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The Navajo Essay

1098 words - 5 pages

Do you believe in witches? Healers who can revive a sick person instantly? People turning into animals? These things are part of the Navajo, a large federally recognized tribe of the country. They are known for doing rituals, ceremonies, and having their mysterious beliefs. This involves witches, “skinwalkers,” and medicine-men. Many of these topics are recognized in Bless Me, Ultima written by Rudolfo Anaya. The story features a boy who is conflicted between several cultural traditions. Ultima, a wise curandera – or healer –, guides and watches Antonio throughout the story. The impact of culture significantly affects the characters and their actions. Anaya introduces many subjects that are very similar to the Navajo and its vital aspects of life. Among the topics alike factors are connections to the land, healers, witches, religion, and many more. The Navajo lifestyle, culture traditions and beliefs are very similar to the indigenous subjects of Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima.
First of all, the Navajo lifestyle is very similar to the concepts of Bless Me, Ultima. In the Navajos' daily life ceremonies and rituals are practiced. These ceremonies are performed to treat and heal physical and/or mental illnesses. There are more than 50 different kinds of ceremonies that the Navajo may use. Like how Ultima sings a song while she cures Uncle Lucas, the Navajo chant during their performances. Navajo performers also dance and sand-paint for the rituals. As Ultima and Tony heal Uncle Lucas, the two take many days to cure him. The Navajo also hold their ceremonies that may last from one to nine days, depending on how long it takes for the sick person to be revived. Color is also very symbolic, as there was different, separate meanings for each one. Another topic that holds similarity is emphasis on nature. Many of the rituals are based off of nature, where the Navajo use mainly herbs to heal people. Ultima's method of healing Uncle Lucas resembles the Navajo's lifestyle of daily rituals and ceremonies (“Navajo Indian Culture and Traditions”).
Next, healing and witchcraft are vital practices of the Navajo; this resembles Ultima's role and the three witches. Medicine-men, important healers who are part of Navajo life, cure and prevent the mind or body from disease. In order to heal the people, medicine-men perform rituals similar to the traditional ones. During the year, there are multiple performances. One must practice for years and attain sufficient knowledge in order to qualify as a medicine-men. They are required to restore peace and harmony to the patients. Thus, many of them are of an old age and holds wisdom; this resembles Ultima. Others outside the Navajo tribe often underestimate medicine-men and their abilities. Some people would go to them whenever a family member was sick, but others would prefer going to a modern doctor. After Ultima heals Uncle Lucas, many people did not praise her immensely at the end of Chapter 10. Another example...

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