Towering House: Kinyaa’áanii
“Kinyaa’áanii" (Towering House)
"Kinyaa’áanii Bashishchiin" (I am born of the Towering House clan). It is the Diné (Navajo) clan name that identifies the significance of who I am and where I come from.
When a Diné child is born, the child belongs to the clan of the mother. "Kinyaa’áanii" (Towering House) is the Diné clan name that identifies my grandmother and her children and their children and so on.
My grandmother was born on June 14, 1910, and she was 103 years old when I first began photographing her traditional way of life on the Navajo reservation.
My most cherished memories are spending time with my grandmother and listening to the stories she told around the fire at night. As a rancher, rug weaver, jeweler and educator, my grandmother travelled across the Navajo Nation working well into her eighties.
Her life may appear simple to an outsider, but it is a hard and physically demanding one. She fought to maintain her independence and dignity while facing many everyday challenges.
My images reflect my journey in rediscovering family, culture and identity. Diné culture and tradition are intertwined as I examine the strength and beauty of a Diné woman whose legacy extended five generations.
Renée Dennison is an Master of Fine Arts candidate in photography.
Image credit: Renée Dennison