Stories of a Healing Way: A Navajo Woman’s Media Production for Cultural Representation and Identification

Barbara J. Guzzetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Little research has been conducted on the multimodal writing of contemporary Native American women that would refute stereotypical and outdated notions of Indigenous peoples as a dying population. This case study was undertaken to address that gap in the extant research by examining the writing practices of a young Native American woman to determine why and how she composed and participated in participatory media of personal zines and social media to represent her gender and cultural identities. The inquiry was conducted from multiple perspectives of literacy as a social and semiotic practice, the new literacies, tribal critical race theory, and Indigenous feminist theory. Data were triangulated by observations, formal and informal interviews, questionnaires, screenshots, and the participant’s video recordings of her storytelling. I analyzed these data by thematic and semiotic analyses. Findings demonstrated how she crafted comic strip stories and do-it-yourself media to create, teach, and preserve Navajo customs and language as a living culture through story lines, settings, illustrations, genre, and teaching devices in her zines. Descriptions are provided of how Navajo women were positioned as strong and independent participants in traditional and contemporary life. Results revealed the ways in which a Navajo woman engaged in practices of the new literacies for resistance against gender and cultural oppression and colonization. Implications are drawn for positioning Native American women within contemporary culture and for culturally responsive literacy education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-148
Number of pages18
JournalReading Research Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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