Friday, December 14, 2012

Rug Show 2012 - Behind The Scenes II

by John Aldrich

The main activity that takes place at the rug show before it opens to the public is a series of programs for school children. The purpose is to share knowledge about the Navajo way of life and promote understanding between cultures. Linda started this tradition in the early years of the show when she realized that young children in Park City knew nothing about their Native American neighbors and sometimes were even afraid of Indians. They come in classes that range from elementary to high school. Some of the classes have adopted an Elder through our Amasani Program, and many of the classes bring gifts of food or clothing.

During the sessions, students have an opportunity to see a variety of activities unique to the Navajo way of life. Foremost among these is weaving.

Children can see weavers working on rugs in progress and can also watch demonstrations of the skills needed to prepare yarn for weaving. Here Carol Blackhorse is spinning wool.

Students were quite impressed to see what a 9 year-old Navajo weaver was able to produce. Israel Whitehair was attending his second rug show. Last year he brought his very first rug and has made wonderful progress since then.

Students could also try their own hand at weaving under the guidance of Dianna Toya.

A number of classes that had adopted an Elder brought gifts for them such as this group presenting to Grandma Ruth Benally.

Other classes brought something for each of the Grandmas.

Classes that brought something for their Grandma often got a rug in return such as this group with Helen Rose Lewis.

One of the demonstrations that always makes quite an impressions was string games. This is a winter-time activity for Navajo children. Grace Smith Yellowhammer, William Whitehair, and Patrina Toya show their creations.

Once the show opens to the public on Friday evening, there isn't much that takes place behind the scenes. At lunch, though, there is time for a few more activities that are out of sight to the public. One day there was a raffle in which Lena Cowboy won this beautiful quilt made by Gina Zimmerer.

Mary Lou Gleason is pleased with the stuffed sheep that she won.

Another day Santa visited and brought each Elder a Christmas stocking.

The final photo shows the warmth that flows between volunteers and Elders at the show. This is the spirit of the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program.

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