Navajo-Walking in Beauty

Facilitator:   Jack Steele, 635-1962,   Dates:           Mondays, January 12– March 9, 2015 (Nine                         Weeks)                                           Time:         9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Text:            Dine – A History of the Navajo                                                 by Peter Iverson

The imposing geography and climate of the American Southwest inspire many visitors to endow those who live there with magical, mystical qualities. Remote from population centers, surrounded with deserts and mountains and dry heat, the Navajo have achieved mastery of their universe – tending flocks of sheep and goats, weaving rugs that bring thousands of dollars at auction, fashioning jewelry of silver and turquoise, and dry-painting healing pictures in the sand.

Despite the harshness of their physical environment, the beauty of their land together with their ceremonials help them achieve “hozho” which means harmony, peace, good fortune, balance, and beauty. Contrary to books and movies, the Navajo have always been a relatively peaceful tribe.

This 9-week survey course will take us into their early history, through the tough times of “The Long March” and the Federally mandated Stock Reduction, into their beliefs in the supernatural via their myths and ceremonies, and finally a look at the prosperous Tribe today.

One highlight will be a walk-through of an important ceremony. And we will also spend an added ninth week discussing Tony Hillerman’s wonderful mystery novels which can help bring Navajo culture to life.