A Navajo Legacy : The Life and Teachings of John Holiday

A Navajo Legacy : The Life and Teachings of John Holiday


For almost ninety years, Navajo medicine man John Holiday has watched the sun rise over the rock formations of his home in Monument Valley. Author and scholar Robert S. McPherson interviewed Holiday extensively and in A Navajo Legacy records his full and fascinating life.

In the first part of this book, Holiday describes how, at an early age, he began an apprenticeship with his grandfather to learn the Blessingway ceremony. As a youth, Holiday traveled over the desert with family members to find forage for the animals and plants for healing practices. He experienced the invasion of Monument Valley by whites and later participated in the early filmmaking industry. Holiday was employed in the 1930s with the Civilian Conservation Corps and then served a brief stint in the military. During the 1950s he mined in one of the two largest uranium deposits on the Navajo Reservation. He also worked on the railroad in Utah. But he always returned to eke out a living with his livestock and agriculture.

In the second part of the book, Holiday details family and tribal teachings. All of Holiday's experiences and teachings reflect the thoughts of a traditional practitioner who has found in life both beauty and lessons for future generations.

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