Stories of Navajo Crafts and Tradition

As told by Ndahoo'ah staff elders

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Below you will find a list of elders and other staff members for Ndahoo'ah. Each item will provide a short profile of the storyteller and a link to a corresponding story. Enjoy!
Lorita Adakai
Lorita Adakai is an extremely disciplined and patient weaver, teacher and story teller. Lorita sat behind the loom while each student took his/her turn in front. With her guidance, Lorita's students designed and completed a complex rug with five different colors. Lorita told us about her independence and desire to learn how to weave when she was a young girl.
Irene Atene
Irene was the only Navajo elder who taught students how to weave baskets in June, 1994. Irene took some students with her when she journeyed to the north to pick the willow for the baskets. Betty was able to introduce the students to every aspect of the weaving process. The students learned how to break, prepare, soften, dye and weave the willow plants into a basket. Additionally, Irene helped each student design his/her own original basket design.
Lena Atene
Lena Atene shared many important and sacred traditions with her students. She was very pleased to see the youngest generation of Navajo come to her to learn about the tradional arts and crafts. Lena talked much of the dye process and where the colors come from. It is imporatnt to her that the teachings of her parents and grandparents are not forgotten or lost.
Sandra Black
Sandra Black was the only elder who taught the art of beadwork in the first few years of Ndahoo'ah. All of her students designed and completed at least one beadwork pattern. Sandra knows about rug weaving and basket making as well as beadwork. She offered her advice and assistance during the planning stages and equipment purchasing weeks before the start of the summer program.
Stella Cly
Stella Cly is perhaps the most dynamic and energetic elder who participated in Ndahoo'ah. Stella started her class by talking about the sacredness and significance of setting up the loom in the right way. Her class began weaving a simple two color design before she moved on to a more complicated design. Additionally, Stella has accompanied the program administartors to presentations and shared her views about the summer program with interested individuals.
Betty Nelson
Betty Nelson was an invaluble contributor to Ndahoo'ah. As Betty wove and taught the students about the loom, she also shared stories of what life was like for her when she was a young girl. With Betty's guidance, her students came up with the rug designs that you see on these pages.
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Copyright 1995.