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ERIC Number: ED124366
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1975-Nov-27
Pages: 34
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Navajo Wisdom and Traditions.
Yazzie, Ethelou
The oral literature of the Navajo people generally falls into two categories: the sacred stories and the folk tales, which often, but not always, point a moral. Sacred stories relate the Navajo's emergence history. These stories tell how the universe holds two kinds of people: the "Earth Surface People" (both living and dead) and the "Holy People" (powerful, mysterious beings that belong to the Sacred World). While the Holy People who travel on lightning, sunbeams, and rainbows are very powerful, they are not all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-good. They make mistakes and have human emotions. They can be invoked, supplicated, propitiated, and coerced to help the people of the tribe, or to cease doing damage. The Holy People also serve as ideals of behavior for the Navajo people to follow or emulate. Although the sacred stories differ from story teller to story teller and from time to time, the outstanding lesson remains the same. Basic lessons taught by these stories are: the universe is a very dangerous place; to survive you must maintain order in those areas of life that you can control; avoid quarreling, avoid excess, and stay in harmony with your community and with nature; be wary of non-relatives; when in a new and dangerous situation, do nothing; and if the situation is really dangerous, escape. (AUTHOR/NQ)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A