We Are Many Languages – The Basket

We Are Many Languages – The Basket

poem by Kaly Arvizu, age 13

A special gift from my great Nali – My Mom’s Paternal Grandma.
Given to my Masani – My mom’s mother.
Who gave it to me.
Nizhoni – Beautiful.
Woven from sumac and dyed with natural roots.
Smells like Nahasdzáán Nihimá – Mother Earth.
The first time I’ve seen one, was at
Shí’naaíí’s – My Older Brother’s wedding.
Inside had black patterns with a red band, the outside was white.
Often you can find one hanging on the wall in someone’s house.
I’ve also seen it used in our traditional ceremonies.
The Diné view it as a map to chart their lives.
The center represents our entry into this fourth glittering world.
The black represents hardship, struggle and pain.
The red band represents the spirit world,
where our holy ones reside.
The white presents purity, blessings and enlightenment.
Each side represents the Diné principles and sacred mountains.
Ha’a’aah – East, Shádi’ááh – South,
E’e’aah – West, Náhookǫs – North
The line from the center to the outer rim,
is a pathway out to the light.

2015 Scholastic Writing Awards Silver Key

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