In 1864, the Navajo people were forced to walk over 450 miles to Fort Sumner in eastern New Mexico, an unfortunate event that is known in the Navajo language as Hweeldi. The story of this fatal march has been recorded and interpreted in historical literature by many non-Navajo authors and absent from that literature is the Navajo perspective, a perspective that largely lives as oral history. This presentation accesses those oral histories and shares Navajo elders’ stories of, thoughts on, and emotions relating to, the Long Walk.
Evangeline Parsons Yazzie, Ed.D., is a Professor of Navajo at Northern Arizona University. A Navajo woman originally from the small community of Hardrock on the Navajo Reservation, Parsons Yazzie teaches and writes on behalf of Navajo elders as a means of acknowledging and honoring her parents for their gifts of language, culture-knowledge, and teachings. She is an award-winning author of a bilingual children’s book, the co-author of a Navajo language textbook for high school and college students and, most recently, the author of a fictional romance novel based on Navajo historical events.