The Blessing Way: Notes From the Book

I just finished The Blessing Way by Tony Hillerman. I wanted to read this book because it is about Native Americans and the Navajo Nation. It was a gripping mystery novel. I really enjoyed reading it and I’m planning on reading more of the Leaphorn and Chee books.

Below are my notes that are directly quoted from the book. All of the notes are about the Navajo people and their culture. I haven’t fact-checked any of these.

Notes From the Book

“Leaphorn insisting that there was a basis of truth in the Navajo Origin Myth, that some people did deliberately turn antisocial, away from the golden mean of nature, deliberately choose the unnatural, and therefore, in Navajo belief, the evil way.”

“The white man sees the desolation and calls it a desert, McKee thought, but the Navajo name for it means ‘Beautiful Valley.'”

“…the Navajo Way was the Middle Way, which avoided all excesses – even of happiness.”

“You know how it is with the Dinee. The only name that really counts is the war name you get when you’re little. And that one’s a secret inside your family it’s only used in your Blessing Way ceremonial or if you get somebody to sing you a cure.”

“But Navajos didn’t hurry. In Fact, there was no word in the Navajo language for time.”

“Why did Navajos kill? Not as lightly as white men, because the Navajo Way made life the ultimate value and death unrelieved terror.”

“Navajos did not kill with cold-blooded premeditation. Nor did they kill for profit. To do so violated the scale of values of The People. Beyond meeting simple immediate needs, the Navajo Way placed little worth on property. In fact, being richer than one’s clansmen carried with it a social stigma. It was unnatural, and therefore suspicious.”

And years roll by, And time heals all, And soon we’re dead, We’re peaceful dead.”

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