On Tuesday, February 19th, a professor here at RMU, apologized to Navajo Rooney Scholar Sunny Dooley, because when she came to visit the school the weather was dismal. This fact, however, did not dampen her spirits. In fact, she preferred that the weather was dreary. This, coupled with the fact that the hummingbird had not been seen yet, allowed her to tell certain stories she would otherwise be unable to, due to tradition.
Dooley gave a presentation that day showing modern American culture from a different viewpoint. She focused on her experiences as a child, helping her family interact with an unfamiliar culture. After school, she would tell her grandmother and other family members what she had learned. The way that her family viewed stories such as Cinderella and Snow White were similar to the way Modern American’s view Navajo stories. They were foreign, exotic, and interesting to the Navajo. They were unable to understand the stories using their own culture.
There was more to learn from Dooley’s stories than just from the words she spoke. The informal, personal way she delivered the information revealed much about Navajo culture, as did the way she introduced herself in her own language. She did not say her name, instead telling listeners the names of her family. Those who say their own name too often are said to be poor listeners and their ears my dry up and fall off.