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Happenings: Spider Women Carry Culture

There are an array of events happening in November in December including the Navajo Rug Show & Sale hosted by the nonprofit group Adopt-ANative Elder.

rug weaving demonstrations are part of 
the annual rug show  and sale hosted by the 
adopt-a-navajo-elder  program. seen here are a  group of school children  watching weavers at  work, including rena  Whitehair (in foreground)   at the 2010 event.

rug weaving demonstrations are part of the annual rug show and sale hosted by the adopt-a-navajo-elder program. seen here are a group of school children watching weavers at work, including rena Whitehair (in foreground) at the 2010 event.

One of the more noteworthy annual events in Indian Country is the Navajo Rug Show & Sale hosted by the nonprofit group Adopt-ANative Elder. The group provides food, clothing and medical assistance for some 500 Navajo elders living on the vast Navajo Reservation in southern Utah and northern Arizona, and puts additional income in the hands of these elders through its online rug sales and the rug show itself.

This year’s event will be held Nov. 11-13 at the Snow Park Lodge at Deer Valley Resort, adjoining Park City, Utah. The sale was launched 22 years ago by non-Native artist Linda Myers and weaver Grace Smith Yellowhammer (Diné). Every sale has a different theme. This year, Myers asked if the weavers might produce rugs featuring horse images. “I’m thrilled with the response,” she notes. “The weavers were challenged, as horse images in their weaving are rare, but we are now seeing rugs coming off the looms that are new and different.” Some are done in traditional, static forms, while others capture horses in motion. “These are not rugs you can go to a gallery and find,” Myers adds. All proceeds from the rug sales go directly to the weavers.

In addition to the sale of fine Navajo weavings, activities at this year’s gathering will include a Navajo children’s princess pageant (Saturday at 10 a.m.), weaving demonstrations (both Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.) and a small closing powwow (Sunday at 3 p.m.). Some 70 weavers (spanning four generations!) and their families will be present. A special reception on Nov. 11, 6-10 p.m. ($30 for adults, $10 for children under 12), will include sales of rugs, jewelry, baskets and other crafts; hors d’oeuvres; country/western music by the group Stampede; cowboy poetry by Fred Engel; and a live auction.

“The rug show is not the focus of our work, really,” notes Myers. “It is the delivery we do twice a year of food, blankets, basic medicines and other necessities to elders on the reservation. We are touching the lives of some really isolated and poor people. Over the years we’ve assisted hundreds of elders who have since passed on and brought together an international group of volunteers with members of this very traditional culture.” For a wonderful slide show of last year’s rug sale, details on the group’s programs and how you can get involved, or to buy rugs online, visit their Web site (where you can click on link to their excellent book Visions in the section titled “Rug Catalog”). General admission on Saturday and Sunday will cost $5 (or a donation of cannedgoods).

For additional details, call 435/649-0535 or visit www.anelder.org.


Join the fun at the sixth annual Manito ahbee Festival, nov. 2-6, Winnipeg, manitoba, Canada, which includes the aboriginal Peoples Choice music awards (nov. 3 by invitation only and nov. 4 for public, with live television broadcast presentation), an indigenous marketplace and trade show (nov. 4-6) and a competition powwow (nov. 5-6). www.manitoahbee.com

Grab some popcorn for the aMerican indian cineMa showcase, nov. 3-5, noble theater, oklahoma City museum of art, co-presented by the oCma and the american indian Cultural Center & museum. highlights will include the screening of A Good Day to Die (nov. 4 & 5, 8 p.m.), which recounts the life story of dennis banks, co-founder of the american indian movement (aim); and presentation of the oklahoma film Critics Circle "tilghman award" to seminole/Creek filmmaker sterlin harjo (nov. 5 at 7 p.m.). www.okcmoa.com

