Working on the railroad, walking in beauty: Navajos, Hózhq́, and track work
For over one hundred years, Navajos have gone to work in significant numbers on Southwestern railroads. As they took on the arduous work of laying and anchoring tracks, they turned to traditional religion to anchor their lives. Jay Youngdahl, an attorney who has represented Navajo workers in claims with their railroad employers since 1992 and who more recently earned a master's in divinity from Harvard, has used oral history and archival research to write a cultural history of Navajos' work on the railroad and the roles their religious traditions play in their lives of hard labor away from home.
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