Tylin, a small Navajo boy in my class, carries around an American slap band. I think that sums up what I see as a clash within the Navajo. These kids receive almost no instruction on culture. But since these kids are fourth graders and learning how to form sentences, there is a lot of catching up to do. They get a pass of some sort.
Our teacher Ms. Black grew up on the tail end of the Navajo boarding school culture. She was forced into a school environment where she had to abandon her Navajo roots and so she maintained it among her fellow classmates. These kids have little to maintain. Ms Black tells us that these kids wish they were white (something a lot of minorities deal with in the discussion of race). And so what is the point of culture? Ms Black and other older Navajo we have talked to are not against schooling. Progress is useful but is pointless without guidance by culture. But if these kids cant grasp either then I’m needed to push culture and schooling into their hands. -Paris ’17