Writer and Amazing Storyteller, Georgiana Simpson

http://www.amazon.com/Navajo-Ceremonial-Baskets-Sacred-Symbols/dp/1570671184/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1375746323&sr=8-2&keywords=Georgiana+Simpson

Navajo Ceremonial Baskets: Sacred Symbols, Sacred Space

This well-documented work, beautifully illustrated with over 100 full color photographs of baskets, weavers, and related objects, details the history, origins, and meanings of these creations.

Included are detailed color photographs of vintage and modern baskets, portraits of award-winning basket weavers and their work, a section honoring a new generation of Navajo weavers, tips about the etiquette and safekeeping of ceremonial baskets, in-depth interviews with Navajo medicine men, and colorful takes of Kicking Rock Man, Changing Woman, Monster Slayer, and their role in the origin of the baskets.

Don’t wait, get this book!  It has it all going on, and it’s also available on e-readers.

Old Style Navajo Concho Belt by John Yazzie

Georgiana Kennedy Simpson of Twin Rocks Trading Post of Bluff, UT describes this Navajo Concho Belt.

Geogiana (Jana) Simpson knows her stuff.  Her dad, about to turn 100 years old, is a trader who is still going strong in Gallup, NM., where Jana grew up.  Like the Navajo artists, she learned her trade while she was growing up.

Thank you, Jana, for beinging so many innovations to Twin Rocks, and recognizing beauty!

The Navajo Sacred Basket and the Basket as Art

Native baskets are made by women, and a few men who lives as women

Baskets are the Province of Women… and a Few Men.

Basketry is generally a woman’s art that is also pursued by the nadle (he-to-she) or men skilled in the arts and lifestyle of both men and women. Basketry is not classified with textile fabrics (yistl’o), but with sewing (nalkhad).

Making baskets is a sacred act – many are used for ceremonial purposes.  Today, there are several amazing artists at Twin Rocks who have created an art form that is a fusion of tradition and cutting-edge contemporary art

Traditionally, while the basket is in progress, the sewer is untouched and avoided by the members of her family. The basket material, too, is placed beyond the immediate reach of the household.  The basketmaking is finished as quickly as possible.  Usually, the craft and art is passed down through women in the family, and learned at a young age.

In days past, if the basketmaking went on too long, sickness and rheumatic stiffness might affect both the wrists and the joints of the sewer.  This was remedied by a singer/medicine man who, in the course of a ceremony, clothed both arms of the patient with the skin of a fawn (bi’yazh).  Then, a hole was broken into the south side of the hogan through which the patient extended her hand and wrist. As soon as the wrist appeared on the outside, her younger sister took it between her teeth, pressing them lightly into the skin.  This removed the stiffness (nasdo’).

There are families of weavers we at Twin Rocks have been honored to work with in their passion to experiment with materials, colors and designs.  What they have created is mind-boggling.  We believe that creating a new art form is also a sacred act, and we applaud these men and women for their vision!

Ellen Meloy — Our Writing Angel of the Four Corners

Favorite Local Writer

Ellen Meloy, Bluff’s Favorite Local Writer — We Miss You.

Author Ellen Meloy lived in Bluff, and she left the earth far too early.

She captured our home here as few other writers have.  And so, why use our words, when we can give you hers about this, our desert home.

“…in the desert there is everything and there is nothing. Stay curious. Know where you are—your biological address. Get to know your neighbors—plants, creatures, who lives there, who died there, who is blessed, cursed, what is absent or in danger or in need of your help. Pay attention to the weather, to what breaks your heart, to what lifts your heart. Write it down.” ~E.M. November 2004

When travelers come into Twin Rocks, they often ask us directions, the history of the land, about Navajo people. They want to know how we can live here, the epicenter of nowhere and everywhere. We should simply print out Ellen’s words and hand them out to our guests.

We could also say that her advice works just as well if you live in New York or L.A.  You are still part of the natural world, and it makes sense to know your heart’s address, no matter where you live.

When researching her last book, she wrote, “…During my recent journeys this history (of land) felt foreign and unnervingly off-the-Map, even as I lived in its heart. Gaze out from the mesa, and you will meet my duplicitous lover. You will see eternity, a desert that like no other place exudes the timelessness of nature as the final arbiter. Scrape off our century, and you will find its usurper, pressed into a nugget of inorganic matter, the single greatest threat to the continuity of life. The history inscribed itself on the Map’s most alarming folios; ignoring it was no way to earn Home.”

