by John Aldrich
Special programs to educate school children about Navajo culture have been a part of the rug show since early in its history. Linda offered an explanation about how this tradition got started: "Several children once asked me, 'Aren't you afraid of them?', referring the Navajo people. This experience made me think that adding an opportunity for them to learn about Navajos would be a valuable experience."
Currently we have three sessions of programs, Thursday morning and afternoon, and Friday morning. Each session is divided into two parts occurring simultaneously in different parts of the Snow Park Lodge. At the midway point students switch to the other venue. Thus we can handle a larger number of students, and they can experience a greater range of topics. As many as 110 students were present at a time.
During the course of the three sessions, we have over 600 students from 15 schools come to the rug show. Most are of elementary age, but two high schools and one junior high participated as well.
This year, the coordination of all this was in the capable hands of Masuda Medcalf, shown here with Mary Owen, as they prepare the children for the first round of programs:
During the program children are able to watch as weavers work at their looms:
The other program leader was Robin Field-Williams. Here she shows children a model Hogan, the traditional Navajo dwelling. With the removable roof it was possible to imagine what life might be like inside such a home:
Classromm Amasani Program, where they adopt one of the Elders. These classes usually make special presentations to their Elder during the school programs. Here is Helen Rose Lewis with her class from the Trailside School: