Navaho Religion

Good Essays
The Word and it’s role in finding and empowering Abel’s identity
The Word, a very useful tool that we use everyday, in everything, yet we’re taking it for granted, treating it without any proper care and respect. While we as the 21st century civilizations don’t show enough appreciation for the Word, the Native Americans from the beginning of their society have paid a significant amount of gratitude to the Word and served it like one of the Sanctities: “In the beginning was the Word” (82). The Word for the Natives is also precious, so holy that John Big Bluff Tosamah from the House Made of Dawn, who resembles the author- N. Scott Momaday- himself, could not stress enough it’s importance to everyone. With just one sentence above, the author dedicates
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Reichard, in his work Navaho Religion : A Study Of Symbolism. (Mythos Series), said: "The `word' . . . is of great ritualistic value, and in order to be complete, man must control language. The better his control and the more extensive his knowledge, the greater his well-being" ( 34). It’s the same for Abel. In his trial of finding his true self in the vast ocean of traumas, he needs to find the right Word for him, the right tune for his prayers. And he acquired it in the Night Chanter, the third section of the book. During Abel’s stay at Los Angeles with his friend, Benally, they met up with some friends up in the hill where they could be free, get away with the society down there, the “million lights”(Momaday 134). Then they got drunk, sang and danced. Ben, was ashamed of his drunkenness, then performed an informal Night Chant. In the hospital, after Abel was beaten up by a brutal, corrupt cop, Ben prayed what some believed this Chant, too, on Abel, hoped that it somehow brought Abel back to sanity, brought him home. But for Abel, it’s not a healing song, the Chant for him is a ceremony, a ceremony for his reunion with his identity, with his tribe. Had he not been able to find the root of his problem: the lack of identity and embracement of one’s heritage, he would not have been able to go through the chant. But he did and he made…show more content…
Ken Lincoln, in Native American Renaissance, writes: “A well-chosen word, like a well-made arrow, pierces the heart" (44). For us, that’s about it for what we know about the power of the Word. But for the Natives, it’s much more. For the Natives, the Word is the Truth. For them the Word is holy and godly. For them the Word is simple yet contains powers. For them, the Word is themselves, flows in their blood and shapes their cultures. Just like Kenneth goes on in his work: "Language defines a people. Words are as penetrant as arrows, the finest shafts bearing the marks of the mouths that shape them. The craft, ceremony, power, and defense of the tribal family depend on them” (idbid). Through the House Made of Dawn, Mr.Momaday shows us the enormous influence the Words has on Abel’s life and his life and from there, provides us a better look about the Natives’ culture as well as an improved understanding and appreciation to the Word and the
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