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Navajo couple to ‘share their stories’ at anthropology museum

By Pam Barrett
336.758.5237
March 11, 2004

Lupita and Jon McClanahan, both members of the Diné or Navajo Nation, will present a lecture on Navajo culture and the preservation of their traditions in today’s American culture at Wake Forest University’s Museum of Anthropology March 22 at 7:30 p.m.

The lecture, titled “Navajo Journey: Sharing Our Stories in a Multicultural World,” is free and open to the public.

During the lecture, the McClanahans will share details of everyday Navajo culture, including weaving and religion, traditional techniques of health and healing and the hopes and dreams of Navajo children.

Their presentation will be accompanied by photographs from the book “Crossing Between Worlds: The Navajo of Canyon de Chelly,” written by Wake Forest Professor of Anthropology Jeanne Simonelli and photographed by Charles Winters. Through the stories of Lupita McClanahan’s family, the book tells the story of contemporary Navajo people.

For the past 18 years, the McClanahans have worked in various ways to live out the words Lupita’s grandfather spoke many years ago in Canyon de Chelly in Arizona: “Share all stories. It beautifies Mother Earth, especially in different voices. It’s bad if all stories become one; there’s no more stories, no more life.”

The couple has worked for the National Park Service, as hosts and guides for college students and now as leaders of Footpath Journeys of Canyon de Chelly.

Canyon de Chelly is a national monument located in northeastern Arizona that is comprised entirely of land belonging to the Navajo nation. It contains the ruins of villages built between A.D. 350 and 1300 and has a multi-layered history, including Navajo, Puebloan and Hispanic associations. The canyon has been home to the Navajo since the 1700s, and it continues to be a place of residence and a location of great sacred significance to native communities.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the Wake Forest Department of Anthropology and the Museum of Anthropology.

For more information, call 336-758-5282.


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