Words And Places native literature from the american southwest


Pueblo ruins -- from a photo by Victor Masayesva, Jr.
from a photo by Victor Masayesva, Jr.

By This Song I Walk: Navajo Songs
With Andrew Natonabah

No part of Navajo life remains untouched by song. When the harmony of the environment is disrupted --by disease, by an offense to the "Holy People," or by an intrusion of any sort in the lives of individual Navajos -- chantways or song rituals are performed to restore balance and symmetry. Songs are a way of communicating to the Holy People that their teachings are being practiced. Natonabah sings as he travels through Canyon de Chelly where the Navajo believe the songs were originally created, and he discusses the songs and their origin with his children and with us. (Navajo with English subtitles)
25 minutes [QuickTime | RealPlayer | Windows | mp3]

Seyewailo: The Flower World
Yaqui Deer Songs

We experience the "enchanted talk" of Yaqui deer songs as they are sung and danced to at a fiesta, the pahko, which lasts from dusk to dawn. The songs are religious expressions of the "flower world," a place of complete harmony and beauty, the home of "little brother, the deer." A skit about coyotes who chase and capture a deer is performed amidst clowning with the audience. (Yaqui with English subtitles)
51 minutes [QuickTime | RealPlayer | Windows | mp3]

The Origin of the Crown Dance: An Apache Narrative and Ba'ts'oosee: An Apache Trickster Cycle
With Rudolph Kane

After sundown on a winter night -- the traditional time for a western Apache storytelling session -- an Apache elder tells the story of a boy who became a gaan, a supernatural being with curative powers. It is followed by a cycle of eight "trickster" stories including the theft of fire and a tar baby story. The narrative is sprinkled with asides which serve as a kind of folk literary criticism. (Apache with English subtitles)
40 minutes [QuickTime | RealPlayer | Windows | mp3]

Iisaw: Hopi Coyote Stories & Hopi Songs
With Helen Sekaquaptewa
These singing tales reinforce the Hopi ethic by describing what happens to those who shirk hard work. The audience participates fully and thereby absorbs the moral of the tales. The storyteller herself was born at Old Oraibi, considered the oldest continuously occupied village in North America. (Hopi with English subtitles)
18 minutes [QuickTime | RealPlayer | Windows | mp3]

Natwaniwa: A Hopi Philosophical Statement
With George Nasoftie

To the Hopi, cultivation of the land is necessary for survival, both physical and spiritual. Every crop and every action have a significance in this profound philosophical system in which all things are related. What the Hopi does in his field is a "rehearsal" for his future life. Nasoftie, a ceremonial leader, sees many of his neighbors turning from the old ways. (Hopi with English subtitles)
27 minutes [QuickTime | RealPlayer | Windows | mp3]

Running on the Edge of the Rainbow: Laguna Stories and Poems
With Leslie Marmon Silko

Silko reflects on the nature of Laguna storytelling, its functions, and the problems she has faced as an Indian poet. Though some of the contemporary stories appear to fall into the category of idle gossip (a neighboring woman runs off with another man), Silko discusses how these stories are in fact current versions of traditional tales. Aside from their entertainment value, Laguna stories often serve to bond people together: when recounted, personal experiences become traditionalized. Silko reminds us that printed versions of oral narratives never do justice to them.
28 minutes [QuickTime | RealPlayer | Windows | mp3]

Songs of My Hunter Heart: Laguna Songs and Poems
With Harold Littlebird

The discovery of uranium deposits and the development of extensive mining have made inroads upon traditional Laguna Pueblo life while providing material benefits for the Indians who are disrupted. Littlebird continues the oral tradition of his people by incorporating contemporary themes into his work which retains the Pueblo reverence for the spoken word.
34 minutes [QuickTime | RealPlayer | Windows | mp3]

A Conversation with Vine Deloria, Jr.

The writer discusses the gulf between Indian and non-Indian culture and the "schizophrenia" of white expectations for the Indian; ". . . they want all Indians trained in Western education, capable of working for Merrill Lynch and doing everything that whites do; at the same time they want them down at the Santa Fe station selling pottery and painting." He stresses the necessity of keeping the oral tradition alive through tape recordings such as these which can best convey the essence of the historical Indian experience.
29 minutes [QuickTime | RealPlayer | Windows | mp3]

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