The Navajo people of old were forced to leave their homes and walk over 450 miles to Fort Sumner in eastern New Mexico where they were imprisoned on a small reservation. For four long years the Navajo people faced hunger, loneliness, disorientation, illnesses, severe environmental conditions, and hopelessness. Navajo women were forced to become warriors. It was the nurturing role, words and actions of women that spared the lives of the ones who survived. Before their release from prisoner of war status in 1968, it was the demands of the women that led the Navajo people back to their original lands in northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico. The Long Walk has been collected in historical literature by non-Navajo authors. Absent from the literature is the Navajo perspective. The audience will hear the Navajo female elders’ version of the Long Walk in this presentation.
Dr. Evangeline Parsons Yazzie is a Navajo woman, originally from the community of Hardrock on the Navajo Reservation. She is a Professor Emerita of Navajo at Northern Arizona University (NAU). She obtained a Masters of Arts degree in Bilingual Multicultural Education (NAU) and a Doctorate degree in Education (NAU). Evangeline retired from NAU after 24 years of teaching. Evangeline is a novelist, the author of four novels in Navajo and English which are based upon the Navajo Long Walk (1864 through 1868). She is an author of a popular Navajo language textbook, and the author of an award-winning bilingual children’s book.