Come visit us at Twin Rocks.  Read one of Ellen’s books. Understand that when you come here, you, too, will see eternity. What a blessiing, Ellen.  Thank you for your words.

The Crew at Twin Rocks.

Bluff is the Center of Hillerman Country

Writer Tony Hillerman used Bluff as a setting in his book, Thief of Time

Writer Tony Hillerman used Bluff as a setting in his book, Thief of Time

Tony Hillerman loved the four corners area, and we’re proud that this gracious and artistic man graced Bluff with his presence while researching A Thief of Time.

As always, Tony’s books are filled with Navajo lore, and they are spell-binding. At a moonlit Indian ruin—-where “thieves of time” ravage sacred ground in the name of profit—-a noted anthropologist vanishes while on the verge of making a startling, history-altering discovery. At an ancient burial site, amid stolen goods and desecrated bones, two corpses are discovered, shot by bullets fitting the gun of the missing scientist.

Modern mysteries abound in ancient places, and Navajo Tribal Policemen Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee must plunge into the past to unearth the astonishing truth behind a mystifying series of horrific murders.

Tony Hillerman was the former president of the Mystery Writers of America and received its Edgar® and Grand Master awards. His other honors include the Center for the American Indian’s Ambassador Award, the Silver Spur Award for the best novel set in the West, and the Navajo Tribe’s Special Friend Award. He lived with his family in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

When you are in Hillerman Country, stop by our Twin Rocks Cafe.  Pick up one of Tony’s books.  Where better to read about the heart of Tony’s settings than in Bluff, sitting on our porch, watching the magic roll over the mesas…

The Most Beautiful Place on Earth

Come to Twin Rocks Trading Posts and visit Arches National Park

Arches National Park is one of the natural treasures near Twin Rocks.

The First Morning

“This is the most beautiful place on earth.

“There are many such places.  Every man, every woman carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, actual or visionary.  A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world to be seen from a comfortable apartment in the tender, velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio or Rome — there’s no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment.  Theologians, sky pilots, astronauts have even felt the appeal of home calling to them from above, in the cold black outback of interstellar space.

“For myself, I’ll take Moab, Utah.  I don’t mean the town itself, of course, but the country which surrounds it — the Canyonlands. The slick-rock desert.  The red dust and the burnt cliffs and the lonely sky — all that which lies beyond the end of the roads.”

…………..

The above was written by Edward Abbey, and it is from his book about our red rock country, Desert Solitaire.  His use of words is incomparable.  The perfect description of how we feel about this, the part of the land we carry in our hearts.  The part that grabs travelers as they pass through.

Come to Twin Rocks in Bluff, UT and discover the art that emerges from this magical place.  You will be captivated and amazed. But you won’t be surprised. Art that comes from land with this sort of beauty is breathtaking, purely imagined, and the inspiration is clear.

Some content on this page was disabled on April 12, 2016 as a result of a DMCA takedown notice from Jim Karczewski. You can learn more about the DMCA here:

https://en.support.wordpress.com/copyright-and-the-dmca/

Think a Navajo Weaving Costs Too Much? Think Again!

Click on this link, and watch the difference between money and value:  (And turn the sound up!)

Navajo master weaver Sadie Curtis talks about her craft. Filmed and edited by Laurie McDonald, consulting anthropologist Teresa Wilkins, UNM–Gallup, native cedar flute music by Terry McKinley. Produced in 2006.

Navajo Weavings are prized by musuems and collectors

Master Weaver Sadie Curtis shows us the Art, Joy, and Extraordinary Technique in her weavings

Sadie Curtis tells us that it takes a long time to learn traditional Navajo weaving

Sadie Curtis laughs about learning weaving

The Mysteries of Navajo Medicine

Navajo Medicine Men making a Healing Sandpainting

Navajo Medicine Men making a Healing Sandpainting

To most American Indians, medicine had/has a different meaning than we give it.  It comes with an entire array of ideas and healing concepts, as well as remedies and treatments.

