Sháá Áko Dahjiníleh
Remember the Things They Told Us


Luci Tapahonso

Before this world existed, the holy people made themselves visible
by becoming clouds, sun, moon, trees, bodies of water, thunder
rain, snow, and other aspects of this world we live in. That way,
they said, we would never be alone. So it is possible to talk to them
and pray, no matter where we are and how we feel. Biyázhí daniidlí,
we are their little ones.

Since the beginning, the people have gone outdoors at dawn to pray,
The morning light, adinídíín, represents knowledge and mental awareness.
With the dawn come the holy ones who bring blessings and daily gifts,
because they are grateful when we remember them.

When you were born and took your first breath, different colors
and different kinds of wind entered through your fingertips
and the whorl on top of your head. Within us, as we breathe,
are the light breezes that cool a summer afternoon,
within us the tumbling winds that precede rain,
within us sheets of hard-thundering rain,
within us dust-filled layers of wind that sweep in from the mountains,
within us gentle night flutters that lull us to sleep.
To see this, blow on your hand now.
Each sound we make evokes the power of these winds
and we are, at once, gentle and powerful.

Think about good things when preparing meals. It is much more than
physical nourishment. The way the cook (or cooks) think and feel become
a part of the meal. Food that is prepared with careful thought,
contentment, and good memories tastes so good and nurtures the mind
and spirit, as well as the body. Once my mother chased me out of the kitchen
because it is disheartening to think of eating something cooked
by an angry person.

Be careful not to let your children sit or play on tables or countertops
Not only is it bad manners, but they might have to get married
far sooner than you would ever want.

Don't cut your own hair or anyone else's after dark. There are things
that come with the darkness that we have no control over. It's not
clear why this rule exists, but so far no one is willing to become
the example of what happens to someone who doesn't abide by it.

From Sáanii Dahataal The Women Are Singing by Luci Tapahonso, University of Arizona Press.
© 1993 Luci Tapahonso

Return to the Luci Tapahonso website