Ancestry and Traditions: National Native American Heritage Month

November is National Native American Heritage Month—a country-wide celebration of the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans. Thrums Books joins the Smithsonian, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Gallery of Art, the National Park Service, and other organizations in paying tribute to Native peoples.

We’ve been celebrating the ancestry and traditions of the Navajo recently, with the publication of our new book Spider Woman’s Children: Navajo Weavers Today written by Navajo weaver Lynda Teller Pete and her sister Barbara Teller Ornelas. We are grateful for all they have taught us and are honored to have published their story. But in honor of Native American Heritage Month we’d like to shine a light on another kind of celebration of the Navajo people that’s been a tradition for nearly 30 years.

Spider Woman’s Children authors Barbara Teller Ornelas (left) and Lynda Teller Pete. Photo by Joe Coca.

 

Every November since 1990 the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program sponsors a rug show and sale in Park City, Utah. This annual event provides an important marketplace for traditional Navajo weavers to sell their art as a way to support their families. The elders bring rugs, jewelry, and baskets to sell, and they return home with all the proceeds from their sales. The rug show helps Adopt-A-Native-Elder create a market for the elders’ crafts, but it’s also a major source of information for the general public about the Navajo culture and people and raises awareness about the elders’ needs. A variety of programs are offered in conjunction with the rug show, all centered around traditional Navajo culture. Among weaving demonstrations, there are dances, special entertainment, educational programs for children, and a fund-raising auction. The show has grown into what may be the largest event of its kind in the country, attracting attendees from around the globe.

ancestryandtraditions
Weaving elder Martha Gorman Schultz and her daughter Loretta. From Spider Woman’s Children. Photo by Joe Coca.

 

Congratulations to the Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program for their stellar work. Learn more about their work and how you too can support the elders through purchasing a Navajo rug.

—Karen


 

Learn more about the ancestry and traditions of the Navajo in our book Spider Woman’s Children: Navajo Weavers Today. 

 

 

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