Twins’ Story in Samuel Holiday’s Under the Eagle
The Twins’ story illustrates the necessity and importance of symbolism and ritual in Navajo culture. However, the more important meaning of the story is the narrative that spirituality and reliance on traditional symbolic values help people find their way even in the most difficult life situations. Based on this, we can say that learning of the Twins’ story helps solve a great variety of future problems, especially at present, when the complex global crisis is engulfing not only the elite but also the everyday life of every person, affecting his physical and mental health, bringing much grief to many families.
Holiday is embedded in Navajo culture and stresses the centrality of symbols and rituals in all aspects of his life. His ethnos traditions help him overcome all the challenges posed by the War and bring his own, more profound meaning to what he does. The Navajo language was unusually difficult to learn and was also unwritten during the War. Nobody fixed not only the sets of grammatical rules but even the elementary alphabet was not compiled. It contains sounds that have no analog in European languages. Therefore, it was almost impossible for a person to learn the language if he did not belong to the Navajo tribe. In May 1942, the first Navajo group of 29 people was assembled, which arrived at the Pendleton Special Base (Oceanside, California) and developed the cipher. They called themselves “wind talkers.”
Many of the terms that radio operators had to work with had no Navajo equivalent. Therefore, during the cipher development, about 450 original designations were created that were absent in the Navajo language. After the code was developed, about 400 ransomware were used to transmit encrypted messages by telephone or radio throughout the Pacific theater of operations. It is believed that thanks to the skill, speed, and accuracy of the Navajo cryptographers, who worked in the fierce battles from the Marshall Islands to Iwo Jima, they managed to save the lives of thousands of American troops and bring victory in the War closer.
Interestingly, Holiday writes that to him, “the military was much easier than BIA school because I did not have to worry about getting along with others. […] As I went through this training and got ready to go to war, I was not frightened but ready to fight for my country.” He showed incredible patriotism towards his country. However, in all his actions, a deeper relationship between the world and the universe can be traced. In the course of his upbringing, he was already warned about the main vices of humanity, so it was easier for him to accept all the difficulties on the way. For example, he was warned about the monster “Naa ‘Yee’aghanii (Staring Eye Killer),” which represented “all the evil that can drag one into poverty, such as gambling, prostitution, and drugs.” Basically, in real life, this concept refers to sinful and evil persons. The deep-rooted traditions of Navajo ethnos taught Holiday to deal with them, and, thus, he was better able to negotiate.