“South”: A Poem by Jaden Redhair

Jan 19th, 2018 | By | Category: BLTN NextGen, Winter 2018

Jaden Redhair speaks at “Navajo Voices in Action: Teaching and Learning with Indigenous Youth Leaders,” a panel at the 2017 NCTE Annual Meeting.

Since 2014, the Bread Loaf Teacher Network (BLTN) has partnered with the Navajo Nation and Partners in Health to provide writing and mentorship opportunities for the Navajo Community Health Outreach Program. As writing mentors, BLTN members have provided writing workshops for the NCHO Youth Leadership Program where we combine, creative, analytical, and reflective writing to promote critical thinking and action. The following poem by Jaden Redhair was composed during one of these writing retreats.

This writing retreat took place in the McGaffey Forest outside of Ft. Wingate, NM. The participants hiked through the forest, taking periodic stops to write. When we stopped, we would face a different cardinal direction, sit down, close our eyes, acclimate ourselves to our surroundings, and after seven minutes, we would open our eyes and begin writing. Jaden’s poem was composed during the second stop, when we were facing south, hence the title.

Jaden is in his third year with NCHO. Currently, he is a senior at Window Rock High School and the president of the Graphics Art Club. One of the many goals that Jaden has in his future includes earning a degree in computer graphics so that he can return to the Navajo Nation and assist his people by providing graphic art that is both traditional and authentic.

Ceci Lewis
Associate Director, BLTN
BLSE 1996


I am in my home.

In the south I feel alone, but not lonely – the type of feeling that every person needs once in a while.

The wind pushes against my back making me want to move forward – the past pushing me towards the future.

The distant sounds of planes give me a sense of adventure – the adventure to keep pushing towards my goals.

The gentle sway of trees connects the earth to the sky – making me feel whole and pure to continue my life’s journey.

The buzzing of flies in search of food reminds me of the harsh times I have gone through as a young child.

The weariness has passed, energy prevails – alone, windy, noisy, elegant, and unsettled.

My home is in me.

-Jaden Redhair

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