Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Rug Show Is Coming Soon

by John Aldrich

In just three weeks our annual rug show and sale will begin. We're excited to be offering the 25th anniversary of this event and to use the occasion to honor those weavers who have made it all possible. Many of the Elders attending the show have a part of the event since its inception. At last year's show we took a photograph of all our weavers and have used this as the centerpiece for our poster this year.
The poster itself can be seen here.

For a special theme this year, weavers were given the opportunity to create a rug showing themselves at their loom weaving. Most found this to be quite a challenge. These special rugs will be offered for sale at the opening of the show on Friday evening November 7th.

During the live auction that evening two of these rugs will be offered. The first, woven by Rena Robertson, shows herself at her loom.

The second, also woven by Rena, honors her mother who was one of the original group of weavers who came to the show 25 years ago. It shows her standing by her loom on which is depicted her final rug which was uncompleted when she died. The rug was completed by another family member and will also be auctioned that night.

There will be many other enticing packages in the live auction as well. Richard O'Keefe will once more be our auctioneer, and he conducts a very entertaining and fast-paced event.

Many other special events will occur during the show which will include the annual Shi Yazhi Princess Pageant, weaving demonstrations, the popular Navajo Grandma Idol Contest, the moving Veterans Ceremony, and the closing Pow Wow featuring many Native dancers. A complete list of events and times can be found on the rug show page of our web site.

The Adopt-A-Native-Elder rug show is perhaps the largest event of its kind in the country. There will be hundreds of rugs available for purchase as well as a large selection of jewelry and other crafts. At the show you have the opportunity to meet with and purchase directly from the artists who create these beautiful objects. The Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley is transformed during the event into a dazzling display of Navajo culture.

 A special logo was designed for this 25th year celebration by Rodger Williams.

This is available  embroidered on special edition tee shirts and hats which can be purchased through our web site.

All are cordially invited to attend the show which will take place from Friday evening November 7th through Sunday afternoon November 9th.

We also encourage anyone interested to consider volunteering at the show. This can be a very rewarding experience offering the opportunity to help our Elders as well as learn about Navajo culture. The rug show page of our site provides more information as well as the link to our simple online application process for becoming a volunteer.

Whether you come as a volunteer or spectator, we look forward to seeing you at the show!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Walk In Beauty - Fall 2014

by Melyssa Holbrook

I don’t know who you are ….

I don’t know where you came from ….

But THANK YOU!!!!!

These were words spoken by a Navajo P.E. teacher as my mother and I were setting up in the gymnasium at Little Singer Elementary school. We had the sneakers displayed on a corner of the bleachers.  We had just fitted five 2nd graders with their new sneakers.  They were so excited, they had gone directly over to the P.E. teachers office to show him what they had gotten.  They were giggling and wiggling and could not stand still.  The teacher engaged them in their silliness and played along in their innocent and pure excitement.   After the children went back to class, the teacher walked towards the middle of the gym and announced loudly and sincerely “I don’t know who you are, I don’t know where you came from, but Thank You!”

At Rough Rock, a new school that was brought into the Walk In Beauty Program this season, another school employee watched us from a doorway.  After seeing the happy, smiling faces of her students, she slowly approached us to say “I am not a parent.  But thank you so much for doing what you do.  It is needed.”

Heartfelt and genuine words of thanks were spoken often by the adults at the schools we delivered to during this Fall delivery;  the custodian at Many Farms, as he helped us in bringing the many bags of sneakers into the building, and then again as we left, still needing help with 4 large totes of sneakers that we bring to each school as extras,  to ensure that we have plenty of options in case the sneakers we have brought specifically for each child do not fit once we arrive;  the bus driver/special education teacher at Cottonwood Day School had juice and donuts waiting for us when we arrived, as well as 2 student helpers to bring the children to us in groups by grade level;  and parents visiting at Dilkon School as they passed by children trying on new sneakers, stopped to ask who we were and how much we were selling our sneakers for …shocked that the sneakers were free and that we were giving them away, grateful for the quality sneakers.  “Do you have any in my size?” one father said with a huge grin.

As pleasing as it is to hear the adults express their appreciation for the sneakers, nothing compares to the excitement of the children as they walk into the room and see the sneakers we have laid out, each with an individual name tag, the smile and the anticipation in their faces and the look of joy on their face when we hand them the sneakers that have their name on the tag. 

