Through my project, I wish to create pieces that reflect vital creation myths/designs to reinspire these youth to delve into their cultural traditions more. I want more Navajo youth to be participating in this storytelling conversation beyond the reservation or wherever they may reside as it’s part of their ancestral identity.

Natanii Yazzie

Natanii Yazzie

 Natanii Yazzie (Navajo Nation), 23, practices a unique method of silversmithing, Tufa Casting, that originated with the Navajo people in the early 1800’s that uses the tufa stone as a mold for molten silver. He was drawn to silversmithing because of the cultural importance silver jewelry has in Navajo culture, the pieces themselves acting as a connection to their ancestors. He recently began taking introductory courses to hone his skills, and is interested in learning more Navajo stories and the history their jewelry holds.

Yazzie’s dream is to make sure Navajo culture and storytelling traditions endure by inspiring urban Navajo youth to learn and interact with cultural pieces and stories. He will use the traditional Tufa casting method to create pieces of silver jewelry that reflects vital creation myths in their design. Accompanying these pieces will be information cards explaining the significance of each design backed by the Navajo myths and ceremonies.

“ Navajo Culture is all about beauty and living in a harmonious balance with the universe. I wish to explore this realm by incorporating designs of early Navajo myths about the stars/universe in my silver creations that can be worn.”

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