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Sheep is Life: A Celebration of Traditional Navajo Shepherding and Weaving Culture
June 17, 2016 @ 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
An event every day that begins at 8:00 am, repeating until June 19, 2016
Immerse yourself in traditional, historical, and contemporary Navajo shepherding and weaving culture at the 20th Annual Sheep is Life Celebration June 17-19. Visitors can experience sheep and wool production, fiber arts, textiles and culinary arts at workshops and presentations throughout the weekend. The celebration is presented by Diné be’ iiná Inc.(DBI), a grassroots organization thtat seeks to preserve, protect and celebrate the Navajo way of life. DBI is dedicated to conserving the Navajo-Churro Sheep breed and promoting fiber arts to enhance self-sufficiency and improve quality of life.
Aretta Begay, Director of Diné be’ iiná Inc. shared, “Sheep Is Life Celebration is about celebrating the shepherding and the weaving culture, it also keeps our Navajo historical weaving practices, pastoral traditions alive. Our event brings individuals of all ages and cultural roots together in one place to share with one another the beauty of working with fiber and be sustainable with the animals and land. This year we will make a special effort to honor all who have been involved in our organization over the last 25 years and all who have been involved in saving our beloved Taa’ Dibei’ (Navajo-Churro Sheep) from extinction.”
The 3-day festival is free, open to the public, and takes place June 17, 18, and 19 in Tsaile, Arizona, near the beautiful Chuska Mountains on the Navajo Nation. The festival is funded in part by a grant from Arizona Humanities.
Begay also added, “[The celebration] includes educational programs and hands-on demonstrations about Navajo weaving, felting, spinning, dying and other arts and crafts; culinary arts featuring lamb and traditional foods; sheep production; land management; stories and presentations about traditional lifeways; a Navajo-Churro sheep and wool show/clinic; demonstrations on discussion of important issues; sheep camp activities, shade house activities, youth activities, and an awards ceremony….We also will have additional events such as a hand spinning contest, fiber arts sales booth, museum display by Diné Youth Fiber Artist Apprentices, special guests and more. We also will be offering pre-celebration workshops with Navajo fiber artists on the Monday-Thursday preceding the main celebration. The Diné Youth Fiber Artist Apprentices are mentored by Master Weaver Roy Kady, who is also a long term serving Dine Be’ Iina member, with over 20 years of volunteerism and weaving/fiber artist presenter and demonstrator for most of his life. kady’s experience and weaving techniques from his maternal lineage and from years of dedication to Dine Be’ Iina is now being passed onto to a group of local youth who are interested in passing on the historical Navajo weaving traditions.”
The program is made possible in part by a grant from Arizona Humanities.
Visit http://navajolifeway.org/ for more information. Please read carefully for directions.
Click here to learn more about Sheep is Life, schedule of activities and more.