Restoring Relations Through Stories

From Dinétah to Denendeh

Renae Watchman (Author), Luci Tapahonso (Foreword)
Paperback ($35.00), Hardcover ($100.00), Ebook ($35.00) Buy
This insightful volume delves into land-based Diné and Dene imaginaries as embodied in stories—oral, literary, and visual. Like the dynamism and kinetic facets of hózhǫ́,* Restoring Relations Through Stories takes us through many landscapes, places, and sites. Renae Watchman introduces the book with an overview of stories that bring Tsé Bitʼaʼí, or Shiprock Peak, the sentinel located in what is currently the state of New Mexico, to life. The book then introduces the dynamic field of Indigenous film through a close analysis of two distinct Diné-directed feature-length films, and ends by introducing Dene literatures.

While the Diné (those from the four sacred mountains in Dinétah in the southwestern United States) are not now politically and economically cohesive with the Dene (who are in Denendeh in Canada), they are ancestral and linguistic relatives. In this book, Watchman turns to literary and visual texts to explore how relations are restored through stories, showing how literary linkages from land-based stories affirm Diné and Dene kinship. She explores the power of story to forge ancestral and kinship ties between the Diné and Dene across time and space through re-storying of relations.

*A complex Diné worldview and philosophy that cannot be defined with one word in the English language. Hózhǫ́ means to continually strive for harmony, beauty, balance, peace, and happiness, but most importantly the Diné have a right to it.

“Watchman shows how the old stories, maintained over centuries . . . tie together the Diné and Dene through ancestral and linguistic connections. The works that are surveyed herein reinforce the import of remembering, retelling, and revising the old stories so that they are germane today.”—Luci Tapahonso, from the foreword

"Restoring Relations Through Stories shows how land-based storying among Diné and Dene peoples is strong and continues in the twenty-first century and beyond. It demonstrates how Indigenous peoples continue to remain connected to the land and sustain distinctive ways of life through their narratives, lands, and filmmaking."—Lloyd Lee, author of Diné Identity in a Twenty-First Century World

"Renae Watchman’s Restoring Relations Through Stories introduces readers to the powerful force of 'Hane’tonomy' and the work of Diné creatives who refuse misappropriated and inauthentic views by advancing decisive versions of their world. Hane’tonomy provides us all with a new framework for understanding complex works such as Sydney Freeland’s Drunktown’s Finest, Blackhorse Lowe’s 5th World, or Hollywood’s deracinating obsession with the Navajo Nation and Shiprock as a backdrop. It moves toward a meaningful, though potentially daunting, provocation in forging new connections through restorying with ancestral kin of the Diné in present-day Canada."—Jeff Berglund, co-editor of The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature
Restoring Relations Through Stories
248 Pages 6 x 9
Published: April 2024Paperback ISBN: 9780816550340
Published: April 2024Hardcover ISBN: 9780816550357
Published: April 2024Ebook ISBN: 9780816550364

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