IamA Navajo who lives on the reservation in the Southwest United States, and I am currently walking over 500 miles from my home in Arizona to Bosque Redondo at Fort Sumner in New Mexico to help spread awareness of Hwéeldi, or the Navajo Long Walk....
If you'd like to help the Indiegogo campaign aimed at creating new Navajo Language learning materials by collecting and archiving the spoken word of Navajo elders -- a 'learn from the elders' approach to cultural preservation -- you can do so here: Link -> http://igg.me/at/navajo/x/4253969.
Hi Reddit! Nearly 4 years ago I submitted an AMA (Reddit, IAMA Native American Indian who lives on the reservation, or the U.S's third world.) in which many of you asked some good questions about where I live and how I grew up. I invite you to ask me again and I'll provide as much insight as possible.
As an update since then, I've started a Navajo language teaching website (Navajowotd.com) to give back. As you may know, the Navajo culture and language suffered, and still does, from an effort to extinguish it by various outside influences. It is my hope that more people will learn Navajo so that they can speak to their elders, and to encourage a dialogue about the importance of cultural preservation.
If you'd like to help the effort to preserve the Navajo culture, I started an Indiegogo campaign to begin collecting and archiving the spoken word of Navajo elders, which I've named the Diné Bizaad project (Diné: the people; bizaad: his/their words). Here's the link: http://igg.me/at/navajo/x/4253969.
I also am on a walk that began a week ago at the western border of the Navajo Nation in Arizona and am now in New Mexico. This is to spread awareness of a pivotal moment in our history as Navajo people known as the Long Walk (Hwéeldi). In the 1860s, my ancestors were forcibly removed from their homes to a barren reservation east of Albuquerque, NM. Many of my people died, but their resistance and subsequent return via the Treaty of Bosque Redondo, led to the sovereignty we possess today. The treaty allowed the US government to take Navajo children into boarding schools, where a long line of mistreatment began in the government's pursuit to eradicate the Navajo culture. My walk to is to create a dialogue around this painful moment in our history as we are a few years from the 150th year since the return of our ancestors to our homelands.
I look forward to your questions!
Edit: Running to get lunch! I'll be back asap!
Edit 2: I'm back. You can read the post I wrote on my walk to Bosque Redondo here: Remembering Hwéeldi, the Navajo Long Walk: Why I am walking 500 miles to Bosque Redondo.
Edit 3: You can hear some Navajo at my soundcloud! http://soundcloud.com/navajowotd
You can also download a pronunciation album that I produced and a translation sheet (600 words, MP3, PDF in a ZIP file) at this Dropbox link: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/29377071/Final/Navajo%20Pronunciations%20(MP3).zip.zip)
Edit 4 (7 hours in): Thank you Reddit! I'm off to go eat dinner, and then off to get rest for tomorrow's trip. I'll answer more questions later, though! Please support the Indiegogo campaign, or share this walk with your friends. You can find updates on http://twitter.com/navajowotd, or http://facebook.com/navajowotd.