Jewelry maker George Bennett will demonstrate Pai jewelry techniques and Katherine Marquez will discuss the evolving Pai culture.
Enhance your Zuni knowledge by enjoying the Zuni Young Pottery Maidens and the A:shiwi Traditional Dancers. The history behind creating Zuni fetishes is discussed by carver Mike Yatsayte, and Zuni Katsinas are explored by carver Selino Eriacho.
And if it’s the outside that draws you in, sign up for ethnobotany tours along the Rio De Flag with Wilber Haskie, a Zuni ethnobotanist.
Children of all ages will enjoy a Native-inspired puppet show, “Dragonfly’s Tale,” as well as a creative corner on Saturday where they can make a take-home craft. For a complete listing of activities, go to www.musnaz.org.
The Museum of Northern Arizona is located three miles north of Flagstaff’s historic downtown at 3101 N. Fort Valley Road and is open from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily. Admission is $5/adult, $4/senior, $3/student and $2/child. For more information, call 928/774-5213.
Zuni people call themselves “A:Shiwi.” The 10,000-member tribe lives on a reservation in northwestern New Mexico. The Zuni social system is a complex network of clans, and religious and medicine societies. They are dry land farmers who view their connection to the earth as spiritual.
Zuni fetishes are small hand-carved objects representing the spirits of animals or the forces of nature. Fetishes are used in an effort to control the unpredictable forces of nature. Zunis believe animals and objects contain forces of nature that can help or hurt people. It is believed that if the person hosting the fetish treats it properly, it will help who owns it to overcome problems.
Pai nations include the Havauspai, Hualapai, Yavapai, the San Juan Southern Paiute and the Paipai, who migrated to Baja, California. Pai people historically live close to the Colorado River and are closely related by language and tribal beliefs.
A common ancestry is found in cultural traits such as gourd songs and dances, extensive use of acorns and pine nuts and their earthy ceramic pottery.
Everett Pikyavit spent the past six years eyeing artifacts in museums, gleaning information from his elders, and anything else he could do to recreate his Southern Paiute culture and capture it for generations to come.
As one of the last living Southern Paiute basket makers, Pikyavit weaves 9,000 years of Paiute tradition into each basket, hat, water jug and cradleboard he creates from the wild willow, sumac, yucca fibers and cat claw rods he finds along the Moapa River near his Las Vegas home.
His brown hands hurt from scraping, cutting, sorting and weaving rods of willow branches. He said, “When I am getting ready for an event like the marketplace, the whole house is full of piles of different size willow branches.”
As the featured artist at the MNA’s Native Artists Marketplace, Pikyavit hopes to educate the public to the artistry of his people. His methods are traditional, his materials are natural, and his inspiration is the Paiute basketry he learned at his grandmother’s feet.
“I used to play with my toys at my grandmother’s feet as she was weaving,” said Pikyavit. “She planted the seeds for me to make baskets too.”
But it didn’t happen overnight. As a young man, Pikyavit pursued geology at school and worked putting out California forest fires for eight years. It wasn’t until his 30s that he began longing for his Southern Paiute roots. Now he is an active member of the Moapa Band of Paiutes and works to encourage others like him to follow traditional basket designs.
“I picked up the technique easily. I believe it was in my blood,” he says. “I try to encourage young weavers to stick with their task. I believe if I teach people now, they will return to it later and keep the tradition alive.”
Pikyavit formed the Great Basin Native Basket Weavers Association, which now includes more than 30 members learning the trade. He also makes traditional clothing such as beaded buckskin attire, shoes, bows and arrows, and feather-adorned hats, which also will be on display.
Labor Day Sale
The Museum of Northern Arizona’s annual Museum Shop Labor Day Sale Sept. 3–6 is an opportunity to acquire authentic native art at a great price.
This year, along with the once-a-year reductions, all jewelry is 25 percent off. Also save on:
• Pendleton blankets and bronze sculptures at 20 percent off
• Baskets and pottery at 25 percent off
• Katsina dolls, Navajo rugs, sandpaintings, folk art, and flutes at 30 percent off
• Stone sculptures, paintings, silver boxes, and baby rattles at 40 percent off and selected items in the Museum Shop are 50 percent off
Consignment items are not included in this sale and no additional discounts apply.