Book review: Evangeline Parsons-Yazzie continues Navajo saga in third novel
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Evangeline Parsons-Yazzie’s third volume, “Her Captive, Her Love” is a continuation of the first two books of one Naabeehó’s family’s resilience during the Long Walk.
The story began with “Her Land, Her Love,” and continued with “Her Enemy, Her Love.”
In the third volume of the story, Parsons-Yazzie tells the story of one Naabeehó’s family’s resilience during the Long Walk. The story sweeps down to the south to the Rio Grande and eastward across the mountains of Mescalero Apache.
Parsons-Yazzie said the reason for the books was to share with Navajo youth the truth about their history as told by their Navajo elders and also to inform Navajo youth about the strength of their ancestors and their Navajo people.
“It was to present the painful history of the Navajo people from an unusual viewpoint — that of a love story,” she said, “It was to inform Navajo youth about the strength of love in terms of survival of an individual, a family, and of a people and finally, it was to instill within Navajo youth and Navajos of all ages pride for their people, knowing they come from strong stock.”
According to a press release, In “Her Captive, Her Love,” Dzánibaa’ is taken from her home on Black Mesa (Dziłijiin), Arizona, then rescued by a young Mescalero Apache man. With her captive, her love at her side, she sets out on a journey to Fort Sumner with his Mescalero Apache people.
“My Navajo world was wonderful,” Parsons-Yazzie said.
Yazzie is an authority on Navajo culture, language and history. Originally from Hard Rock, Arizona, Yazzie is the daughter of a Baptist minister who wanted to plant churches across the Navajo Nation. She attended boarding school throughout her early life and into high school. Yazzie,
Her father taught her about Navajo culture, language and history. She enjoyed many hours of storytelling. Her parents were the first teachers and she remembers her father’s saying about learning the Navajo language.
“Speak from the heart,” he said.
Parsons-Yazzie earned her graduate degree in Bilingual Multicultural Education and her doctorate of Education with an emphasis on language preservation and language maintenance, both while attending Northern Arizona University in Flagtstaff, Arizona, where she taught for more than 20 years as a Navajo language professor. She currently lives in Flagstaff with her family.