Theatre & Dance ETDs



Publication Date



This essay will explore questions related to the role of the supernatural in relation to Navajo identity, the role of magic realism within Navajo storytelling and discuss my approach to Dramatic Writing. I will analyze my play Fadeaway, a Navajo love tragedy that focuses on domestic violence, taboos and witchcraft within the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation is located in the Northwest corner of New Mexico spilling across the state lines of Colorado, Utah and taking up one-fourth of Arizona. The outskirts of the Navajo Nation are known as the "checkerboard area", patches of land are owned by State Government and the Navajo Nation. Gallup, commonly referred to as "The Heart of Indian Country", is a town where domestic violence and alcoholism are prevalent. According to the Navajo Times, tribal police responded to 4,851 domestic violence calls in 2010, and these are only the cases reported. The Navajo Nation does not consider domestic violence to be a crime. This is a result of the way that privacy, violence, and authority are conceived of within Navajo culture. The historical implications are significant, including the history of displacement and exploitation of Navajo people. The impact of these factors has a profound effect on the way people report violence, and how stories are told to account for the full breadth of these tragedies. How does one tell stories about traumatic events in the Navajo tradition? What is the role of the supernatural in these events? The first part of this essay will investigate the influences of Navajo storytelling and magic realism that are rooted in Navajo folklore and myths. The second part will place this storytelling in the context of trauma enacted in history, exploring how systemic poverty plays a role in domestic violence. Finally, this essay explores how these investigations impact the understanding of myself as a Navajo Writer and my developing approach to dramatic structure.

Degree Name

Dramatic Writing

Level of Degree


Department Name

Theatre & Dance

First Advisor

Linnell, James

First Committee Member (Chair)

McDuffie, Matthew

Second Committee Member

Moss, Greg

Third Committee Member

Montoya, Manuel




Navajo Storytelling, Navajo Identity, Supernatural & Myths

Document Type