Navajo mandalas are labyrinths to the eyes that radiate different shapes coming from a single point. This connect the individual to the creators. Such a view helps when honoring everyone as individuals and as a community. This is a picture of Honey, a Navajo Pow Wow Dancer and Story Musician who will be featured at our 3rd Annual Story Crossroads Festival.
Present-Day Nobleness & Neighborliness
The Navajo Nation’s “Just Move It” campaign has ignited participation from over 40,000 Navajo people across 137 communities to bring awareness to healthy ways of living and “moving” to be strong and fit. Heart disease and diabetes are leading causes of death amongst Native American including the Navajos. The drive of “Just Move It” that encourages dance and movement to strengthen these hearts occurs each May to July and has been in existence since 1993.
Here is a blog post on the Partnership with Native Americans site: http://blog.nativepartnership.org/137-ways-to-just-move-it-on-the-navajo-nation/.
Past Nobleness & Neighborliness (Folktale)
This Navajo tale called “Little Dawn Boy and the Rainbow Trail” is found at this web address: http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/LittleDawnBoyAndTheRainbowTrail-Navajo.html
Here is a summary:
Little Dawn Boy is curious about a purple mountain with a white cliff in the distance. He asks the Medicine Man who lives there and the Medicine Man promises to share that knowledge once Little Dawn Boy learns magic songs. Much time goes by and Little Dawn Boy comes to know all the songs. The Medicine Man says he is ready to see the Great-Chief-of-All-Magic that lives there. The house has four rooms and four doors guarded by two bolts of lightning, two bears, two red-headed serpents, and two rattlesnakes. By singing the songs, one can pass and asks for gifts for the people below. Little Dawn Boy must bring gifts to the Chief-of-All-Magic and sing another song before this request. While journeying, Little Dawn Boy must strewn the trail with the Pollen of Dawn. All this Little Dawn Boy does and the singing causes an arch full of colors–a rainbow–to create a bridge to reach the top of the white cliff. Little Dawn Boy faces an angry Chief-of-All-Magic though this Chief calms when Little Dawn Boy presents the gifts of turquoise and strings of wampum. This Chief asks what gifts Little Dawn Boy wants in return. He asks for corn, plants, flowers, dark clouds with lightning, soft spring storms, summer breezes, mists, and autumn hazes. The Chief gave all this plus much more. Little Dawn Boy sang, the rainbow bridge appeared, and he returned to his people. The people thanked him for bringing the gifts from the Chief-of-All-Magic and now sing songs of Little Dawn Boy.
Interesting Notes on Kindness
- Little Dawn Boy respects the Medicine Man and listens and learn the songs needed for the journey
- Medicine Man was kind and patient to share knowledge with Little Dawn Boy
- Despite the dangers, Little Dawn Boy was willing to face the dangers only armed with songs
- Singing soothed the beasts and dangers and no fighting was needed to conquer
- Little Dawn Boy offers gifts and this calms the Chief-of-All-Magic
- Chief-of-All-Magic is impressed by the gifts and even gives more than what Little Dawn Boy requested to share with his people
- Little Dawn Boy only wanted to bless his people and none of the gifts were intended for him
- His people recognized his bravery and thoughtful of them all and sing songs of his nobleness
What stories of kindness do you know associated with the Navajo? Anywhere in the world – past or present? Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.
While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).
We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.)