“Remember” (For Joy Harjo) – A Diné College Creative Writing Student Group Poem

Oct 20, 2023 | Blog, Elder Story Series


Milton Bluehouse Jr. (Navajo/Diné)
Clarencia White (Navajo/Diné)
Jalen Smallcanyon (Navajo/Diné)
Isaac Madson (Navajo/Diné)
Kayden McThomas (Navajo/Diné)
Sasha Araba (Navajo/Diné)
Shealee Yazzie (Navajo/Diné)
Danielle Manygoats (Navajo/Diné)
Tanya Mailboy (Navajo/Diné)
Charmayne Gene (Navajo/Diné)

Diné College Creative Writing Student Group Poem


Remember praying before early dawn to Mother Earth is the strongest time to have your prayers heard by the holy people.

Remember you pray to the east during early dawn, you pray to bring good health, balance, harmony, and a good journey in life.

Remember that beauty is within you and around you, as grandmother used to say.

Remember when Shinálí Asdzáá’ stared longingly at her mother’s sheep? Her mother loved them very much. Oh, how dibé had always cared for her in return.

Remember….as we were young our grandparents taught us to respect our culture with ceremonial events and when we were naughty we were scolded.

Remember following grandfather carrying a pot of coffee with a tray of fried potatoes and roasted mutton walking to the old house to feed my disabled uncles and learning one meaning of love.

Remember how powerfully she kneads the dough in her strong hands, hands that cooked and raised her ten other siblings. She rose to meet her responsibilities like the dough.

Remember your songs, how children learned the Navajo Language through rhythm and sound. You were the reason the language still exists because all of the children grew up singing with you.

Remember your movements, how the children were dancing along with the drumming and singing. You were the embodiment of the language because all of the children danced with you to every beat.

Remember that you guided them through music and dance to speak the language.

Remember the stories our people have told. They tell us who we are, our homeland, Mother Earth and Father Sky.

Remember your grandfather’s voice, hear the echo of his lessons, Há łeh beh says the voice.

Remember her soft voice asking if I was coming home this weekend, always making plans without telling me. Oh, Shinálí Asdzáá’.

Remember her hands are wrinkled while painting her fingernails. Shimásání Ella stared out the window, counting the cars that traveled across the window.

Remember their happy eyes and welcoming voices calling to me, ‘Baby, she’awéé, dóó Asdzáá’ Tł’ízí łání Neez.” Ayóó’ ‘ánííníshní, nihizáanii.

Remember to prune the trees and leave room for growth, it may be hard to let go, but there is still more beyond what you can see.

Remember the wisdom that is instilled in you, Inna bee nahelildi.


Read more from the Elder Story Series here.

The College Fund is inviting TCU students, faculty/staff, leadership, and community elders to share their stories. Learn more here.

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