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Book reading honors veterans at Farmington Indian Center
Author reads excerpts from 2014 novel about Long Walk
FARMINGTON — Veterans who attended the annual Veterans Day dinner at the Farmington Indian Center today were treated to a presentation that shared a perspective of Navajo warriors from a novel set during the Long Walk.
Evangeline Parsons Yazzie read excerpts from her 2014 novel, "Her Land, Her Love," which blends romance, conflict and history in telling the story of a Navajo family's effort to persevere while under forced relocation to Fort Sumner.
Yazzie said before the reading that her two brothers are Air Force veterans — one for four years and the other for 36 years — and she has a son-in-law who served in the Army.
"I dedicate this reading of my novel to our beautiful veterans who served our country with bravery and dedication," Yazzie said.
Yazzie, who is an emerita professor of Navajo at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, wrote the novel in the Navajo language with English translations.
As part of the presentation, Yazzie showed black-and-white photographs from a collection by the Navajo Gospel Mission in Hardrock, Ariz. Also displayed were several passages from the book, written in Navajo and English.
In an interview after the presentation, Yazzie said the third novel in the series will be released in December.
Myra Newman, division manager for the center, said Farmington Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs is celebrating 60 years in existence, and each month the department is featuring a division.
Since the center is the highlight for November, officials wanted to add a special element to the annual Veterans Day event by inviting Yazzie to speak.
"In her story, she talks about Navajo warriors, and their importance and their role," Newman said about Yazzie's novel.
Farmington resident Esther Trujillo attended the event with her husband, Alfred Trujillo, who is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Army.
"I thought it was good. It was interesting," Esther Trujillo said about the reading.
Denise Yazzie has read both of Evangeline Parsons Yazzie's books and had the author sign a copy of "Her Enemy, Her Love."
"She shares a lot about the responsibilities and the roles of Navajo men as warriors," Denise Yazzie said.
Yazzie teaches history at Navajo Preparatory School and brought three students to volunteer at the event.
"It's one of our favorite events. …It's a community service project where they feel it's their time to give back. It's a way to show support for the veterans," she said.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.