Wolfkiller: Wisdom from Nineteenth-Century Navajo Shephered

Overview

Fascinating history and compelling storytelling make Wolfkiller, the memoir of a Navajo shepherd man who lived in the Monument Valley region of the Southwest, a page-turning epic. In these stories compiled by Harvey Leake, Wolfkiller shares the ancient wisdom of the Navajo elders that was passed to him while a boy growing up near the Utah/Arizona border. Wolfkiller's story was recorded and translated by pioneer trader Louisa Wade Wetherill, an unlikely pairing that came together when she moved to this remote area...

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Overview

Fascinating history and compelling storytelling make Wolfkiller, the memoir of a Navajo shepherd man who lived in the Monument Valley region of the Southwest, a page-turning epic. In these stories compiled by Harvey Leake, Wolfkiller shares the ancient wisdom of the Navajo elders that was passed to him while a boy growing up near the Utah/Arizona border. Wolfkiller's story was recorded and translated by pioneer trader Louisa Wade Wetherill, an unlikely pairing that came together when she moved to this remote area of southern Utah in 1906. Wetherill recognized that Wolfkiller was a man of exceptional character, with lessons and wisdom of the Navajo that deserved to be recorded and preserved for the benefit of future generations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423600305
  • Publisher: Smith, Gibbs Publisher
  • Publication date: 2/13/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 592,381
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Harvey Leake began tracing the trail of his great-grandparents, Louisa and John Wetherill, more than twenty-five years ago in libraries, archives, and family papers, and by listening to the recollections of the family elders. He assists in the interpretation of historical documents and photographs for the Wetherill archive at the Anasazi Heritage Center in Dolores, Colorado. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering from Arizona State University and a Master of Arts degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.
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Read an Excerpt

I first met Wolfkiller in 1906 at Olj ato (Moonlight Water), in southeastern Utah. O lj ato, at that time, was one of the most remote places in the count r y. The nearest town was seve nty miles away, access to the area was difficult , and few outsiders ventured that way. The Navajos and P iutes who lived there still kept to their old customs, little affected by white society. None of them spoke English.

The residents of the Oljato region lived in hogans , which are conicalshaped houses made of poles covered with bark and mu d . The doorways face the sunrise, and a blanket is used as a door to keep out the blowing sand and cold. The only other opening is a smoke hole at the apex of the roof . Around the heart h , the packe d - dirt floor is carpeted with sheepskins and robes, making for a pleasant and cozy place to gather on cold evenings.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Preface vii

Introduction xi

PART I - Education 1

The Path of Light

Observation 7

Story: Creation of the Burro 7

Gratitude 11

Contentment 16

Story: The Desert Sparrow 17

Vision 20

Faith 23

Story: Origin of the People 23

Resolve 30

Desire 34

Story: The Raven 34

Hope 38

Nurture 44

Ambition 47

Story: The Plant with the Blue Flowers 48

Courage 50

Story: The Sunflower Patch 53

Generosity 57

Story: The Ant and the Wasp 57

Body Heat 62

PART II - Experience 65

A Warning of Trouble 65

Fighting the Evil Thought 69

The Hogan Song 71

Hiding Out 75

Joy 77

Surrender 80

The Long Walk 85

Home 91

The Hunt 92

Marriage 96

A Raid 98

Escape 103

Drought 109

A Necessary Evil 113

Keeping the Faith 119

The Coyote Path 122

The Long Trail 129

Epilogue 137

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 11, 2010

    This is a first hand account of Navajo history, culture, legends, and philosophy as told by a Navajo shepherd, Wolfkiller, to Louisa Wetherill, an early settler of the Utah/Arizona border area.

    This is a primary source of information about the Navajo culture, customs, legends, history, ceremonies, philosophy, and way of life. It shows that Navajo famalies were really very civilized and peaceful. Their love and respect for nature and their fellow man was part of their philosophy. This is a fascinating account of tales told to Louisa Wetherill, whose husband owned and operated trading posts in the area of the Utah/Arizona border. Louisa and her husband, John Wetherill, lived among the Navajo's and traded with them. Wolfkiller, a Navajo shepherd told Lousia all the Navajo history and legends, which she recorded by hand from 1885 until 1926. Her notes were compiled and published in 2007 in this book by Harvey Leake, her great grandson. This book also includes many historic, vintage photographs taken by the Wetherill family, who were early settlers and explorers of the area. The Wetherill family discovered and explored many of the ancient cliff dwellings of the area including Mesa Verde, Betatakin, and Keet Seel. They were the first non-Navajos given the knowledge of the Rainbow Bridge by a Navajo friend. This is a fascinating and inspiring book that everyone who loves the Southwest should read.

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