Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Studio Navajo Woman Portrait

Studio portrait by Christain Barthelmes

This photograph is titled “Red Stocking- Navajo Woman” and is a studio portrait by Christain Barthelmess. I really love this photograph fo the way she is adorned.  Though a studio portrait, she is depicting  the true essence of a Navajo female in terms of Navajo philosophy and identity.

She is dressed in post Long Walk clothing via her floral cotton tiered skirt and collared blouse. She has a Pendelton type shawl over her and is adorned in silver and I’m sure turquoise and coral. Her fingers are adorned with various silver ring bands. She also wears a silver squash blossom necklace with turquoise choker and silver buttons on her shirt.

The other reason I wanted to address this photo is because of the title handwritten on the photo itself which reads “Navajo Squaw.” This term might have been a societal norm and accepted in the era it was photographed, but really it is a disrespectful, rude and non-acceptable term to use in the 21st century. In early days of American society this derogatory term was used by men, but it should never be used ever to address an Indigenous woman.

Female Navajo Elder: Beauty

Aunt Effie, an elderly Navajo woman.

Title and "an old Navajo woman perhaps 100 years (snows) old." hand-written on album page. She wears a blanket shawl. 
Date: between 1880 and 1910
Rights: Western History/Genealogy Dept., Denver Public Library.
Filename 10033080.TIF

21st Adorned Navajo Girl

Indigenous Navajo girl
Photo source Internet
This photograph depicts a 21st century young Navajo girl.
She is adorned with a contemporary velveteen shirt with silver button pendants along the shoulder, colalr and the front of her shirt. She is wearing a traditional Navajo style squash blossom turquoise necklace and matching earrings. This young woman is wearing her hair in the traditional cultural Navajo woman's style hair bundle, which is called a 'ts'ii yaal.'

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hopi Style Turquoise/White Shell Earrings

Hopi style earrings
Photo by Venaya Yazzie 2014

I just adore these earrings!

The earrings I have posted were originated and made directly from a Hopi artisan. I am sharing these earrings today because I would like to share the story of how journeyed across the desert to find me.

One day as I was browsing the hand-crafted items made by Navajo and some Pueblo vendors at the Shiprock Community open market I stopped at a booth with a small elder man sitting behind a small table.

He had a sweet face and he had a plain, white cotton fabric draped over the table with a variety of turquoise earrings upon it. Magical!

What was so wonderful to find was that he did not make the earrings to completely match. I ended up picking the two pictured to make a pair.
When I made the purchase transaction he smiled and called me his 'grand-daughter.' 


Earrings from Northern California

Earrings made by a Hoopa Indian man
Photo by Venaya Yazzie 2014
When I was a student at 20 years old at the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Arts I was befriended by a lovely, strong Indigenous man form the Hoopa Indian Reservation. Ralph M. was from northern California and be became my friend and spiritual adviser.

When I needed a break from the chaos of campus life I would find Ralph and sit and talk with him. Today when I think if my late friend I smile because I honestly believe Creator God sent him into my life to help me find my way and survive via the spiritual. He was a gift to me.

One of my favorite things to do with him was to just sit and bead and make cultural jewelry. Being from northern California he had a great selection of materials including a variety of shells, wooden beads, heishe beads and a great assortment of glass trade beads. The earrings posted are made of glass trade beads, heishe and small clam shell adornments.

This pair of earrings I have posted is a gift from him. I cherish these earrings, for they carry a beautiful story of friendship. The spirit my friend gave me with the earrings is a blessing.

In memory of Ralph Miguelena

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Indigenous Brilliance-Venaya as poster artist 2014

Art by Venaya Yazzie 2014

Indigenous Brillance-Amersterdam is a traveling art showcase featuring the contemporary works of American Indian, Indigenous artists from across America.

I have been chosen as the 2014 poster artist which will be featured in the Netherlands in Amersterdam. The painting on the left above is the painting chosen.

Painting Adornment: Turquoise

Detail of art by Venaya Yazzie.
As a painter, it seems i am always thinking about adornment.

The images I paint re-create a mural of my childhood experience. I have been blessed, for I grew up amidst the beauty of adornment via my grandmothers and aunties.

As a young girl I watched as the women in my life wore turquoise and silver on their person. They wore turquoise and not beadwork, for that type of jewelry adornment is more a Plains Indian style of jewelry.

The memories of Dine' women and turquoise is my historical memory, the narrative of brown desert-women's dialogue is my power. In this world of chaos and boundaries, their words assist me in navigating through the life of a Navajo/Hopi woman artist.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Turquoise Mountain

Mount Taylor, New Mexico
Photo credit
Tsoodzil is what the Navajo know Mount Taylor as. This peak is located near Grants, NM measures at 11,301 elevation and is nestled to the north of the Acoma/Laguna Pueblo.

Tsoodzil is the turquoise mountain to the Navajo, it holds much important significance for the People. Most of what the blue hue concerns originated and lives at this sacred place including the blue bird and blue swallow.

The mountain is sacred to the Navajo, it is often visited and viewed as a major part of the Dine' epistemology.

This place has been under major issues due to corporate global entities who want to begin Uranium mining in the area.

Díí dzíł t’óónizhoni’ah.

Navajo 1920s bracelet1920s

1920s Navajo made bracelet

This example of a Navajo-made silver and turquoise bracelet is an beautiful display of true southwest Indigenous asthetic.
I really like this bracelet for its simple, yet very complex design. Amazing!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Good word from Rita Gilmore.

"Wearing my silver jewelry for strength, my 

turqouise for blessings & friendship and my 

white shell necklace for my spiritual 

foundation. Long ago our ancestors honored 

the white shell necklaces..when one wears 

the white shell necklace its an homage to

 White Shell Woman..If you look at the

 pictures taken of our ancestors during the 

1800's before the Long Walk you'll see them

 all wearing white shell necklaces..."

_Rita Gilmore_2014