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64 c h a p t e r 5 Story Rug weaving stories into research Amanda R. Tachine (Navajo) During my dissertation journey,I began to see research as a weaving process.I am neither an expert nor an avid rug weaver; only at this point in time an interested, curious learner. Growing up on the Navajo reservation, much of my knowledge of rug weaving has been from formal schooling, observing Navajo weavers, listening to stories from family, and from embarking on my own novice attempts at weaving. In this chapter, I explain how the formation of what I term story rug evolved. I begin with sharing the powerful effect Indigenous methodology and stories had on me as a Navajo woman, which ultimately helped me to find the courage to begin weaving my story rug. I then briefly explain my research with Navajo first-­ year college students’ stories as they journeyed into college. I provide a condensed overview of the research to help contextualize the story rug development. Using story rug as an Indigenous methodological structure, I next describe and elaborate on my progression in weaving the story rug throughout the dissertation. I conclude with final thoughts on how story rug and Indigenous metaphorical frameworks can deepen methodological approaches in research. Indigenous Methodology, Stories, and My Awakening As Manulani Aluli Meyer asserts, “We must develop new theories from ancient agency so we can accurately respond to what is right before our very eyes” (2008, p. 217), meaning that Indigenous methodology has been a part of our life since time immemorial to help us answer many of the questions of today. Indigenous peoples have skillfully passed on methodology through storytelling. Story­ telling and stories within Native societies encompass symbolism and philosophical formations (Cook-­Lynn, 2008) that remain profoundly critical to understanding weaving stories into research 65 and navigating through the multifaceted dimensions of life (Archibald, 2008; Denetdale, 2014; Kovach, 2009; Smith, 1999; Wilson, 2008). Cajete (1994) asserts that experiential stories are essential for learning and in forming positive transformation for Indigenous communities. Stories provide a space to learn from and unite with others, as listening to or reading a story privileges us to be connected to or belong to that story world. Story and knowing , or method and meaning, is an inseparable relationship such that “stories are vessels for passing along teachings, medicines, and practices that can assist members of the collective”(Kovach, 2009, p. 95).And a collective,“we”concept is what centers Indigenous methodology as stories are often conveyed with someone or with others for the betterment of those listening (Meyer, 2001; Archibald, 2008). For Native peoples, stories are a legitimate tool for relating with others, sharing knowledge across generations, analyzing life circumstances, and seeking solutions for the future. During the dissertation journey, I immersed myself in Indigenous methodological scholarship as a way to grasp what it means to utilize Indigenous methods in research. But as I read, I struggled with how to make the connection between Navajo teachings and research. Allow me to explain what awakened within me to understand that intricate relationship. I recall feeling a sense of relief and excitement when I submitted a draft of my findings chapter to my dissertation advisor . I felt confident that the chapter was well written, and I naively believed that I would only need to make a few edits. Days later, I received a thoughtful and critical email from my advisor in which she encouraged me that I could do a better job and suggested that I dig deeper in my analysis. I was crushed. My confidence plummeted. In my mind I was thinking,“I can’t do better. This is the best I could do. Maybe the doctoral degree is not for me? Maybe writing is indeed my weakness?” Insecurities resurfaced as I questioned my ability to dig deeper and complete the dissertation. I took a few days to gather myself. Then, early one morning, I prayed and sought guidance from the Creator about how to dig deeper in research. While praying, I heard a quiet voice that delicately told me,“Write like you are weaving a rug.”At that moment, I recognized that weaving a rug was like weaving stories. Meyer eloquently states, “The spirituality of knowledge . . . [is] the light of fundamental empirical knowing” (2008, p. 218). I understood what Meyer meant in acknowledging that spirit and knowing are intricately connected just as story and knowing are linked together. Immediately, I started writing. I surrendered my ego...


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