While studying at the University of Arizona, I pursued my interests in language, gender, and culture. Important works in my study include Kenneth Burke's Rhetoric of Motives, Edward Said, Gloria Anzaldua, James Berlin, Patricia Bizzell, and Victor Villanueva and his use of Antonio Gramsci. I studied far afield of the topic I eventually wrote on and the learning that took place from studying other cultures helped me to understand how language forms me and the Latinas whom I currently read and study. Important works for me from Native American cultures include Black Elk Speaks and the Sixth Grandfather for it led to my primary studies of transcultural rhetorics. Those texts along with N. Scott Momaday's wonderful essay, "Man Made of Words" contributed alternative ways to engage look at differences among cultural worldviews.
The beauty and truth as I see it in Momaday's work lies in the reverence for the creative powers of language. For me this points to both the ability to construct essays, poems, books etc and the realities we carry in our minds. Taking Momaday's work another step further, language truly connects us to the divine, to a spiritual place that helps us grow. In the end, I wonder if we are not all made of words. It is this idea and others from Native American Studies that engages my intellect and spirit.
From "Man Made of Words" Momaday tells us:
"I want to try to put several different ideas together this morning. And in the process, I hope to indicate something about the nature of the relationship between language and experience. It seems to me that in a certain sense we are all made of words; that our most essential being consists in language. It is the element in which we think and dream and act, in which we live our daily lives. There is no way in which we can exist apart from the morality of a verbal dimension. . . . "