Emily Benedek -
Beyond the Four Corners of the World
November 18, 1995
About the Author
Emily Benedek is a journalist and author. Her articles and essays have appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Glamour and on NPR, among others. She is the author of "The Wind Won't Know Me: A History of Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute" (Knopf, 1992), "Beyond the Four Corners of the World: A Navajo Woman's Journey" (Knopf, 1996) and "Through the Unknown, Remembered Gate: A Spiritual Journey" (Shocken, 2001).
About this Book
In this compelling account of a remarkable woman and her struggle to find her place in the world, we follow Ella Bedonie from her childhood tending sheep in the high desert canyons of the Navajo Indian reservation and sleeping on hogan floors to the long, frightening bus ride to boarding school, and on into the white world and a college degree. We meet her grandparents and her parents, who plant corn and worship their gods much as their own grandparents did. We meet her husband and her children, whose lives straddle two worlds - ancient and modern, sacred and profane. As their stories unfold, we come to appreciate the Navajo society into which Ella was born - still in the 1950s an almost 19th-century world of visions and spirits, a world ordered by the unambiguous demands of religious tradition and ritual. We see that now, because of the genius of the Navajo culture for incorporating change, it is a world in which the established has made room for the new while at the same time maintaining its unique bond with the past.