Friday, November 6, 2009

My Friend Marilyn (Misslynn)

My friend is kind of bashful and she is going back to school so you have not been able to see any of her treasurers on her so I decided to introduce her myself. Thanks to etsy, I got her bio. She won't see it unless I bug her next week. She works at Canyon de Chelly as a community liaison, interpreter, and works closely with the canyon farms. She distributes seeds and fruit trees and helps the local re-establish their farms in the canyon. This is taken right in front of Fortress Rock, an famous landmark during the Spanish invasion and the Long Walk period. tj

My name is Marilyn James, Diné. I am of the Big Water clan and born for Coyote Pass clan. The maternal and paternal clans are Towering House and Bitter Water. I am from Smoke Signals, Arizona. My mother and father are Mary C. James and the late Philip James. My grandparents are the late Ruth Nelson Chee and John Kayonnie Chee. My mother is a homemaker and a Navajo Textile Weaver. Her expertise is in Pictorial weaving. My father has always been away at work; working on the Railroad or working in fields in other states. My grandmother was a Navajo Textile Weaver, too. She wove Yeis, a pattern of ceremonial dancers. My grandfather was a Medicine Man. His practice was doing Crystal Gazing and one (1) night singing (a Diné Ceremonial practice). I come from a large family; six (6) sisters and four (4) brothers. (This is how I introduce myself in Diné).

As a child before age six (6) years old, I grew up around an area called Owl Hat. I played within these hills and plateaus and at every watering hole there was. The whole world around me was a playground. What I learned then to prepare me for life, is so different from what I know today. Most of what my mother and grandparents basic life necessities were living off the land and taking care of the livestock. Being at home, it wasn't all play; I helped herd sheep in the pastures, taking the sheep to the watering hole and working around the house which included sweeping, doing the dishes and keeping things in order, plus babysitting my younger brothers and sisters. The whole family took part in taking turns doing each chore.

Sometime after age six (6), I went to boarding school; this was something that everybody did and it had to be done. I didn't go very far from home but it was still away from the comfort of home. The memory of the experience must have been traumatic because I don't remember the first day of school. That was probably the beginning of staying away and not getting back home.

In boarding school, activities of daily living were a routine and setup on a time base. It was during that time that I learned all of what I know about Arts and Crafts. There were clubs and small groups you can sign up for to learn how to knit, crotchet, and even weave a Navajo textile rug. I recalled a knitting group I entered, the instructor started off by telling us to cut a piece of yarn and put it in our mouth and chew on it so we can be expert knitters. I think it worked... Female, Born on September 16

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