2010 Student Research Conference:
23rd Annual Student Research Conference

Hozho Beauty and the Value of Life in Luci Tapahanso's poem "It Has Always Been this Way": A Postcolonial Analysis
Crystal M. Billington
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor

Despite the encroachment of dominant American culture, the Navajo people of the Southwest cling to the traditions and values passed down for generations. Navajo author, Luci Tapahanso celebrates this way of life in her poem, "It Has Always Been This Way" from her collection of poems and stories Saanii Dahataa: the Women are Singing (1993). In this poem, Tapahanso explores the significance of children in Navajo culture. The slogan of the Navajo Nation is "We Walk in Beauty" and they truly live this out in everyday life, teaching it to their children as they grow. Integral to their philosophy of life is that children are the greatest of gifts and most sacred of responsibilities. This reflects their belief in the sacredness of life, encapsulated in the Navajo word, "Hozho," meaning at once beauty, balance, harmony and goodness or wholeness. I will analyze how Tapahanso's poem embodies this Navajo worldview.

Keywords: Navajo Culture, Hozho, Postcolonial analysis, Native American culture

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 28-5
Location: VH 1304
Time: 10:30

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