Grandma’s Challenge

In memory of Ruth Arviso Polacca

“T’áá aniigo bee yájíłti’ doo bee jiiná.”
To live what you speak,
this is something my grandmother practiced.
Shimásání yee ‘ayói ‘akóniįłee nit’ee.
She always said, “Take care of the land, it will always feed you.”
“Shá ałchíní nihi kéyah baa ‘ada’hołyá, nahasdzáán nihímá náha’ałtsó’.”

She passed on over 40 years ago, 97 years old.
My aunt found her lying in her cornfield where she had been hoeing.
She lived what she said.

She passed on over 40 years ago, 97 years old.
My aunt found her lying in her cornfield where she had been hoeing.
She lived what she said.

She passed on over 40 years ago, 97 years old.
My aunt found her lying in her cornfield where she had been hoeing.
She lived what she said.

She passed on over 40 years ago, 97 years old.
My aunt found her lying in her cornfield where she had been hoeing.
She lived what she said.

She always said, “Take care of the land, it will always feed you.”
“Shá ałchíní nihi kéyah baa ‘ada’hołyá, nahasdzáán nihímá náha’ałtsó’.”

She always said, “Take care of the land, it will always feed you.”
“Shá ałchíní nihi kéyah baa ‘ada’hołyá, nahasdzáán nihímá náha’ałtsó’.”

She always said, “Take care of the land, it will always feed you.”
“Shá ałchíní nihi kéyah baa ‘ada’hołyá, nahasdzáán nihímá náha’ałtsó’.”

She always said, “Take care of the land, it will always feed you.”
“Shá ałchíní nihi kéyah baa ‘ada’hołyá, nahasdzáán nihímá náha’ałtsó’.”

This is a challenge that my grandmother,
a woman of the Ta’neeszahnii clan, left me.
Notes:

Audio version performed by the author.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2022)