Articles & Films



“The enticing scents and dishes of a Diné family meal are always accompanied by children running around and playing nearby, dogs who have that hungry look, and quiet teenagers who lounge about and sometimes help cook and serve. And the large get-togethers are replete with stories, laughter, and sometimes, nostalgic tears. Our family gatherings usually take place at my late parents’ home in Shiprock, which faces Dzil Náóooldilii (Huerfano Mountain), one of the six sacred mountains…”

Documentary by Silver Bullet Productions

“AT MOST POETRY READINGS, the audience maintains a solemn silence between poems, digesting the writer’s words. But when Luci Tapahonso read her work at the Radcliffe Institute this past spring, the crowd enthusiastically clapped after each poem.

To introduce the poet, Kristiana Kahakauwila—the 2015–2016 Lisa Goldberg Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute and an assistant professor of creative writing at Western Washington University—explained Tapahonso’s effect on people. She said she had discovered Tapahonso while researching communal storytelling. “The act of reading—usually done individually, silently—felt with Luci’s work to be communal and raucous, as if the entire household of relatives were there speaking, and I was in the hogan with them,” Kahakauwila said.”

To read the article, please visit: Luci Tapahonso uses her inimitable storytelling to connect with students, fellows, and the public


“Navajo poet Luci Tapahonso read her poems to a large audience on Thursday at the Farmington Public Library as part of the library’s National Poetry Month celebration. “I appreciate the way people take ownership of poetry. It means that they feel their voices are heard. Their experiences are being told,” she said to the crowded room. Tapahonso, who grew up in the Mesa Farm area in Shiprock, earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from the University of New Mexico in 1980 and published her first poetry collection a year later. She told the audience that she started UNM intending to study journalism but changed her focus after acclaimed writer Leslie Marmon Silko encouraged her to pursue creative writing.”

To read the article, please go to: Poet Luci Tapahonso embarks on fellowship, plans new book

“At the beginning of Navajo time, the Holy People (Diyin Dine’é) journeyed through three worlds before settling in Dinétah, our current homeland. Here they took form as clouds, sun, moon, trees, bodies of water, rain and other physical aspects of this world. That way, they said, we would never be alone. Today, in the fourth world, when a Diné (Navajo) baby is born, the umbilical cord is buried near the family home, so the child is connected to its mother and the earth, and will not wander as if homeless.”

To read the article, please visit: For More Than 100 Years, the U.S. Forced Navajo Students Into Western Schools. The Damage Is Still Felt Today

“Luci Tapahonso, inaugural poet laureate of the Navajo Nation and professor of English and director of creative writing at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, has published several collections of poetry, including Saánii Dahataal (The Women are Singing), written in Navajo and English. Tapahonso is originally from Shiprock, New Mexico, where she grew up in a family of 11 children. Navajo was her first language but she learned English at home before starting school at the Navajo Methodist Mission in Farmington, New Mexico. She majored in English at the University of New Mexico, as an undergraduate and graduate student. Tapahonso stayed on there as an assistant professor of English, women’s studies, and American Indian studies for a few years. Prior to returning to the University of New Mexico she was an associate professor of English at the University of Kansas and a lecturer in English and professor in American Indian studies at the University of Arizona.”

To read the article, please visit: An Afternoon with the Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation


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