The cultural lessons in this book emphasize the importance of family ties, a respect for oneself, and pride in the strength that allowed the Navajo people to endure years of hardship. This book is inspired by a belief that the Navajo culture is very relevant to the lives of Navajo youth, and there need not be a clash between the wisdom of Navajo elders and the beliefs of contemporary Navajo families.
When you follow the directions closely, you will find that the activities in this Workbook will provide you with language that is authentic. It is our hope that your overall experience will be one of feeling rejuvenated, motivated, and fortunate to have studied the Navajo language, and honored to have learned more about the culture, history, traditions and lifestyles of the Navajo people.
Our goal for the Workbook is two-fold:
- It is important for you to view Navajo elders as your source of information regarding the Navajo language, culture, lifestyle, traditions, and history. Throughout the Workbook, the activities identify the Navajo elders (parents, maternal and paternal grandparents, maternal and paternal aunts and uncles) as a source of first-hand knowledge. You are encouraged to visit Navajo elders to conduct research to obtain valuable information and knowledge. This activity helps you to reconnect with Navajo elders, learn from them, and in doing so, you will preserve the knowledge of the elders. You will also do your part in placing the teachings back in the lap of the elders. For those of you who are Navajo, you need not look to books as your source of information, instead, view your Navajo elders as your “encyclopedias”.
When you ask your elders for information, they are giving you a gift. Give them back a gift by giving them respect. What a wonderful gift to give someone as a means of saying “Ahéhee’ shíká ‘íínílwod.”
- We want you to learn all four skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking. By working in the Workbook, you will be building on these four skills as you complete the assignments.