By DECLAN WALSH
A central dilemma for the government is how to reconcile the appetite for news of Nelson Mandela’s health with the deep sensitivities of South Africans.
“Before we started this program, the subject was generally avoided out of ‘cultural sensitivity,’ depriving patients and families of preparing for death spiritually, emotionally and practically.”
When someone dies in the family hogan, for example, a hole is made in the north wall to let the good spirit out, and then the hogan is abandoned.
Currently, there are about 200,000 Navajo Indians living in Navajo Valley. Approximately, 5% or 10,000 are true Navajo Indians. They still live in traditional domed, hexagon-shaped hogans. Hogans are built by hand with logs and mud, no nails. The Hogan entrance always faces east toward the rising sun. They live with no running water and electricity. They prepare and spin wool the old fashioned way, using dyes made from native plants. Navajo rugs are treasured by collectors the world over. They also make a lot of costume jewelry.