Buffalo Medicine Books
Ernie Bulow has lived in Gallup, NM, for most of the last forty years working as a teacher, journalist, Indian trader, rare book dealer, and writer. In the Sixties, teaching at the all Navajo high school at Fort Wingate, he studied the Navajo language and was deeply immersed in the culture. He attended ceremonies at every Pueblo village except Laguna and Picuris, especially the Katsina dances at Zuni and Hopi. In the summer of 1970 he traveled around with a medicine man from the Klagetoh area.
At the University of Utah in the early Seventies, Ernie taught the first regularly accredited college course in Native American Literature in the country. In 1972 the Navajo Tribe printed a pamphlet version of Navajo Taboos as the first publication in their cultural series. When he decided to return to the Southwest he taught part-time for many years at the Gallup Branch of the University of New Mexico.
Bulow has published hundreds of articles in magazines and newspapers around the Southwest, mostly dealing with books, cowboy art and Native Americans. He has published three books about mystery writers with the University of New Mexico press including the prize-winning collaboration with Tony Hillerman, Talking Mysteries.
In the forty years since these taboos were first collected, various individuals have questioned whether or not they were still a viable part of Navajo culture. They are. And when Ernie’s son Erin, half Zuni, was born in 1995 Bulow was exposed to the Zuni version of many of them, prompting him to start a whole new collection.
A few years ago Navajo Taboos was published in a Japanese translation.
“Required reading for everyone in the health field—and anyone else who wants to understand the Navajo way. Besides, it’s a fun read.” Dr. Charles Kenny, MD
“An interesting glimpse into Navajo beliefs. I had all my grandkids read it.” Hoskie Curley, Medicine Man (Male Shooting Way Ch
Ernest Franklin, a full-blooded Navajo from Twin Lakes, New Mexico, has been drawing since early childhood. In the mid-Sixties, fresh from Vietnam, Franklin started teaching art at Wingate High School, where he met Ernie Bulow. They have had a collaboration ever since. In recent years Franklin, who has won innumerable awards for his painting at the annual Gallup Inter-Tribal Ceremonial, Navajo Tribal Fair and New Mexico State Fair, has become the official illustrator for mystery writer Tony Hillerman.
In 2001 Franklin illustrated the Hillerman children’s book, Buster Mesquite’s Cowboy Band. He is currently working on illustrated editions of Tony’s first seven mysteries in matching volumes, So far The Blessing Way, Dance Hall of the Dead, and Listening Woman have been published. He and Bulow are also working on a western history volume titled Uncle Ernie’s Guide to Old Time Rodeo.
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