Listening Woman (1978)

Listening Woman (1978)

curing ceremonial

In the Navajo tradition, curing ceremonials are chantways used to remove the sources of diseases. For the Navajo, ceremonies are conducted on an individual basis, rather than the systematic ceremonial approach employed by their neighbors, the Pueblos. Navajos can either request a singer (hataałii) to perform a certain ceremonial to cure an ailment, or they can go to a hand-trembler (ndilniihii), star gazer, or listener to diagnose the source of the ailment. Once the source of the ailment is known, the healer can then recommend a proper ceremony for the cure. These ceremonials can include singing, prayers, sand painting, sweats, and emetics among other elements.

Prince Frederick, Maryland: Recorded Books, 1990.

Stockholm: Legenda/Bokförlaget Natur och Kultur, 1998.

Rocky Mountains

One of the longest mountain ranges in North America, the Rocky Mountains are located in the western United States and span from northern Alberta and British Columbia in Canada south to the state of New Mexico. The range is divided into 4 separate subranges: the Canadian Rockies; the Northern Rockies of Montana; the Middle Rockies in Wyoming, Utah, and Idaho; and the Southern Rockies that extend into Colorado and New Mexico. Each section has its own geology, rock types, and geologic formations.

Throughout the front and back ranges of the Rockies, evidence exists of human occupation by various Native American groups as early as 10,000 years ago. In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson created Rocky Mountain National Park to protect the range, its beauty, and its wildlife. In addition, the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) essentially follows along the backbone of the Rockies from the Canadian to the Mexican borders.


An intrusive igneous rock that forms when magma slowly crystalizes beneath the earth’s surface instead of erupting through the earth's surface as a dynamic expression of volcanic activity. When magma cools underground, it forms large crystals, giving granite its speckled appearance. Granite is commonly found throughout the U.S. Southwest since there are many volcanic mountain ranges in this region.


A fine-grained sedimentary rock formed out of mud, clay, silt, and other small minerals. In large quantities, for example on a mountain side, shale has the appearance of thin stacked layers of rock. Shale is often used in ceramics, tiles, bricks, and pottery.

Zuni Christian Reformed Mission. Zuni, New Mexico

A Catholic School founded by Franciscan missionaries in 1923, located on the Zuni Pueblo Reservation in New Mexico. Currently, the school serves only the Zuni community. The pre-kindergarten through 8th grade school has an annual enrollment of approximately 160 students.

The first Indian boarding school was opened in 1879 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The main goals of boarding schools were to convert Native American children to Christianity and to “civilize” students to European-American culture by separating them from their families and community. Schools often enforced the wearing of uniforms, punished students if languages other than English were spoken, and even legally changed students’ names. The sexual, physical, and psychological abuse of Native children was common at Indian boarding schools.

Native American communities were reluctant to send their children to Indian boarding schools and the U.S. Army and even tribal police sometimes kidnapped children in order to meet enrollment. In 1900, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) changed some of their policies regarding separating families and many boarding schools became day schools. However, many of these schools continued to promote an educational philosophy that did not include the teaching of Native histories, cultures, or practices.


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