Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Diné t'áá bi at'éego, wholeness as a well-directed person: Navajo narratives that revisit the work of Kenneth Begishe
by Brown, Gilbert, Ph.D., The University of Arizona, 2013, 324; 3554980
Abstract (Summary)

This grounded theory qualitative study explores conceptualizations of Diné T'áá Bi At'éego, "a well-directed person," held by eighteen Diné people, ranging in age from their 20s to 70s, from three distinctly different communities. By inquiring into personal attributes and abilities valued in Diné culture, the groundbreaking work of Navajo philosopher Kenneth Begishe is extended.

The purpose of this study is to identify and document specific characteristics, attributes, skills, knowledge, practices, connections, and relationships currently honored and respected within Diné communities so they might be used to develop long-term Student Learning Objectives in the creation of a Diné culture based curriculum supporting the development of a strong Diné identity in students.

The data, provided by participants through interviews, leads to the emergence of four umbrella categories (Thinking, Doing, Being, Achieving Harmony) and numerous sub-categories constituting the characteristics attributes, skills, knowledge, connections, and relationships valued and respected by the participants. The results are compared to Kenneth Begishe's (1968) model of "Diné T'áá Bi At'éego," in which he indicates important characteristics of a well-directed person. The comparison suggests that Diné people continue to value many of the same characteristics Begishe identified more than four decades ago. In spite of the affirmation of characteristics represented in Begishe's model, participants in this study provide a recurring theme that is not articulated by Begishe—the achievement of harmony, which, a review of the literature reveals, is closely related to three important aspects of the Diné worldview, K'é, Sa'ah Naagháí Bik'eh Hózhó (SNBH), and Hózhó.

Study findings suggest that although Diné people who participated in the project continue to value time-honored characteristics, attributes, skills, knowledge, practices, connections, and relationships in people they admire and respect, they do hold several conceptualizations that seem to be shifting away from traditional Diné perspectives and toward those held in the mainstream.

Study data further reveals four categories of narratives used by participants to communicate and emphasize characteristics, attributes, skills, knowledge, practices, connections, and relationships exhibited by those who are "well-directed." The narratives range from traditional accounts involving mythical elements, to first-person descriptions of individuals with whom participants were intimately familiar.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Short, Kathy G.
Commitee: Evers, Lawrence J., Gilmore, Perry, McCarty, Theresa L.
School: The University of Arizona
Department: Language, Reading & Culture
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Curriculum development, Native American studies
Keywords: Culture based education, Indigenous, Narrative, Navajo, Ontology
Publication Number: 3554980
ISBN: 978-1-267-96002-3
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