An explorer, George Grinnell, wrote something that we’d like to share with you:

“All these things that we speak of as medicine, Indian people call mysterious.  And, the word mysterious is used to mean that their healing properties is beyond anyone’s power to account for.”

Isn’t this what the power of prayer or positive thinking amounts to?  Positive thoughts that we send up to the skies, or hopes and dreams that may or may not come true. And if they do come true?  It comes from the center of the great mystery–probably whichever form of religion we ascribe to.

He continues:  “We say that Indian people call whisky ‘medicine water.’ Translated, it is really called mysterious water, meaning water that acts in a way that’s not understandable.  And, in the same way, some tribes call the horse ‘medicine dog,’ and the gun ‘medicine iron‘.  Both are a mystery.

“People who we call a medicine man may be a doctor, a healer of diseases.  If he does something like juggle, he may be a worker of magic.  Either way, he is a mystery man.

“All Indian languages that we know of have words which are the equivalent of our word ‘medicine’, sometimes with curative properties.  But, the Indian’s actual translation of ‘medicine,’ used in the sense of magical or supernatural, would be ‘mysterious, inexplicable, and unaccountable.'”

Medicine is a mystery, almost any Western doctor will agree. Sure, there are formulas to make the medicine and give it. But, in the end, the same medicine works differently on everyone.  And that is a mystery.  We all understand that, and the best doctors will agree that, in the end, there is a magic inside the patient, whether we call it will, fate or chemistry, that will cause healing.

As an afternote, and a description of how much the term ‘medicine’ covers, John James Audubon, the great American painter and naturalist, said, “I think it’s notable that the Missouri valley Indians called the steamboat “great medicine.”  Truly, moving across a mighty river, with or against the current, certainly is mysterious.

So, let your mind roam the world of mysteries and wonders.  See how much comes down to the word “medicine.”  It’s just about everything imaginable!

Miss Navajo is Much More than a Sexy Bathingsuit

Miss Navajo Nation will carry on the tradition of Beauty and Pride in Womanhood

New Miss Navajo Nation, 2012 – 2013

We at Twin Rocks are proud of the young women who are our treasured neighbors, artists and storytellers.  We’ve published photos of Miss Navajo over the years, and we’d like to share with you a different cultural perspective on Beauty.

………………………..

Welcome (ya’at’eeh)  This, from:  www.missnavajonaton.com:

In keeping with Navajo culture and tradition, the role of Miss Navajo Nation is to exemplify the essence and characters of First Woman, White Shell Woman and Changing Woman and to display leadership as the Goodwill Ambassador.

Miss Navajo Nation represents womanhood, and she fulfills the role of ‘grandmother, mother, aunt, and sister’ to the Navajo people. And so, she can speak as a leader, teacher, counselor, advisor and friend.’

In March 1999, the Branch Chiefs of the Navajo government agreed that the tone of the fundamental principles of the Navajo government should be the preservation of the Navajo culture. It shall be the mission of the Office of Miss Navajo Nation to encourage every Navajo to assist in the preservation of Navajo culture, and Miss Navajo Nation will represent the importance of Navajo women with respect and honor.    From the Current Miss Navajo, Leandra Thomas:

“My name is Leandra Thomas. I am Naakaii Dine (Mexican/Spanish people) born for Tsi’naajinii (Black streak people). My maternal grandparents are Kiiya’aanii (Towering house people), and my paternal grandparents are Honagha’nii (Ones who walk around). I come from a small community called Steamboat Canyon, Arizona. I received my bachelor’s degree from Northern Arizona University in elementary education. I am pursing my master’s degree in bilingual multicultural education, also from NAU.

“I have two loving parents, Anderson and Bernice Thomas. I’m the youngest of four, with three older brothers Andy, Arlo, and Leander. The teachings that are instilled within me come from my family, grandparents, relatives, and our livestock. (Yes, she said livestock — we can certainly learn from other animals.)

“As an educator and a student, I feel the students are the ones who will be carrying on our Dine teachings. Our elders are the ones who share the stories, and from them we learn about our Navajo culture and language. Therefore, throughout the year, my focus is on our youth and our elders. Together, our Navajo Nation is able to reach great heights, and together we are able to walk in beauty.”

…………………………………

Together… That’s how we all walk in Beauty.  Thank you, Leandra, an extraordinary young woman.  You make us all proud.