Hozho ways and thoughts of my nah’li sani


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I am remembering my nah’li sani this morning.

My memories of her are a beautiful reminder of my childhood and one of the best parts of waking up somedays. As I jog my memory of her, I think of being a little girl who was left with my nah’li sani for whatever reasons and find gratitude. My nah’li sani blessed me as I look back and recall how she would wake up early routinely and like clockwork, start a fire, make some coffee, and tell me to wake up at this hour. As I look out my window this morning, I see the sky start to light up with shades of blue and dark sky fading away. I remember the old woman who blessed me with my name and at this hour say “ah’eeh’eh”.

As a child, when I’d peek out the window, I’d see just a little bit of blue on the horizon, just like I see right now. Without saying a word, I’d roll over and cover my head. She’d let me sleep in just a little while longer, but as the sky started to light up more, I could hear her doing her morning chores from under the blanket.

As my grandma nah’li sani would start her morning, she’d turn on the radio and tell me to wake up a couple times. As she walked over to turn on the radio, which was tuned into AM 660 KTNN, she’d walk by me and say in Diné, “Wake up, the sheep need to be taken out, they need to be taken across the way.” As I’d dread having to get out of bed, I’d roll over and just look to see what my nah’li sani was doing. She would start peeling potatoes with a paring knife as her coffee brewed, I’d lay in bed and pretend to sleep.

When I think back to memories I have of her home, I recall her two room home, which was at one time a one room unit my grandpa had built for her. Years later, an addition was built, which became her kitchen, living, and sleeping area in one. While she could not have a water well installed, we had to haul in buckets of water to wash dishes, cook, and bathe. The memories of her home has me thinking of the fresh water spills that she had made to brew her coffee. I’m also remembering from one particular morning, of the many I have, the bowl of dough made with Blue Bird flour setting off to the side with a dish towel covering it. The memories of my nahlii’s fresh homemade tortillas for breakfast are beautiful!

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Thinking back, as the sun began to light up more of the sky, she’d tell me for the last time, “You need to wake up. Go run, go splash your face with water. Wake up.” As my nah’li sani peeled the potatoes, she would sit there quietly and mumble things. Sometimes she’d be irked with her dogs and tell no one in particular how dirty her dogs were for getting into the trash or tearing up her blankets.

As memories of my nah’li sani flood my morning, I realize those are some of the most precious thoughts I have in my heart today as a mother. I share them with my children and know they are making memories with their Ele today, just as I did with mine and believe the role of grandparents is such a blessing to children. My free weekends of being kid free, while my babies spend time with their grandparents, are spent cherishing my personal time, but also relishing in memories of my childhood. Funny how life does this to a person as we get older.

Today, actually this mornings blog thoughts out loud is dedicated to the loving memories of my nah’li sani. From her homemade tortillas and potatoes with spam breakfast, coffee brewed in the blue enamel cookware, the yellow squash colored painted room we slept in, the wood stove crackling cedar or juniper pine, and the small radio that we listened to KTNN with. I sure feel blessed as I look back.

All the years of internalized racism that I had learned are undone when I think of my nah’li sani. She epitomizes everything of Hozho which grounds me like no other. Her words, burned in my memory, are what I carry with me as I look at these stack of books and articles that I have to get through.

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As I started my day this morning, I brewed my coffee, burned some juniper, and prayed just like my nah’li sani would do and felt like she taught me some of the most basic life lessons as an Indigenous woman. Diyin dine’h sure know what we need. With that, I will enclose and wish each and everyone of my readers, wherever you may be out in the world, whether on Turtle island, or in some other part of the world, I wish you Hozho… Beauty way thoughts. Yox~

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4 thoughts on “Hozho ways and thoughts of my nah’li sani

  1. This is so beautiful! 🙂 I wish when I was young I had a close relationship with my grandparents. On a side note, the past two weeks my children have been learning about Native American Indian culture for homeschool and yesterday we read a story about Turtle Island. Your writings are so beautiful and inspirational. Have a good weekend! 🙂

    • You’re welcome and thank you. I am unable to link to it at the moment, but please go through the blogs I follow link, there is a blog there ran by Debbie Reese which has a wealth and plethora of resources for literature on Natives. I know you will find something in that blog of treasure. Have a beautiful day and kind regards.

      • Thank you for the resource info. I will definitely look through the links you recommended! I know my son (age 13) will particularly like reading more because he loves learning about different cultures! 🙂

  2. There is something about Fall that brings those who have passed into the next world close. Finding compassion and correction for one’s internal racism and self-deprecation is hard work. I’m still, as an elder, working on that one. Thank you for this marvelous post.

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