Stories of Navajo Crafts and Tradition
As told by Ndahoo'ah staff elders
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
- 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
- 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.
ask that all interested parties respect Navajo tradition and culture by
obeying the law and refraining from unauthorized reproduction or adaptation
of the material herein.