Renae Watchman
Associate Professor, Indigenous Studies

"Tódich’íi’nii éínishłị dóó Kinya’áanii báshíshchíín. Tsalagi éí da shichei dóó Táchii'nii éí da shinálí."

Dr. Watchman (Diné) is Bitter Water born for Towering House. She is Bird Clan (Cherokee) from her chei (maternal grandpa) and Red Running Through the Water from her nálí (paternal grandpa). She is a Diné (Navajo), whose family is originally from Shiprock, New Mexico.

Dr. Watchman teaches courses in Indigenous literary studies and Indigenous film (local and global).

Her 2024 book, Restoring Relations Through Stories: from Dinétah to Denendeh, published with the University of Arizona Press south of the Medicine Line and with the University of Regina Press north of the Medicine Line,, introduces, synthesizes, and analyzes traditional stories by Diné and Dene storytellers in orature and film. Restoring storied autonomy, identities, kinship, and languages is coming to a state of harmony, beauty, wellness, peace, and balance, or hózhǫ́ by recognizing hane’ (story/narrative) in oral, literary, and visual formats (spoken, published, directed, and beaded). The book conceptualizes narrative autonomy as hane’tonomy and visual storytelling from a Diné perspective and offers a map for restorying that resists inauthentic and misappropriated stories. Watchman’s argument privileges Indigenous narratives and how these narratives are tied to land and relations. In the book’s final movement, the author explores the power of story to forge ancestral and kinship ties between the Diné and Dene, across time and space through re-storying of relations.
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