West of the Thirties: Discoveries Among the Navajo and Hopi

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Doubleday, 1994 - History - 187 pages
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From 1933 to 1937, famed anthropologist Edward T. Hall, author of the classic The Silent Language, lived and worked on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in Arizona. West of the Thirties is the story of Hall as a young man discovering his way in what might have been another century and another world, a frontier where four cultures - Navajo, Hopi, Hispanic, and Anglo - clashed. Looking back at the history of white men among Indians in this stark and haunting landscape, Hall weaves a firsthand account of two proud worlds - the frugal, pueblo-dwelling Hopis, with their isolated villages high on the mesa tops and their deeply felt religious faith; and the proud Navajos, whose rhythm and ceremonious forms of respect Hall learned as he worked with them. As he discovered the deeply different human logic of the Navajos and the Hopis, Hall began to recognize how culture itself was at work in each person's behavior. The respect he felt and displayed earned him a friendly Navajo nickname - Chiz Chili, meaning Slim Curly Hair - and a mentor, the great Indian trader Lorenzo Hubbell. Set under the vast arch of sky in place of unforgettable beauty, West of the Thirties is first of all about the Navajos and the Hopis as one receptive young white man perceived them. But it is also about the core of being human, which Hall, who understood this truth there for the first time, would later develop as a theory of implicit culture. In these pages, we see theory in the flesh, taking a hundred different human forms and engaging us in a rough-and-tumble bygone world, the West of the thirties.

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West of the thirties: discoveries among the Navajo and Hopi

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Hall spent four years living on the remote Navajo and Hopi reservations while working for the Indian equivalent of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Only 19 when he arrived in 1933, and not yet an ... Read full review


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About the author (1994)

Edward T. Hall is the author of The Silent Language and several other books in the field of cultural communication.

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