2018 Yellow Woman

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Today we will create a Google My Map with locations that were important in the collection of writings by Leslie Marmon Silko "Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit: Essays on Native American Life Today." Simon and Schuster. 1997. This book is one of the best discussions of the importance of place by a Native writer and also allows us to examine a dramatic and beautiful portion of the country from the mesa east of Albuquerque, New Mexico, extending to near grant and Gallup, New Mexico extending to norther Arizona and the various peoples that inhabit this area.

I have been looking over Leslie Silko’s essay Interior and Exterior Landscapes, looking for stories or themes that could be mapped in our class exercise. I have found the following 5-6 topics and am providing useful links.  Each student will choose one of these topic in class (first come first served) and we will collaborate on a Google My Map with each particular topic visualized in a different layer.

You should read the essay by Silko and look for themes or issues relevant to the topics you might want to examine.  References to some of these are found only on a few pages, others are scattered throughout the essay.  Be creative and imaginative. I provide some references to get you started, you should add additional materials (remember to save the links so that you can cite your sources in your map).

Here is an example of an ethnographic map that was created from interviews of elders, your map will be a variation of this type of map


1) The story of the Gambler Ka’tsina stealing the rain clouds on pp 29-30.  Ka’tsina live on Mountains from which they descend to participate in ceremonies. The mountain next to Laguna Pueblo is Tzood’zil, also called Mt. Taylor by Europeans. The Primary home of the Ka’tsinas is Dook’o’slid or the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon.

sources: http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/katsina-or-kachina-barry-walsh-on-the-spiritual-roots-of-native-american-dolls/




2) The high dark mesa 15 miles SE of Laguna Pueblo from where the Apaches ambushed Silko’s ancestors 150 years ago.  This should involve mapping the areas claimed by both Apaches and Laguna Pueblo and their historic conflicts.

Sources: http://mescaleroapachetribe.com/




3) The Laguna Pueblo migration (creation) story, which includes their emergence from a spring near the Village of Paguate and their travels to their current residence at Laguna Pueblo itself. This case will be done by two students, one mapping Paguate and the other Mapping Laguna Pueblo and its surroundings and figuring out why Laguna rather than Paguate is the primary home of the people today. Also look at Mesilla, Dripping Springs, NM; Sedillo Grant

sources: http://www.lagunapueblo-nsn.gov/




4) The uranium deposits and the open pit Jackpile Mine that has become a major part of the Laguna Pueblo’s recent history. A key element of this story is the failure of dam that allowed thousands of gallons of waste water and mine tailings to flow down the Rio Puerco, and the impacts on the local environment. Also look at Grants, NM





5) The setting for Silko’s story Storyteller, which is set in SW Alaska in the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge near the town of Bethel, involving a Yupik woman, avenging the killing of her parents.






List of Place names for Leslie Silko’s Interior and Exterior Landscapes

Laguna Pueblo

Paguate (natural spring): possible emergence place

Hopi: Second and Third Mesa

Zuni Pueblo

Acoma Pueblo (Sky City)

Chaco Canyon 

Mt. Taylor: The place where rainclouds gather

Rio Puerco

High Dark mesa 15 miles southeast of Laguna

Jackpile Uranium Mine

Lava Beds (Blood of the Monsters)

Grants, New Mexico

Gallup, New Mexico

San Francisco Peaks

(These last 2 are more difficult)

Giant Sandstone Boulder  (Heart of the Estrucuyo): one mile north of Old Laguna

Wide Deep Arroyo near King’s Bar: eater of cars, just outside Rez border