The Navajo know

No time for an actual post this week, so allow me to whet your appetites and, for some of you at least, lubricate your memories. Today in my American lit class we were discussing a version of the Navajo emergence story — the account of how the DinĂ© came to inhabit this, the Fifth World — and in preparation I found myself tumbling down the modest-sized Navajo rabbit hole on YouTube. I really dug this channel from a guy who teaches you useful phrases in Navajo and this version of the emergence story we were reading. Of course there were a couple vintage films with racist bilagáana narrators. But what I’m really excited to share with you is this two part series on how to make fry bread for Navajo tacos. I can’t even start to explain what a fundamental part of my childhood this food item was. The guest chef on this show is the best.

I’m seriously considering whipping up a batch of these with my students. Navajo tacos play a significant role in anyone else’s early life?

Here’s his recipe for posole. Happy Monday.

    2 responses to “The Navajo know”

    1. T-Mo says:

      I’ve had Navajo tacos in Tuba City, AZ, and they were amazing. It’s about the only kind of taco not readily available in LA. Apparently, there is a fry bread truck, but I have yet to see it.

      The Southwest has been on my mind lately because I’m reading American Character, a bio of Charles Fletcher Lummis, who has been credited with (or blamed for) popularizing the Southwest in the late 19th and early 20th c. He was kind of a nut, a journalist and one of the first editors on the LA Times. When he got the job in LA, he decided to walk there from Ohio and write about his journey. He lost his job when he had a stress-induced stroke and became partially paralyzed. He went to New Mexico to recuperate and, among other things, lived in a pueblo community. While he was there, he learned how to shoot game (and roll cigarettes) one-handed. Eventually, he recovered and moved back to LA, where he built a house out of river rock, where he held famous salons and displayed all kinds of artifacts he’d collected in NM, and started The Land of Sunshine, a serial that acted as a booster for Southern California, especially its agriculture and real estate. In that way, he was sort of the Huell Howser of his time.

    2. Dave says:

      I used to love getting fry bread when we’d drive through the reservation, or at the State Fair. I don’t remember a lot of Navajo tacos, though — I liked the bread with honey drizzled on it. Navajo tacos I associate with the (pre-renovation) Cougareat, which I guess did play some kind of mythic role in my childhood.