Earth Is My Mother Sky Is My Father Book Review

1746 words - 7 pages

Anthropologist Trudy Griffin Pierce wrote Earth Is My Mother, Sky Is My Father to inform her readers about the Navajo way of life through her own anthropological research used to publish this book as well as research done by other anthropologists. This essay will review the research done by Griffin Pierce and other anthropologists she cites in her attempt to inform readers about the Navajo tribe. To elaborate, this essay will highlight research done by two different anthropologists Griffin Pierce uses to explain more about Navajo life and will assess whether or not Griffin Pierce successfully provides valuable information.
Griffin Pierce, in the first two chapters discusses how the Navajos utilize their geography and what it means to them. She also covers the symbols of their religion, how families function, as well as how the United States government exploited them. Griffin-Pierce cites research from Elsi Clews Parsons to describe the religious traditions of the Navajo people. The study found “more than 160 parallels between Pueblo and Navajo ceremonial practices, such as the use of masks, sand-paintings, prayer sticks, and color symbolism” (Griffin Pierce 1992: 13). Through Clews Parsons’ research Griffin Pierce describes how towns within the Navajo celebrate their religion whether it is through the use of symbols, masks, or religious ceremonies. This informs readers about objects and rituals of the Navajo religion and explains their relevance to their religious beliefs. It also provides legitimate research done from another professional. Now I will move onto how the Navajo came to be living where they did and how they interacted with their environment. A significant part of Navajo history and culture is their homeland. The book cites “they settled within the area bounded by the four Sacred Mountains, spreading out from the Gobernador region into what is now the Four Corners area- the Colorado Plateau country where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado intersect.” (Griffin Pierce 1992: 13 &14). This is important because readers get a sense of where the Navajo lived and what the landscape was like. Griffin Pierce also discusses how Navajo viewed the area of land they inhabited, specifically the mountains within the region. To add on this the book explains how the Navajo observe their environment and what thoughts they attach to it, “it is not surprising to find a male and female figure represented in groupings of these mountains, with each responsible for separate realms of existence the male figure rules all plants and wildlife while the female being is in charge of water and water creatures.” (Griffin Pierce 1992: 14 & 15). This is informs readers about the Navajo tribe because she explains how the Navajo apply the landscape they occupy to their religious beliefs by describing how they take parts of the natural environment and divide them into male and female beings with specific roles. Griffin Pierce also elaborates further...

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