Vientiane Artist Exchange with 3 Generations of Navajo Weavers

Art in Embassies sent three generations of Navajo weavers (Sarah Naataanii, Tahnibaa Naataanii and Winter Rose Hoskie) to Laos for a weaving cultural exchange.

Full Transcript

0:17 (singing)
0:18 SARAH NAATAANII: (Speaking Navajo)
0:21 THANIBAA NAATAANII: (Speaking Navajo)
0:25 WINTER ROSE HOSKIE: (Speaking Navajo)
0:29 THANIBAA: And then the very thin lines on the sides…
0:37 (many voices)
0:38 CLUNE: Welcome to all of you, I’m really excited to have all of you here tonight for
0:52 the opening of this exhibition of Native American and Lao textiles. The exhibition was arranged
1:00 and made possible by the State Department’s Art in Embassies program which arranges exhibitions
1:22 of American art in ambassadors’ residences around the world. And was founded way back
1:36 in 1963 at the insistence of President Kennedy.
1:39 SARAH: So I went home. And then my mother came over and she asks me, she says, are they
1:46 going to help you? And I said no, they told me this, I said, and then I told her they
1:52 what they the welfare people told me. And she says put a lift up your hand like this
1:57 child, she says to me. So I did this and she says, look at these point here, these you
2:05 got ten of them and every, every point have different things that are there, she says.
2:13 You use it. You work with it. You shouldn’t even be going to the welfare to ask for help.
2:20 Get your tools out. You got the sheep there, they give you wool and you can work and then
2:28 you be buying what your family needs. So that’s what I did.
2:33 THANIBAA: I learned how to weave when I came home from school. I was in the 2nd grade and
2:41 I was 7 years old. I came home from school and my mother told me, today you’re gonna
2:49 learn how to weave.
2:50 GUJADHUR: The three of them actually live on a farm, on a sheep farm in New Mexico,
2:57 the Four Corners area, and raise heritage sheep, a Navajo breed, actually. And that
3:05 wool is used in their weaving itself.
3:09 THANIBAA: So my mother is Many House Clan and that means I’m Many House Clan and my
3:17 daughter is Many House Clan. So together we represent the Many House Clan. At the bottom
3:25 base right here (gestures) that represents the Mother Earth. I couldn’t tell you everything,
3:34 in this time, the representation of the loom, but I told you just a little so you can understand.
3:42 (applause)
3:44 GUJADHUR: So this was a wonderful way for us at TAC to be able to receive weavers and
3:52 indigenous peoples from another country. To be able to introduce their culture and their
3:59 history and their weaving to the Lao people and to people living here in Lao. So it was
4:05 really a wonderful opportunity for the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center.
4:08 We are especially happy to see how many local weavers came. I think they’re very interested
4:14 to meet weavers who were using a slightly different technique from what they use but
4:22 they found a lot of similarities. So you can see the table over there with the natural
4:27 dyes with their local wool with all of their equipment is packed, so I think people are
4:33 really enjoying learning about how people weave in another country.
4:38 (music)