At CCC Page, Navajo author gives talk on "The Long Walk"

Retired Professor Emerita Dr. Evangeline Parsons Yazzie will read from her book, "Her Land, Her Love," and will talk about The Long Walk during a presentation at CCC in Page on Dec. 13.

 

 

PAGE, Ariz. - Her name is Nínááníbaa', which means “woman who went to war and came home again.”

 

Her story is that of a Navajo woman who was forced to take “The Long Walk” in 1864, and the Navajo writer of her story wants to set the record straight and then preserve it while maintaining the Navajo language.

 

Retired Professor Emerita Dr. Evangeline Parsons Yazzie, on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m., at Coconino Community College in Page, will give a talk and read from one of her quartet of books featuring the life and family of Nínááníbaa'. Prior to the presentation, Dr. Parsons Yazzie will be at Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours Galleria at 4 p.m. for a reception and book signing.

 

“Page residents and the nearby Chapters will be treated to a great night of culture and literary exposure with the visit by Dr. Parsons Yazzie,” said Kay Leum, CCC’s Director of Special Projects and Grants. “We are fortunate to have a Navajo female author, who focuses on the history of her people, share readings from and talk about her books.”

 

Dr. Parsons Yazzie taught Navajo for 24 years at Northern Arizona University, and her Ph.D. is in education with an emphasis on indigenous language maintenance and preservation.

 

She did not begin her journey as a writer until she retired from teaching. Dr. Parsons Yazzie said she started writing when she needed strength from herself. She’d heard the stories of the Long Walk throughout her life, and her father had been intensely interested in history of Navajo people.

 

Her first novel, “Her Land, Her Love,” was published in 2014 by Flagstaff-based Salina Bookshelf, and features the story of Nínááníbaa'. Dr. Parsons Yazzie wrote the story in the “romance” genre to make the heavy subject matter accessible to a wider demographic of people. Additionally, she peppers the Navajo language (with English translation) throughout all of her books.

 

“I wanted to make it an authentic piece of literature,” Dr. Parsons Yazzie said. “Therefore, I had all the conversations appearing in Navajo with the English translations, because they would not have spoken English at that time.”

 

Nínááníbaa' is a woman with four children. She is separated from her daughters, and she is forced off her land, like so many other Navajos, and marched to Fort Sumner – hundreds of miles away. The story is told from the standpoint of Navajo elders.

 

“I decided to write the story in that manner, because history books skew the stories, and they’re from the standpoint of non-Navajos telling the stories,” Dr. Parsons Yazzie said, adding that she felt it was important that Navajos, particularly the youth, hear the story of their history from a Navajo perspective. The book takes a hard look at a story misrepresented in history books.

 

The second and third books in the series, “Her Enemy, Her Love” and “Her Captive, Her Love,” tell the stories of the two eldest daughters of Nínááníbaa'.

 

The fourth book came about after readers started chiming in.

 

“I hadn’t written about them coming home,” Dr. Parsons Yazzie said. “My readers reminded me that they came home.”

 

So, she wrote a fourth book, “Their Land, Their Love,” which hit bookshelves this year.

 

During the presentation at CCC, Dr. Parsons Yazzie will talk about why she wrote the book. Her primary motivation was to set the record straight about The Long Walk, but she also wants to show Navajo youth that their language is still alive and appears in books other than text books.

 

“It’s still being spoken,” she said.

 

She added that she hopes for people from all generations – children, parents, grandparents – come to enjoy her presentation.

 

The reception, book signing, reading and talk are sponsored by Courtyard by Marriott, Coconino County, Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours Galleria and CCC. CCC Page is located at 475 S. Lake Powell Blvd, and the presentation will be in Room A1. Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours Galleria is at 48 S. Lake Powell Blvd.

 

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Category
Spotlight
Date
Thursday, 6th December 2018
 
 

All Dates

  • Thursday, 6th December 2018