The children are a bit embarrassed to take of their socks in front of us, but we have also brought them all new socks to go with their new sneakers.  As they take off their old socks, we can see that many have holes and are so bare thin that there is not much material between their skin and the shoe.  As one boy struggles to pull his new sock on over his hot and sweaty foot, he quietly tells me “These socks are cold”.  “Cold?” I say.  “Yes, my other ones were very hot” he says.  Two 3rd grade girls love the pink camouflage socks that we brought for them.

There are many heartfelt moments throughout the trip.  Two of the moments that stand out for both my mother and I are these:
·        After we had finished our delivery at Tsaile school (about 30 miles east of Canyon de Chelly), we were done at the schools for the day.  We decided to do a little sightseeing.  We drove Navajo Rt 13 past Lukachukai, over the pass towards New Mexico.  It is a gorgeous road!!!  There are miles of red rock, lots of cliffs and mesas, and then into the forest with tall trees, pines, cones and moss.  After this scenic side trip, we were driving back through Tsaile as buses were dropping off kids at their long dirt driveways.  We saw two sisters that we had given sneakers to hours earlier.  They were half running, half skipping down their driveway towards their mother, swinging from their hands were their old sneakers.  It is a very sweet snapshot in my mind.
·        At Dilkon, a 1st grade girl whispered to my mother, “Thanks for the sneakers.  My dad was waiting to get me a new pair when he sells our cow.

It is a very uplifting and yet humbling experience to help others.  On this trip we delivered 275 sneakers (and socks) to 10 schools.  We drove over 1700 miles.  Traveling on the Navajo Reservation is not always simple.  Roads are not always marked.  Roads are not always paved.  Maps do not always accurately depict reservation roads.  And the roads often times are scattered with hazards; sheep, cows, horses, even areas where the road has been washed away!  It is an adventure.  And it is gorgeous!

I am already thinking about the Spring delivery …….

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Packing Rainbow Food Boxes 8/9/14

by John Aldrich

Yesterday was the second of two Saturdays devoted to packing all of the Rainbow Food Boxes for the fall food runs. This is a big job so we were pleased to have a good turnout of volunteers to help. There were no large groups today but many regular volunteers, a number of new volunteers, and several family groups made up just the right number to get the job done.

Each food packing event starts with a Circle in which we dedicate ourselves to the service of the Elders who will receive the fruits of our efforts.

A basket of corn meal was passed around allowing every person an opportunity to make a small offering and prayer. We then got our marching orders from C.J. and got to work.

A bit more than half of the food boxes were packed last week, but there were still large supplies of the various food items stacked around the perimeter of the warehouse awaiting the "shoppers" to come by with their carts to fill the boxes.

New volunteers teamed up with experienced volunteers to learn the secrets of packing the boxes so that the tops could be folded down flat for taping.

Here, Jessica who is an expert now after having attended her first day of packing last week, showed Hennie how to fit everything into the boxes.

Other volunteers with prior experience at food box packing were able to start right out without help.

At the end of each cycle around the warehouse the labels for specific Elders are handed out to be taped to the boxes. Pat Eichinger was in charge of this job.

Then the boxes, each weighing around 35 pounds, were transferred to the taping table. Lamar Clark had a good workout by the end of the morning.

And the tapers, Fred and Tom here, went to work to complete each set of boxes.

Then the boxes were stacked by food run location, ready for loading when the time comes.

One of the perhaps less glamorous jobs is breaking down the boxes in which the food was delivered so that the cardboard will all fit into the dumpster for recycling. Ericka Norton seems to be enjoying this task.

'Round and 'round everyone went repeating this cycle until all of the boxes were packed:

Each food packing day has its unique aspects and special participants. Yesterday, new volunteer Margot Wholey was accompanied by a very special visitor. Luz Alicia Torres belongs to an indigenous tribe in Mexico that live in the Sonora region. There are only 800 members of this tribe and Margot is collaborating with Luz to produce a book about these unique people who still cling to their hunter-gatherer roots.

Margot herself is equally special, and we thank her for coming and bringing Luz. Margot caught on quickly to the box packing routine and rapidly advanced to solo cart operator status.

