Airdate: Sep 12, 2001
Navajo Sheep: Weaving
Navajo women tend sheep by day, and at night, spin and weave the fine wool from their herds.
ambience: loom sounds
In the stillness of an Arizona night, Navajo women who have tended their sheep all day sit down at their looms to rest, and to create. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Lena Benally is a breeder of the Navajo-Churro sheep by day, and gifted weaver by night.
"I weave only at night, when everything is real quiet - the sheep are in bed and they're not making no noise so, it's very quiet - and I prefer it that way, so - during the day, you know, I don't mind 'cause I'm in the midst of the sheep all day with their bells and all that, so it's kind of, you know -- I like quiet time for weaving."
For Lena Benally, weaving is instinctive. The designs she creates at her loom are inspired by her own life and by the woven patterns of her ancestors.
"Well my grandmother, she was a weaver, and my mother's a weaver. I learn by watching. I don't have people come get hold my hand, put it here, and there, so I just learn by watching. I'm a type of person that can just watch somebody and I can do it."
Sarah Natani is also a Navajo weaver. She speaks of her kinship with her craft
"When I was learning how to weave my mom had told me about weaving - that it will clear your mind - and if you have problem, you sit down to your weaving and then it takes - it seems like it takes your whole thoughts away, or your whole bad things away. That's the way I feel about it."
To hear about our new CD, please visit pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation, with additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I'm Jim Metzner.