Hózhó (Navajo Strong)

Jerod Tate


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Performance forces:
soprano — vc, pno



Hózhó (Navajo Strong) is composed for Sophina Calderon and is a musical reflection of her account of being a family doctor during the Covid-19 pandemic, on the Navajo reservation. It is based upon key words from her poem, Navajo Nation Strong and contains reflections of traditional Navajo songs. This work is dedicated to Sophina and her Navajo community. This work is to be performed with Navajo Nation Strong read aloud, followed by the composition, Hózhó. Navajo Nation Strong Text by Sophina Calderon, Family Physician, Tuba City, Arizona Covid-19 exploded across our community in the Navajo Nation Our families live in multigenerational households Some without electricity or running water Many with limited access to healthcare and transportation We suspect our poverty has much to do With our high rates of infection and death I’m a family doctor working at the hospital I was born in I now work in triage and the emergency room I saw family and friends’ names among the list of positives I saw familiar faces in the hallways and E.R. I heard devastating stories about families losing many relatives I am saddened to see patients fall prisoner to their anxiety and depression To see them lose what little income they had To feed their grandchildren and pay their bills There’s an urgent call to reach back To traditional teachings of balance and harmony A concept known as “hozhó” We believe in our resilience The history of our survival is proof That our people will come out strong Hózhó There’s an urgent call to reach back! We believe in hózhó! Ung-ah eh ha eh. Ung-ah eh ha eh. I saw families and friends. So many faces I knew. I heard their stories of families losing. Saddened for their grandchildren. There’s an urgent call to reach back. Hózhó! Our people will come out strong! Sickness came across our community. Houses without running water. Poverty amid the shattered souls! Depression, anxiety. Desolated people who are fighting. I’m a doctor working in the place that I was born. Devastation: prisoners of this illness. Ung-ah eh ha eh eh ah. Ung-ah eh ha eh eh ah. Ung-ah eh ha eh hózhó. Ung-ah eh ha eh hózhó. We believe. History. Survival. Resilience. We are proof. Our people will come out strong. Hózhó! Hózhó!