The Sacred Spell of Words: Power is language.

The New York Times   May 15, 2019

by N. Scott Momaday

“In my tenure as a professor of English and American literature, it has been my good fortune to teach courses in Native American oral tradition. There is a formula in that tradition that goes: “In the beginning was the word, and it was spoken​. ​”

It may be that the essential power of language is realized by word-of-mouth expression. The oral tradition is inestimably older than writing, and it requires that we take words more seriously. One must not waste words. He must speak responsibly, he must listen carefully, and he must remember what is said.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning author N. Scott Momaday operates the Buffalo Trust, a nonprofit organization working to preserve Native cultures. (Christopher Felver / Corbis)
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