American Indians and Literature

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Diné bahane': The Navajo Creation Story

Paul G. Zolbrod

This is the most complete version of the Navajo creation story to appear in English since Washington Matthews' Navajo Legends of 1847. Zolbrod's new translation renders the power and delicacy of the oral storytelling performance on the page through a poetic idiom appropriate to the Navajo oral tradition.

Zolbrod's book offers the general reader a vivid introduction to Navajo culture. For students of literature this book proposes a new way of looking at our literary heritage.


Paul G. Zolbrod is adjunct professor of humanities at the Crownpoint, New Mexico Campus of Diné College, the Navajo Nation Tribal College. He also served as senior curator at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Museum of New Mexico, 1994-1997.


“A brilliant rendering of a folk epic into a fascinating and highly literate work of art—a tapestry of exceptional events recounted in vivid, strong, and highly atmospheric language, a language, to use a phrase of the late John Gardner, that is ‘at once ancient and ultramodern.’”


New York Times

"A fine literary rendition that appears to approximate the traditional Navajo storytelling style better than any other English version."



6 x 9.25 in. 448 pages