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Lori Arviso Alvord's 'Walking The Path Between Worlds'

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Lori Arviso Alvord's 'Walking The Path Between Worlds'
A Navajo surgeon, Lori Arviso Alvord, recalls her experiences in Dartmouth and how it has influenced her life, as well as her career in her excerpt, “Walking the Path between Worlds.” She was accepted into Dartmouth, leaving behind her community and her family in Dinetah and the Navajo reservation, where she experienced a sense of alienation and loneliness in her life, as she was overwhelmed with how different the culture was compared to her own. Alvord struggled with whether to maintain her customs and culture or to adapt to the life at Dartmouth, risking losing her Navajo heritage as a result. Later on, she met many different Native Americans from other tribes, all coming together in Dartmouth, as they tried to form a community based on common …show more content…
She describes the time when she first visited Dartmouth, as she explains, “My memories of my arrival in Hanover, New Hampshire, are mostly of the color green.” (302). Much of her time spent in Dartmouth was of her seeing the green trees and bushes that constantly surrounded the campus, which became both a thrilling, but alien experience for her. Then, she compares this to her experiences in New Mexico, lamenting of the mesquite, the pinon pine, and the vast expanse of the landscape all the way up to the horizon. Coming from that experience, Alvord was utterly shocked by what was around her in Dartmouth, stating that, “No horizon was in sight in Hanover, only trees. I felt claustrophobic.” (302). She juxtaposes her experiences in New Mexico and the reservation to the scenery in Dartmouth, which explains why it was hard for her to adjust to her new lifestyle. This also adds an emotional effect to her audience, as she explained as to how she felt claustrophobic and uncomfortable in Dartmouth when she first arrived. The audience could relate to her on a personal level, which she continues to do as she later comments on her later experiences in …show more content…
This eventually led her to become friends with the other Native students, leading them to come together to create a new community. They did many activities together throughout her life there, as they would dress up and do pow-wows or concerts, blending Native culture with American influences (305). This helped them preserve their cultures, as well as to promote Native identity amongst the primarily white university. In addition, these activities served to coalesce these different individuals into one community and later on, one tribe. She finally comments about how Dartmouth affected her, by stating that, “Dartmouth was good for me. Singing with the other students melted some of my historical grief and anger into a larger powerful force, a force I would take with me into the world.” (306). By using a metaphor, she compares the experiences that she had with her community to a force that transformed her negativity and anger into a positive energy that she could use to contribute to the world. She continues to affect the audience emotionally, as she describes a good feeling as a result of her times with the other Native students, as well as her other peers in Dartmouth, which led to her path onto becoming a

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