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MANY WINTERS


Navajo Grandmother “Navajo Grandmother” watercolor painting by kayti sweetland rasmussen

These words written by Nancy Woods in her book “MANY WINTERS”.

“You know how it is. People come here and they want to know our secret of life. They ask many questions but their minds are already made up. They admire our children but thy feel sorry for them. They look around and they do not see anything except dust. They come to our dances but they are always wanting to take pictures.

They come into our homes expecting to learn about us in five minutes.

Our homes, which are made of mud and straw, look strange to them. They are glad they do not live here.

Yet they are not sure whether or not we know something which is the key to all understanding.

Our secret of life would take them forever to find out. Even then, they would not believe it.”

The words came from an old Indian at Taos Pueblo who sat on the roof of his house one afternoon, his back to the sun. He sat wrapped in his cotton blanket, his long hair in to braids. His face was wrinkled and the color of the earth from which his adobe house was made.

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6 comments on “MANY WINTERS

  1. The blight of tourism on the run. A great little story and such a wonderful painting..

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  2. Perfect words and a beautiful painting. Thanks 🙂

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  3. We used to joke in Liberia about the well-meaning people who came to “learn about Liberia” in one week, in-depth tours of the country. By the time they spent a couple of days in Monrovia, visited the hospital, the leprosarium, and a school and clinic, there was no time for meeting people — other than more expats.

    I’m not saying it was bad, or that they shouldn’t have come, but the fact is, it takes time to know a place, a person, a community. It’s made even more difficult because of our culture’s tendency to yap all the time. Talktalktalktalktalk…. To just sit in the afternoon sun, in silence? What a waste. 🙂

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  4. I learned that silence is golden when living with the Pueblo. It’s nice to just listen to the silence—remember Simon & Garfinkel?
    We have become such an ethnic diversified community, I wonder what they think of us “oldtimers”. Of course we could turn it around and ask “what do we think of them?” I’m sure we each have much to teach one another.

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