(My brother & his family on the back porch in Idaho)
I teach in a school district that touts to be sensitive to other cultures and especially the Navajo Native American culture since we serve somewhere between 80-90% Navajo students off the reservation.
So this once in a life time experience certainly turned out to be a once in a life time experience!
I’m originally from Idaho and still have a place there where I could have observed this phenomenal event from my front porch but instead I stayed in school and decided that it would be okay to miss it in my home town because I could either see the partial event from Lake Powell or watch it on the NASA website and still get to have an experience.
I was wrong. According to the Navajo Culture, it’s Taboo to look at the Solar Eclipse.
We were advised that we could not expose our students to the Eclipse and that those students who wanted to view the Eclipse had to have a note from their parents. That meant most of the teachers had to stay inside as well. So, yes, you guessed it. I had to stay inside. … But that’s okay, I thought, I’ll watch it on the NASA website. Then the students told me that they couldn’t even have the videos played because that was Taboo also. No pictures, No videos. They couldn’t be exposed to the sun light at all, no eating, no drinking, no doing any activities, no sleeping, no going to the bathroom. Yes, you heard it right!
I appreciate other cultures but this one was very interesting. I didn’t even get to see it on the internet. Some students even did their prayers and chants as they sat in my class.
So, how do I conduct class? Many students stayed home that day and less than ¼ of my students were even there at school. Many of the school districts in Arizona closed for the day but not ours. So, what do you do??
Here is an interesting interview by one of our teachers in the school district explaining all the hub-a-baloo: http://www.12news.com/news/local/arizona/why-its-taboo-in-navajo-culture-to-view-the-solar-eclipse/465194908
So, it was very interesting to learn about their cultural beliefs, but it was also a day of sadness because I missed the Total Solar Eclipse!! But that’s okay, I will probably get to see it when I am 80 or so, if I’m still around! : )