One of the family groups included our own C.J. Robb who is assistant director of ANE and warehouse manager. He is pictured here with his mother Paula, cousin Luke, and brother Jason who often helps out at the warehouse at critical times (how does he know?).

With the box packing completed, we're ready for the food runs to begin. The food run to Oljato and Navajo Mountain will take place in just over a week, with the remaining runs to follow a bit later. Volunteers who can join us and help transport everything to the reservation are still needed. Information and a driver's application are available at the Volunteer Activities Page of our web site.

Many thanks to everyone who helped us yesterday.

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Plea For Assistance

by John Aldrich

Many within our ANE family know, or will remember, Calvert Norton. Calvert and his wife Ericka, along with their three children, have been volunteers and supporters of our Program for many years. Daughter Calora was the second princess in the Shi Yazhi pageant program and was crowned at the rug show in 2006. This photo shows Calvert along with other members of his family when Calora was crowned. He is standing behind the princess.

More recently Calvert has been suffering with a significant health problem, ankylosing spondylitis. This is a chronic debilitating disease without effective cure by modern medicine. Calvert is turning to his cultural roots for help in dealing with his illness.

Here is his plea:

My name is Calvert Norton, My clan is the Redhouse people, born for the Red Bottom people, my paternal clan is the Edge of the Water people, and my maternal clan is the Tangle  people. I'm from Montezuma Creek, Utah. I currently reside in Lehi, Utah with my immediate family, my wife Ericka, our three children, Kirk, Calora, and Angelica.

I have a form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis, that I was diagnosed with a few years ago. It has affected my ankles, knees, hips, back, and elbow. This arthritis has limited my ability to run, fold my legs to sit or cross, stand a long period of time, and has slowed me down considerably. I manage my condition with modern medicine prescribe by my rheumatologist.

My belief is within my Navajo tradition, therefore I am seeking a healing ceremony to help heal my condition. A Navajo healing ceremony known as the Enemy Way (Nidaa). This ceremony will take place the week of the 11th of August. The week long ceremony is a huge task and financial expense which involves a Medicine man fee, ceremony materials, food,  sheep, and wood gathering to name few.

I ask for financial assistance to cover the expenses for this ceremony.

Thank you,

Calvert Norton

Although he alludes to the challenges and cost of staging an Enemy Way ceremony, the reality is that it can cost up to $6000 to put on an event of this complexity and scale.

Readers of this blog might be interested, as I was, in knowing more about this particular ceremony. Here is a link to a detailed description of the Enemy Way ceremony. Interestingly, it is written by a medicine man named Johnson Dennison. Johnson has worked with the Indian Health Service Hospital in Chinle to help provide traditional Navajo healing services to compliment the modern health care provided there. Johnson has spoken to our food run groups on a number of occasions in Chinle and will be remembered by those who heard him as a fascinating source of information about Navajo culture.

We extend our sympathies to Calvert and hope that his ceremony will be a comfort and blessing to both he and his family.

Those who wish to make a donation in support of Calvert's ceremony can do so via the Ceremony Fund of our web site. All proceeds of this fund over the next three weeks will be used on Calvert's behalf.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Announcing New Rug Show T-Shirts and Hats

by John Aldrich

The 25th anniversary of our annual rug show in Park City will be a very special event, and we are doing everything possible to honor our weavers. As part of this celebration we are offering specially designed T-shirts and hats. Rodger Williams designed a beautiful logo which has been embroidered onto each of the shirts and hats.

The T-shirts come in two styles with two colors, red and black. The women's shirt has a vee-cut neckline and the men's a round neck. The hats come in black and are a one-size-fits-all design.

Pricing of the shirts and hats also fits with our 25th anniversary theme - $25 for each. The small profit we will make on each sale will help defray the cost of staging the show. So help to support the show and at the same time acquire a unique shirt and/or hat. You may purchase these items through the Trading Post section of our web site or in person at the warehouse.

The sizing of the shirts is a little small, so we recommend that you order the next larger size than you ordinarily would buy.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Food Delivery

by John Aldrich

In pursuit of the goal to assist our Elders, the delivery of food, both in the form of food boxes as well as food certificates is central to our mission. As we get ready for the fall food runs, the first step in preparing to pack the Rainbow Food Boxes is to get the food to the warehouse. C.J. had worked out the order with a Walmart several miles away, and yesterday it was time to move it. Boyd Mitchell, who is practiced at this activity, rented a large Penske truck, and in the course of two round trips the food arrived at the warehouse and then had to be moved to designated spots around the periphery of the warehouse and unloaded from the pallets.

