Herizon, by Diné author Daniel W. Vandever, and illustrator Corey Begay, Diné, is a story of female empowerment and intergenerational strength. A young Diné girl helps her grandmother retrieve a flock of sheep with a magical scarf that transforms the world she knows. Females are at the center of Diné (Navajo) worldview as identity is determined through one’s mother. As such, females are sacred beings that bear life, nurture growth, and provide safety and security within the home and community. The role of nurturer was taught by the diety Changing Woman, who over time, had her teachings systematically attacked through strategies like boarding school era education and legislation intended to dismantle the family unit.
But we are resilient, and our identity and values have persisted. As the Navajo Nation moves forward, it is our mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmas, wives, and daughters that will help us thrive in the modern world. As a son, brother, uncle, and grandson, Daniel Vandever lends encouragement in supporting efforts for equal opportunities and equitable rights. For the sake of my nieces and the future of the Navajo Nation, it is a responsibility to serve as an advocate with books like Herizon.