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Diné Philosophies: A Discussion with Richard M. Begay '87 and Vangee Nez, PhD

February 23, 2-5PM, Rockefeller 106 Class of 1930 Room

Professor Vangee Nez (Northern Arizona University) will present on the Diné epistemological system known as Sa’ah Naaghái Bik’eh Hózhóón (SNBH), and Richard Begay '87 (Navajo Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Office) will speak on Diné conceptions of place, temporality, and identity in relation to Bears Ears National Monument. A conversation and Q&A with the two speakers will follow their presentations.


The event is free and open to all. 

Sponsored by the Society of Fellows and the Department of Native American and Indigenous Studies. Co-organized with Robert Weiner (Religion / SoF).

A poster for "Diné Philosophies: A Discussion with Richard M. Begay '97 and Vangee Nez, PhD" festuring a picture of Bear's Ears National Monument.


Diné Epistemology: Sa’ah Naaghai Bik’eh Hozhoon Teachings as an Educational Tool


The research investigated the significance of Diné epistemology in the form of Sa'ah Naaghai Bik’eh Hozhoon (SNBH) as an educational tool for educators. SNBH is the people’s Beauty Way and Protection Way teachings; a dual belief system that postulates the male and female versions of cultural knowledge used in ceremonies, songs, and stories. SNBH is described as a life-long educational journey and process of understanding that is different for individuals in how they obtain the knowledge for the goal for personal transformation. The research used in-depth interviews and analyzed using a narrative inquiry approach. Diné youth want to speak their language and know about their culture, but sometimes it is hard for them because of the influence from the outside world and sometimes they do not know the significance of the traditions practiced and passed on. In the study, I learned that the participants in their early life learned about SNBH and how it helped them in their journey. It is not about pride but humility of shared stories that transforms a way of knowing and how SNBH brings moral teachings and sometime adventure.


We've Been There, We're Still Here, and We Will Always Be Here: Mashing Navajo Traditional Ecological Knowledge with Government Bureaucracy

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