Thursday, October 4, 2012

Amasani At Trailside Elementary

by Kathy Osborne

(Note: We are delighted to welcome Kathy as the new director of the Amasani Program.)

ANE's Amasani Program held a Mini Rug Show, the evening of September 10th, at Trailside Elementary School in Park City.  Most of the students and parents who attended stayed the entire two hours and enjoyed a hands-on introduction to Navajo culture and way of life.  It was an evening that they will remember for a long time to come.

Wendy Sanborn greeted participants at the door and directed them to activities and displays.

Shirlee Silversmith showed visitors how to remove corn from the cob and grind it into meal.  Many children found that keeping the corn in place while grinding can be a tricky business.

Eileen Quintana demonstrated carding sheep's wool and spinning it into yarn. Students got a sense of the labor intensive process that goes into creating a Navajo rug. Rug making takes skill and patience.

Children love stories and a storyteller who punctuates the story with a drumbeat makes the story that much better.  Rodger Williams held his audience captive as he shared traditional Navajo stories.

Kathy Osborne, the new Amasani coordinator, introduced books that were written and illustrated by Navajo authors.  The books were available to buy.

The loom sat in the center of the auditorium.  There Beverly Benally showed “eager weavers” how to turn yarn into a piece of art.  One little girl returned again and again to the loom to weave just a little more.  With Beverly's guidance, nearly a third of a rug was completed.

Carla Sydenham, Linda Myers, and Sandy Sleeper helped parents and children pick a special memory of the evening to take home.  Rugs made by young Navajo weavers covered two tables.  Each rug had the name and age of the artist. Having had the chance to card, spin, and weave, many wanted to purchase a small rug to take home.  But, there were also beautiful pieces of beaded jewelry and cuddly stuffed-fleece animals calling “take me home” as well.  Linda, Carla, and Sandy assisted in the decision making process.

Stan Sydenham finalized sales, always with a smile.

Off behind the rug tables, Nancy Haga, a flute player and teacher from Park City, showed small fingers how to play wooden flutes. Children worked hard to coordinate fingers and breath to make the music their own.   Nancy's music brought a sense of the desert southwest to Trailside School. 

Amasani exists to promote understanding of and appreciation for Navajo culture.  This night the group wanted the children to participate in a service project for the Native Elders who would be visited on the next food run.  Bobbi Lees harnessed her inner teacher and provided colorful reusable sacks for participants to fill with “goodies": toothpaste, toothbrush, hand sanitizer, washcloth, chapstick, as well as a handmade greeting from a child.  Sandy Sleeper kept the assembly line moving and CJ boxed up the goodie bags and hauled them to the van. 

As families left, each child received a copy of a Navajo rug design to color at home.

Utahna Halona, Shirlee Silversmith's daughter, took many of the photos you seen in this blog.
Thank you for the great pictures.

To all those who volunteered to help with the Trailside Mini Rug Show, Thank You!  A special Thank You goes to Krista Ingles, a third grade teacher at Trailside, whose interest in and commitment to Navajo culture,  ANE, and expanding young minds, made the evening possible. The show was a memorable experience for all.

1 comment:

  1. That was wonderful! I would love a doll! Thanking for bringing us this story.