United States of America · 8 Days · 28 Moments · April 2017

Benetta's journi to United States of America

26 April 2017

April 26 more pics
April 26. Our weavings
April 26 continued. Oscar's family made us Navajo tacos for lunch making the food over an open fire. More pics
April 26 What can I say. An absolutely magical day. It was perfect weather. We wove in Spring Canyon (part of Canyon de Chelly )on Oscar's grandmothers land. It was a perfect day in a perfect place. Our ride there was a bit harrowing (look at the pics but beautiful ). We all finished our weavings and Barbara and Linda blessed them. There was another ceremony to cut the strings and we take them home and bury them in a special place in accordance with Navajo tradition.

25 April 2017

April 25 A cold and rainy morning. We decided to weave on the Holiday Inn porch. It was cold there too but we got lots of weaving done. We have to finish our weavings by Wednesday afternoon. At night we had a little pizza party and everyone showed what they bought. It was fun.

24 April 2017

April 24 continued Then we drove to the petroglyphs that are actually the loom dancer symbol. Our guide Oscar explained the origins which are Anasazi, Hopi and Navajo. I also took a pic in the car because Oscar has a Bernie button on his sun flap. We returned to the hotel and wove on the porch. We had two different Navajo artists visit to sell their wares. It is hard to resist! At night I sat outside with Ginger, Karen, Janet and Peggy and drank wine.
More pics
April 24 Unfortunately I woke up with a swollen eye. Probably some sand went into my eye. Hot compresses then off to weave. We had another amazing ride into the canyon again. It was fun but tough to weave because we had 50 mph winds. So around noon we had lunch and and left there to visit this amazing Navajo dyer Kathleen. We went to her hogan in the canyon. Unfortunately it was to windy for a demonstration so she talked about her processes. Of course it was infused with the Navajo beliefs. It was amazing. After that we went to the Antelope house ruins. The entire complex is made up of two main building areas that border a central type plaza structure. The area was once inhabited by the Kayenta Anasazi Indians from about 1050 AD to 1270 AD.

23 April 2017

More pics
More pics
April 23 continued. It was fun on it's frustration. We were surrounded by beauty. Check out the petroglyphs on the walls. We returned about 4pm. After dinner Barbara and Linda helped us weave more on the hotel porch.
April 23 Even with the wind weaving in a canyon is a spiritual experience. About 9am we drove with Navajo guides. Just the ride to the mouth of Canyon de les Muertes was unbelievable. We drove about a 1/2 hour through water and mud/sand with the canyon walls surrounding us. We wove on the canyon floor. After we set up Barbara did a Navajo prayer.
In the evening we went to meet our Navajo master weavers Linda and Barbara. We received our looms and designed our projects. They are amazing but it is a bit intimidating. Tomorrow we go into the canyon to start weaving.

22 April 2017

April 22 continued. We had lunch at Thunderbird Lodge where I had red Navajo chili with posole and Indian fry bread. Pretty good. Then Peggy, Phyllis and I went on this incredible hike at Whitehouse down into the Canyon. It was hard but incredibly beautiful
More morning Canyon pics
More morning Canyon pics
More morning Canyon pics
April 22 What an incredibly amazing day! This place is so spiritual! We took off in the morning with our Navajo guide Oscar Bia. He grew up in the Canyon and told us so many stories both about Navajo culture and his own family. It was remarkable to hear all of this while touring the Canyon. I don't think I captured the Canyon because it is too majestic to capture in photos but here it is

21 April 2017

April 21 continued. We then drove to the Four Corners monument which is on Navajo reservation land in 3 of the four states. The monument is on the border of Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. It was hokey but fun. Then we entered Arizona and went to a very traditional trading post, Teec Nos Pos Trading Post, established 1907. It is where local Navajos still shop for their daily needs and they sell unique Navajo creations. It was great we watched them buy wool from local women and learned about local artists. We then drove another hour (in the back of a van--ugh) to Chinle, the town closest to the Canyon where we are staying at the Holiday Inn.
More April 21 We then went to Notah Dineh Trading Post in Cortez CO. It is very famous weavings, sand paintings, hand carved wooden Kachinas, beaded baskets, cradle boards beadwork and jewelry. They have a museum in the basement with the collection of the father and grandfather. It was overwhelming but there was incredible goods. As I was deciding what to buy we took a break and went to lunch at a bistro. We were surprised there by Carrie, the owner of Loomdance who has been having medical tests and has been unable to be on the trip thus far. She is inspiring and wonderful and it was so great to see her even for a few hours. We went back to Notah Dineh I bought a beautiful weaving.
April 21 After breakfast we left Durango for Mancos. Just for that piece I rode in Janet's my roomate's ) truck because I had to finish my conference call. At Mancos we went to Canyon silversmiths--the owner and her partner make beautiful jewelry with traditional Navajo symbols. Then we went to some other galleries including Kilgores Indian Fine Arts. Kilgores had a lot of older absolutely stunning rugs, baskets and cuchinas.

20 April 2017

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More pics
April 20 continues. On the way back from Mesa Verde we stopped in the really cute town of Mancos with beautiful galleries and a funky little cafe where we picked up lunch. We drove back to Durango. In the late afternoon the entire group went to the Center of Southwest Studies at Fort Lewis College. We met with the director Shelby Tisdale. It was fascinating. Later Peggy and I went with Phyllis to a Himalayan restaurant .
More Mesa Verde pics
April 20. A free day so Peggy and I drove to Mesa Verde National Park. I've been before but no words can describe how fascinating it is.

19 April 2017

April 19 continued: we meet with everyone on the trip to go to Fort Lewis College--a local college with more Native American students than any other in the country. We had a great orientation to the history of the tribes and the history of the Spanish in the area from a renowned historian of the Southwest , Andy Gulliford PhD. It was fascinating. Afterwards we all went to dinner at Gazpacho a local Mexican restaurant .
April 19: started the day very early at O'Hare airport for my flight to Denver. Meet my weaving friend Peggy Orloff at the airport and we flew to Denver. At our gate in Denver we met another weaver Patte from Connecticut. We took a small plane to Durango and rented a car. We drove into Durango to the Strater hotel, established 1887. Beautiful and very Western. After checking in, we had lunch at the Belle saloon. It was fun and we took a pic with our waitress in her sexy Western get up. After lunch Peggy and I walked around the town. When we returned I went to the room and met my roomie Janet from Montrose CO. Very interesting woman.