Jet to the 36th annual aMerican indian FilM Festival, nov. 4-12, san francisco, Ca, the oldest event of its kind in existence. 415/554-0525 or www. aifisf.com

go West! to the 20th annual aMerican indian arts Marketplace, nov. 5-6, autry national Center, los angeles, Ca, the largest native arts market on the West Coast. View and purchase top-notch works from some 185 artists representing more than 40 tribes, enjoy live music and dance (including the Wild horse singers and dancers, shelley morningsong and the fontenelle family dance group, and the band twin rivers), storytelling by Jacque nunez, artist demos and hands-on activities, and native fare. this year’s featured artist is niio Perkins (mohawk), who was awarded the 2010 Purchase Prize. there is also a series of native film screenings on saturday evening, and various lectures and author presentations all weekend. also, don’t miss the outstanding current exhibit The Art of Native American Basketry: A Living Tradition in the museum. admission $12 for nonmembers and $8 for seniors, students and children. 323/667- 2000 or www.theautry.org

Jingle over to the 21st annual Great aMerican indian exposition, nov. 11-13, at the showplace, richmond, Va, which includes about 300 dancers and seven or eight drum groups in a competition powwow for about $10,000 in prize monies, plus arts and crafts sales. admission is $10 for adults, $6 for children. powwow@vance.net

Attend the inaugural aMerican indian Market, nov. 12-13, scottsdale Waterfront, scottsdale, az, sponsored by the Phoenix indian Center. the event will include some 150 artists, entertainment by the diné youth singers and musician tony duncan (apache/arikara/hidatsa), plus artist demonstrations and food. admission is free. 602/264-6768, ext. 2900

Register for the native aMerican huMan resources & insurance products conFerence, nov. 14-15, and for the native aMerican diabetes pandeMic conFerence, nov. 16-17, at morongo Casino resort & spa, Cabazon, Ca. www.nativenationevents.org

Enjoy native aMerican daYs, nov. 25-26, mashantucket Pequot museum, mashantucket, Ct. the event includes guided arts activities ($5 per activity), such as creation of corn-husk dolls and clay pinch pots; storytelling by trudie lamb richmond (schaghticoke); artist demonstrations and artwork sales; a celebration of native-themed children’s’ books; and ethnographic tours of the museum’s gardens and surrounding landscapes (for the latter call 800/411-9671 for reservations—ages 12 and up only). the festival is free with museum admission. www.pequotmuseum.org

Peruse the goods at the 15th annual aMerican indian holidaY craFt sale, dec. 3-4, turning stone resort & Casino, Verona, ny, where some 15 artists—mostly from the oneida tribe—will sell original works including wood and bone carvings, beadwork, jewelry and moccasins. free admission. 315/829-8338

Drop a bundle at the native art Market, dec, 3-4, national museum of the american indian, new york City, which is becoming an increasingly signifi cant annual event. this year it includes musical performances by the stellar Joanne shenandoah and a preview reception and sale on friday, dec. 2, 4:30-7:30 p.m. 212/514-3750

Holiday-shop at the Maine indian basketMakers sale, dec. 10, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., hudson museum, university of maine, orono. Join maliseet, micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot basketmakers displaying and selling their handmade, one-of-a-kind ash splint and sweetgrass basketry. Work baskets, such as creels, pack and potato baskets, and fancy baskets ranging from strawberry- and blueberryshaped baskets to curly bowls will be found, along with quill jewelry, wood carvings and birchbark work. also on hand: traditional music, demonstrations of brown ash pounding, basket making and traditional drumming. free admission. 207/581- 1901 or www.umaine.edu/hudsonmuseum

Network at the fi fifth annual casino and hotel developMent conFerence, dec. 12-13, Wild horse Pass hotel & Casino, Chandler, az. www.nativenationevents.org

Join author debra MaGpie earlinG, dec. 15, 3-5 p.m. and 6-7 p.m., missoula art museum, missoula, mt, for a talk about and reading from her new fi ctional work The Lost Journals of Sacajawea. free. 406/728-0447 or www.missoulaartmuseum.org

Catch some rays at thunder in the desert, dec. 30–Jan. 9, rillito raceway Park, tucson, az, featuring parades, live music, a powwow (including a new year’s eve midnight friendship dance), fashion shows, equestrian events, and arts and craft sales. the action will occur noon to 6 p.m. monday-thursday, and noon to 10 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. on friday and saturday. 520/622- 4900 or www.usaindianinfo.org