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May Term: Borderlands

MTerm Global Travel | Readings & Resources

Recommended readings



Wolfkiller: Wisdom from a Nineteenth-Century Navajo Shepherd recorded and compiled by Louisa Wade Wetherill and Harvey Leake

A memoir of a Navajo shepherd man who lived in the Monument Valley region of the Southwest. In these stories compiled by Harvey Leake, Wolfkiller shares the ancient wisdom of the Navajo elders that was passed to him while a boy growing up near the Utah/Arizona border.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

Focuses on the role of plants and botany in both Native American and Western European traditions.

Diné: A History of the Navajos by Peter Iverson

Traces the history of the Navajos from their origins to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Based on extensive archival research, traditional accounts, interviews, historic and contemporary photographs, and firsthand observation, it provides a detailed portrait of the Diné past and present.

Recommended readings



Cross Over Water by Richard Yañez.
Raul Luis "Ruly" Cruz is a young Mexican American who lives in El Paso, just across the Rio Grande from Mexico, home of his ancestors and some of his current relatives. As he grows from adolescence to manhood, he negotiates the precarious borders of family, tradition, and identity trying to find his own place in the Chicano community and in the larger world.

A Place in El Paso: A Mexican-American Childhood by Gloria López-Stafford.
This memoir of growing up in El Paso in the 1940s and 1950s creates an entire city: the way a barrio awakens in the early morning sun, the thrill of a rare desert snow, the taste of fruit-flavored raspadas on summer afternoons, the "money boys" who beg from commuters passing back and forth to Juárez, and the mischief of children entertaining themselves in the streets

Crossing Borders: Personal Essays by Sergio Troncoso.
Sergio Troncoso writes a riveting collection of sixteen personal essays in which he seeks to connect the humanity of his Mexican family to people he meets on the East Coast, including his wife's Jewish kin. Raised in El Paso near the Texas-Mexico border, Troncoso crossed what seemed an even more imposing border when he left home to attend Harvard College.

Enrique's Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother by Sonia Nazario.
Enrique’s Journey recounts the unforgettable quest of a Honduran boy looking for his mother, eleven years after she is forced to leave her starving family to find work in the United States. Braving unimaginable peril, often clinging to the sides and tops of freight trains, Enrique travels through hostile worlds.

El Paso Del Norte: Stories On The Border by Richard Yañez.
The Chicano characters in Richard Yanez's debut story collection live in El Paso's Lower Valley but inhabit a number of borders-between two countries, two languages, and two cultures, between childhood and manhood, life and death.

The Heart Is Not a Size by Beth Kephart
A story about two friends who embark on a school trip to a Mexican town near the border of the United States. The main character, Georgia, is hoping that the newness of the experience will help her shed both the secret panic attacks she has been experiencing as well as her sense of herself as a “freakishly well-behaved” and predictable decision-maker.