No Parole Today
Author: Laura Tohe
Publisher: West End Press (1999)
This first collection, in prose memoir and poetry, of the work of a Navajo poet and teacher describes attending a government school for Indian children and the challenge it presented to her socially, culturally, and expressively. Tohe says this of her experience:
"I was born in Fort Defiance, Arizona, and raised on the Diné (Navajo) Reservation in Arizona and New Mexico. I grew up speaking Diné as my primary language. For a while we lived near Coyote Canyon with my grandparents while my parents operated the Tohe Coal Mine, a family business. After the mine closed, my mother moved us to Crystal, New Mexico, where she worked at the boarding school. I grew up without television in the beautiful Chuska Mountains, where only a dirt road connected us to the rest of the world.
"While growing up I heard stories all around me. As we drove down the dusty reservation road, my mother told many Diné stories. I liked to listen to her and Grandma gossip. Sometimes she would catch me eavesdropping and make me leave. My first publication originates from a story given to my mother by her great-grandmother."