By Jay Youngdahl
For over 100 years, Navajos have long past to paintings in major numbers on Southwestern railroads. As they took at the laborious paintings of laying and anchoring tracks, they became to standard faith to anchor their lives.
Jay Youngdahl, an lawyer who has represented Navajo employees in claims with their railroad employers considering 1992 and who extra lately earned a master's in divinity from Harvard, has used oral background and archival study to jot down a cultural heritage of Navajos' paintings at the railroad and the jobs their spiritual traditions play of their lives of not easy exertions clear of home.
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Extra resources for Working on the Railroad, Walking in Beauty: Navajos, Hozho, and Track Work
34 Most of my interviews were in Navajo, with some English also used. On some of my interviews on the western side of the nation, Ann Spencer helped with translation. I believe Julie, Zina, and Ann did a superb job, but they are not professional translators or linguists. 35 It is worth noting that the issue of language was especially difficult in my legal work for Navajo railroad workers. Railroads fiercely contest injury compensation claims filed by all their employees, and to be successful, the claimant must be able to articulate his or her claim in ways that fit into the predetermined conceptual and factual boxes of the American civil law system.
Introduction in “modernity,” especially when their work took them off their land. The meaning of this Navajo difference from surrounding Anglo society and the Navajos’ strategies for life success have been a source of disputation for many years. This issue has reverberated, among other areas, in American social policy, missionary efforts by religious institutions, and anthropological theory. A poignant example of this conflict occurred around the time of a US government-mandated sheep reduction program in the 1930s.
Unfortunately, these efforts have been painfully successful. The importance of this legal distinction between a court-based system and a regulatory system is that injuries to railroad workers must usually be proven before a jury. This is the best system for those litigants who articulate the local vernacular, are liked by prospective jurors, and have competent and well-funded legal counsel. 30 29 Thus, as an example, if after a trial a jury finds that a worker has suffered lost wages and other damages of $100,000 arising from an injury on the railroad, the jury will be required to apportion fault.