“Chee’s Daughter,” a story by Juanita Platero and Siyowin Miller, is about a Navajo man who encounters personal tragedy, only to find that his daughter has been taken away from home because of old customs and traditions. How will his sorrow resolve? Take a look and enjoy this story, which is often included in high school and college textbooks as required reading.
If Chee takes care of his land, will the land take care of him? Enjoy!
Read “Chee’s Daughter” HERE.
“Springtime transformed the mesas. The peach trees in the canyon were shedding fragrance and pink blossoms on the gentled wind. The sheep no longer foraged for the yellow seeds of chamiso but ranged near the hogan with the long-legged new lambs, eating tender young grass.”
For study: Find three passages in the story which illustrate Chee’s attitude and beliefs about the land.
Vocabulary: “Coughing Sickness” — Tuberculosis
Activity: Learn more about Native American life in a Hogan.
“Chee’s Daughter” was first published in 1948.
Culture Connection: Traditional Navajo culture is matrilineal; a family traces its ancestry back through the mother’s line, and children belong to the mother’s clan. Several generations of a family might live together. Women have an important position in Navajo society; the oldest woman in the family enjoys a place at the center of family life. The largest Native American tribe in the United States, the Navajo have adopted peaceful arts—from the Mexicans metalworking, from the Pueblo Indians weaving. The Navajo reside on reservations in northeastern Arizona, north-western New Mexico, and southeastern Utah.
Read more about Navajo life, land and history HERE.
. . .A Bit About the Authors . . .
Juanita Platero and Shiyowin Miller met in 1929,when Platero was Living on a Navajo reservation in New Mexico and Miller was living in California. The two women collaborated on the novel The Winds Erase your Footprints, which took them several years to write. The theme of that novel, as well as of “Chee’s Daughter,” which first appeared in Common Ground Magazine, is the Native American Struggle to preserve ancient ways amid modern culture.