Finalist: NM & Arizona Book Awards
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Coyote: The Life and Times of Visionary Navajo Artist David Chethlahe Paladin
$19.95 + $2.98 postage & handling (US)
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This is the second book included with John D Kennedy Southwest Indian Trading Books.
Societies the world over are populated with people who never overcome economic or social obstacles, while others in the same societies are able to meet their challenges and seek resolutions. Those people survive by their response to events and relationships as they enhance their personality, character, and spirituality.
Coyote provided important life lessons for David Chethlahe (Chet-la-hey) Paladin. Known as a trickster, Coyote, according to Navajo mythology, brought light into the world when he sneaked up on the keeper of fire, Black God. While Black God slept, Coyote stole fire. During his return journey, Coyote was badly burned. Despite his injuries, Coyote was able to return with enough fire to light half of the world; hence day and night. The sandpainting depicting this event appears on the cover of this book with an explanation included in the story and the relationship to David.
Chethlahe's life was a series of challenges that included an identity quest revolving around his Native American spiritualism and Anglo religion. In his fourteenth year he entered the Army and became a sabotage agent in World War II. Following capture, through a series of incredible events, he became a prisoner in the German concentration camp at Dachau. During captivity his native spiritualism helped sustain him. He returned to a United States as a paraplegic. He was dismissed (kicked out) from a military hospital and ultimately turned to his culture and spiritual training for healing.
Through determination David Chethlahe Paladin became a renowned artist. Upon his death in 1984, Newsweek Magazine noted that he was the most prominent American Indian artist of our time.
Unlike many stereotypical narratives of down-and-out life on an Indian reservation, this story tells of beauty and majesty in Navajo life. It is a reflection of the author's appreciation and admiration for Indian spirituality and an incredible story of a special man.