Stories go to work on you like arrows

ARACNIFORME_HN

 

I think of that mountain called Tséé Ligai Dah Sidilé (White Rocks Lie Above In A Compact Cluster) as if it were my maternal grandmother. I recall stories of how it once was at that mountain. The stories told to me were like arrows. Elsewhere, hearing that mountain’s name, I see it. Its name is like a picture. Stories go to work on you like arrows. Stories make you live right. Stories make you replace yourself.

(Benson Lewis, age 64, 1979)

Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, p. 38

Drawing of Anansi, the spider from the Ashanti people
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Wisdom sits in places

ESTELIFORME_HN

 

Wisdom sits in places. It’s like water that never dries up. You need to drink water to stay alive, don’t you? Well, you also need to drink from places. You must remember everything about them. You must learn their name. You must remember what happened in them long ago. You must think about it and keep on thinking about it. Then your mind will become smoother and smoother. Then you will se danger before it happens. You will walk a long way and live a long time. You will be wise. People will respect you.

Dudley Patterson, Cibecue Apache elder

Dudley Patterson, Cibecue Apache elder; Wisdom Sits in Places: Landscape and Language Among the Western Apache, Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, p. 127

Illustration inspired by a drawing of the Huichol people of Mexico