cover of book

We Will Secure Our Future: Empowering the Navajo Nation
by Peterson Zah and Peter Iverson
University of Arizona Press, 2012
Paper: 978-0-8165-0247-9 | Cloth: 978-0-8165-0246-2
Library of Congress Classification E99.N3Z34 2012
Dewey Decimal Classification 979.10049726

Nearing graduation from  Phoenix Indian School, Peterson Zah decided he wanted to attend college. He was refused the reference letters needed for college admission by teachers who told him he would fail and thus embarrass them. Several years later, these instructors would receive invitations from Zah to a party celebrating his graduation from Arizona State University.

And so began a career that took Zah to the presidency of the Navajo Nation. His life and accomplishments have exemplified the ongoing efforts by American Indian communities to gain greater control over their lives and lands. He has made important contributions in many areas, but education has always been one of his main priorities. Perhaps  no one in the Southwest has done more than Peterson Zah to increase the recruitment, retention, and graduation of American Indian students from colleges and universities.

Zah's presentations to Peter Iverson's classes at Arizona State University,  employed  examples drawn from his own experiences. Students praised his thoughtful, honest and direct observations.  He reinforced a central theme in Iverson's classesthat Indian history encompasses triumph as well as tragedy and victory as well as victimization.

This book grew out of  Iverson's determination to share Zah's insights  with a wider audience. The two met every few months to consider many subjects related to Zah's life.  These sessions formed the foundation for this volume.

Part autobiography, part interview, and part conversation, Zah and Iverson's account touches on a wide range of overlapping topics, but two central themes prevail: education and empowerment. We Will Secure Our Future is a fascinating look into the life of a man who  became a respected visionary and passionate advocate for his people. 
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