ethnoarchaeological Study and (with Peter Whiteley) Navajoland: Family Settlement and Land Use.
HARRIS FRANCIS is a Navajo, Tachii'nii clan born for Tabaaha clan, who grew up on the Navajo Reservation speaking Navajo and observing traditions in daily use. He is an American Indian Cultural Rights Protection Consultant and co-author of several articles on Navajo cultural rights and sacred places.
Table of Contents
Places Important to Navajo People: A Survey of Thirteen Navajo Communities
2. The Project to Consult Navajo Communities
3. Interpretation of Results
Places Important to Navajo People: Other Studies
4. Other Studies: What They Did and How They Did It
5. Stories and Types of Placed in the Other Studies
6. Perserving the Culture by Preserving the Land: The "Landscape" and "Piecemeal" Approaches
7. The Hidden Reservoir
Navajo Customary Landscapes and Development Landscapes
8. What Navajos Say about Cultural Preservation
9. Navajo Endangered Landscapes
10. Endangered Landscapes outside Navajo Jurisdiction
Hidden and Manifest Landscapes in Stories
11. Analytical Framework
12. Hidden and Manifest Landscapes in Two Stories
13. A Story about "Where Whiteshell Woman Stopped for Lunch"
14. The Land, the People, and Culture Change
Illustrations follow page 122