Waiting for the first truckload, some of us quickly realized that we had missed the memo about the proper attire for the day.

When the truck arrived, however, everyone forgot they thought they had signed up for a vacation to Hawaii and got to work.

Maneuvering the pallets off the truck is tricky, but Boyd is highly skilled at this and had no trouble .

Sam was our pallet jockey and is helped here by Lamar as they move canned food to its designated location at the perimeter of the warehouse.

Not to be outdone by the guys, Gene Berry rolled up her sleeves, donned her gloves, and worked just as hard as any of the rest of us.

Then it was on to peanut butter as Gene, Tony, John, and Jason formed a line to move the heavy packages off the pallet.

While C.J. and Lamar did the same with cans of corn.

Tony is working here on an inventory of the delivered food,

while C.J. checked his master list.

The second truckload was somewhat delayed by circumstances at Walmart, and some of the volunteers had to leave. Those that remained to the end paused for this final photo.

Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who came out to help with this big job. We're well on our way now with preparations for the upcoming food runs. The next major volunteer-intensive task will be packing the Rainbow Boxes. This will happen on two successive Saturdays, August 2nd and 9th. Details and time can be found on the Volunteer Activities page of our web site. We hope to see you then.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

New Rugs In Our Catalog

by John Aldrich

The month of June typically sees a large influx of new rugs into our catalog. During the spring food runs Linda acquires a number at each of the food run sites. This year the total comes to over a hundred rugs that have been added to the catalog. A small sample is featured here, but you are invited to peruse the online listings and see them all.

This beautiful rug by Marisa Begay is the largest (and most expensive) of our new rugs. Woven into a classic storm pattern design are a variety of objects of ceremonial significance to the Navajo People.

Rug #9149, Ceremonial Rug, by Marisa Begay.

Elizabeth Clah of Many Farms hosts our food run at that location and also weaves beautiful rugs. Her Women Of The Mountain pattern is her own unique creation and this version is woven in the distinctive colors for which Elizabeth in known.

Rug #9048, Women Of The Mountain, by Elizabeth Clah.

The Blue Canyon design is modern but not seen too often. Rena Robertson of Hardrock does a beautiful job with this style and often weaves special figures into the design such as the Yei head in this rug.

Rug #9147, Blue Canyon Yei, by Rena Robertson.

Mary Secody from the Many Farms area is a master weaver who provided us with this beautiful Chief pattern rug.

Rug #9049, Chiefs Rug, by Mary Secody.

Here is another Chiefs rug, this time by a male weaver, Alec Runninghawk of Dilkon. Although of Sioux heritage, Alec is married to a Navajo weaver and has mastered the technique and styles of Navajo weaving with great skill.

Rug #9125, Chiefs Rug, by Alec Runninghawk.

Hogans are frequently seen in pictorial rugs. In this unique rug by Eunice Manson, however, the hogans take on a somewhat more abstract quality when combined with an eye dazzler background.

Rug #9175, Hogans On The Mesa, by Eunice Manson.

Lest you get the impression that our catalog is filled with large and expensive rugs, we actually have many smaller rugs at excellent prices by a variety of weavers. Mary Lee of Many Farms usually provides Linda with a small assortment of beautiful little rugs,with prices as low as $65.

Rug #9138, Diamond Stars, by Mary Lee.

This is just a small sample of our new rugs. You are invited to enjoy our entire online catalog of over 240 rugs.

See this 2010 post for more information about the rug catalog.

Notes: Every effort has been made to photograph and present the rugs with as accurate rendition of color as possible. It's not possible, however, to be certain that your computer won't show some variance. Where two prices are listed in the catalog, the higher represents what the weaver hopes to receive and the lower, the minimum she will accept. As has always been the case at ANE all the proceeds of every rug sale go entirely to the weaver. Prices are set by the weaver, and since there is no "middleman" they are typically very reasonable.

And to see more of what's happening at ANE visit us on Facebook.