THE STORY OF THE FIRST NATIVE AMERICAN NURSING SCHOOL
After the Indian wars, many Americans still believed that the only good Indian was a dead Indian. But at Ganado Mission in the Navajo country of northern Arizona, a group of missionaries and doctors—who cared less about saving souls and more about saving lives—chose a different way and persuaded the local parents and medicine men to allow them to educate their daughters as nurses. The young women struggled to step into the world of modern medicine, but they knew they might become nurses who could build a bridge between the old ways and the new.
In this detailed history, Jim Kristofic traces the story of Ganado Mission on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Kristofic’s personal connection with the community creates a nuanced historical understanding that blends engaging narrative with careful scholarship to share the stories of the people and their commitment to this place.
NAVAJOS WEAR NIKES
When Jim Kristofic’s family moved across the country, he knew his life was over. Ganado, Arizona was a “Rez-town” on the Navajo Reservation, a rugged, desert country the size of West Virginia. And there were Indians, more Indians living in one place thana anywhere else on earth. White people called them Navajo. They called themselves Diné – The People. For his mother, it was her childhood dream come true. For Jim—who’d just learned barely learned to tie his own shoelaces—it was the end of the world and the beginning of something violent, strange, and unforgettable.
Jim enters the complex world of the modern Navajo Nation, where Anglo and Navajo coexist in a tenuous truce. It is a place of spirits, where local school board officials become witches at night and the supernatural is rarely questioned. But these forces bow to the friendships with local boys that lead Jim to hózhó – a beautiful harmony. Ganado reveals its own strange world, and even stranger people, in tales of a captive hawk, a gang-style murder, an “Indian Boy Scout” troop, a fanatical Sunday school teacher, a sheep butchering in the middle of the school day, and Jim’s friendship with the Navajo bullrider and artist who becomes his step-father. After the births of his Navajo sister and brother, Jim’s family moves off the Rez to an Arizona border-town, where he and his family struggle to adapt to the Anglo society that had once been so familiar but no longer feels like home.
With compelling, visceral honesty, Navajos Wear Nikes tracks a modern life on the Navajo Reservation, from childhood to manhood, and reveals the painful, fascinating history behind Ganado, Arizona. And in this place, Navajos Wear Nikes tells the story of a boy trying to understand the truth of a people and the truth about himself.
Check out the NAVAJOS WEAR NIKES Facebook Page to see all the color photos that weren’t published in the memoir. Also look for updates on Dine’ history, culture, and Rez-Life news.
It’s also now available as a downloadable audiobook from Audible.com. Click here to DOWNLOAD IT NOW.
THE HERO TWINS: A NAVAJO-ENGLISH STORY OF MONSTER SLAYERS
The Hero Twins is a bilingual Navajo-English illustrated children’s book that tells the story of the Navajo Hero Twins born to Changing Woman and trained by the Holy People to save their people from a race of monsters. But first they must find their father to receive the weapons they need to face the greatest monster of them all: Yé’iitsoh. This book will be released by the University of New Mexico Press in February 2015.
Told in Navajo, the Diné language, and English, this story exists in many versions, and all demonstrate the importance of thinking, patience, persistence, bravery, and reverence. These teachings still help the Diné—and everyone—find the harmony of a balanced and braver life.
“A thrillingly melodramatic tale kept close to its Navajo roots.” — Kirkus Reviews
“James’s vivid pencils combine elements of geometric Navajo symbolism and iconography with a superheroic comic-book sensibility brought to both the brothers and the terrifying creatures they battle.” — Publishers Weekly
BLACK SHEEP, WHITE CROW
and OTHER WINDMILL TALES: STORIES FROM NAVAJO COUNTRY
When Kameron Nez moves to his grandma’s sheep-camp on the Navajo Reservation, he leaves behind his cell-phone reception and his friends. The young boy’s world becomes even stranger when Kameron takes the sheep out to the local windmill and meets an old storyteller. As the seasons turn, the old man weaves eight tales that teach the deeper story of the Diné country and the Diné people.
“These tales capture the humor and themes of traditional Dine literature. Kristofic is intimately familiar with Navajo culture. The collection resonates with deep cultural authenticity and narrative authority. Sure to please the growing circle of Kristofic’s readers.”—Enrique R. LaMadrid, author of Juan the Bear and the Water of Life and many other books
“A wonderful set of stories that encompass the past, present and future of the Navajos. It encourages readers to be determined, disciplined, and motivated as they move through life and make stories of their own.” ~ Edison Eskeets, Diné runner, artist, educator, and first Diné trader at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site
The illustrator, Nolan Karras James, is an artist, songwriter, powwow dancer, guitarist, and former rodeo cowboy from Pinon, Arizona. His father is Many Goats Clan and his mother is Apache.
COYOTE TALES (writing as Jim Bihyeh)
*To Preserve the Qualities of the Oral Traditions Behind These Stories,
“Coyote Tales” is AVAILABLE SPECIALLY AS A DOWNLOADABLE AUDIOBOOK from Blackstone Audio, the nation’s largest independent audiobook producer*
Wide Reeds, Arizona, is a small town on the Navajo reservation that you won’t find on any tourist map. The people who live there keep their secrets, their dreams, and their fears to themselves. But when a stranger with gold and turquoise eyes hitchhikes into town, the people of Wide Reeds learn that their secrets are no longer safe. Coyote (Mą’ii)—the trickster, thief, warrior, wizard, coward, clown, and savior—has come to call; and over the course of a year, life becomes strangely wonderful and terrifying.
In nine short stories and a novella that have been called part Sherman Alexie and part Stephen King, Coyote Tales leads listeners through the harsh and beautiful world of the modern Navajo Nation. Tracing the traditional yearly cycle of Early Dawn, Blue Daylight, and Evening Twilight, the separate paths of each story lead to the same Folding Darkness. And the only way out of that darkness is to follow the tracks of Coyote.
“With Coyote Tales, Jim Bihyeh spins a powerful series of tales filled with magic and mystery. Highly recommended!” —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author
“These stories are incredibly rich in mythic imagery and detail, placing ancient spirit world narratives and magical combat into very contemporary settings.”
—South Dakota magazine
If you’re interested in “Coyote Tales,” click here to download from Blackstone Audio at Downpour.com.