Navajo artist award winners
Whitethorn Sr. took the Best of Show Award for his
bronze sculpture entitled "Long Prayers."
MNA Spirit Award was presented to Tim Washburn for
his alabaster sculpture, "Trading Post Collector."
year's Memorial Award, honoring weaver Alice Nez
Horseherder, was given to Lola Cody, whose weaving best
exemplifies Horseherder's weaving.
Art: First Place-Alvin John; Second Place-Landis Bahe;
Honorable Mentions to Melvin John, Jerry Cohoe and Melvin
Art: First Place-Gregory Long; Second Place-Aaron White;
Honorable Mentions to Pamela Saufkie, Suzanne Harvey, Suzanne
First Place-Alice Cling; Samuel Manygoats; Honorable Mention
to Elizabeth Manygoats.
First Place-Joe Alford; Second Place-Lionel Bahe; Honorable
Mentions to Clendon Pete, Abraham Begay and Abraham Begay.
First Place-Bahe Whitethorne Sr.; Second Place-Gloria Chee;
Honorable Mentions to Tim Washburn and Gloria Chee.
First Place-Mona Laughing; Second Place-Lola Cody; Honorable
Mentions to Mona Laughing, Pauline Tsosie and Amy Begay.
First Place-Sally Black; Second Place-Sally Black; Honorable
Arts: First Place-Mileka John; Second Place-Tulane John;
Honorable Mention-Quanah John.
First Place-Sage Nunez; Second Place-Sage Nunez; Honorable
Ariz. - Often the mention of a museum brings to mind collections
of the past. Nothing can be further from that image than the 61st
Annual Navajo Festival of Arts and Culture presented by the Museum
of Northern Arizona, which offered a lively picture of a vibrant,
saw exemplary examples of Navajo jewelry, folk art, pottery, fine
art, sculpture, textile and baskets, and performances. The rooms
and hallways were packed on Aug. 7, despite the day-long rain.
year, two outstanding films were presented, both honoring Navajo
women-"In the Footsteps of Yellow Woman," and "Hearing
the Footsteps of Yellow Woman" was written and directed by
14-year-old Camille Manybeads Tso as an eighth grade project when
she was just 13.
27-minute docu-drama chronicles the courageous journey of Tso's
great-great-great grandmother during the Long Walk. Tso recounted
how she learned about her warrior ancestor, and how her imagination
I was growing up, I often visited my grandmother, Mae Wilson Tso,"
Tso said. "We were out on a walk one day, and she was talking
to me, and suddenly she stopped and pointed to the ground. She said,
"This is the place where your great-great-great grandmother
Yellow Woman was shot."
to say, Tso was fascinated by the story, and spent an entire year
doing research for her film, which has been screened at over 25
film festivals across the country.
asked how she cast the film, Tso laughed.
said, 'Hey, family, who wants to be in a film?'" Tso replied.
"So, different family members stepped up to help. [My cousin]
Ian had never touched a camera in his life. I just handed it to
him and told him to point it."
relatives, including her father, Francis Tso, helped portray the
story of Yellow Woman, who was said to have attacked and killed
several members of the cavalry with her knife. Her husband, Yellow
Man and other family members were hidden and cared for near Hotevilla,
but Yellow Woman was shot in the stomach and captured-forced to
make the long journey to the New Mexico/Texas border, and later
returned to find her family waiting for her.
was homeschooled by her mother, Rachel Tso for the past two years.
She was also mentored by her uncle, Klee Benally who directs Outta
Your Backpack, who co-produced the film with Tso's own company,
Halne'e Productions. Tso's film has garnered screening in over 25
film festivals, winning numerous awards-such as Best Youth Film
of the Year from the Cowichan Aboriginal Film Festival, Best Documentary
Short from the Red Nation Film Festival and Most Innovative Short
from the Eckerd Film Festival. It also won her entrance to the prestigious
Idyllwild Arts Academy, the top school in moving picture studies
for high school students in the country-along with an impressive
second film, by filmmaker Angela Webb, features the life of another
of Tso's mentor/relatives, Radmilla Cody. "Hearing Radmilla"
chronicles the rise and temporary fall of one of the Navajo Nation's
most charismatic personalities.
to Cody, Webb followed her for 11 years, and captured compelling
and often tearful moments of the rise of a bi-racial child, often
teased and ridiculed, through Cody's triumphant crowning as the
46th Miss Navajo Nation in 1997, and her descent at the hands of
nine seconds, a woman is battered," Cody told her audience.
"We talk about change, but we must be the change we want to
who was there with Cody, interviewed other former Miss Navajo Nation
title holders, including the first, Ida Organick and Marilyn Help-Hood,
as well as journalist Marley Shebala, members of her family and
Cody's grandmother, Dorothy Cody, who raised a very special child.
racism that Radmilla Cody experienced from the time she was small
could not have been more poignantly represented by the on-screen
frankness of an uncle, who unabashedly referred to Cody as "Chocolate
the private screening of the film for the family, Cody said that
her uncle tearfully asked for forgiveness for his behavior through
periods of her life. "You had it long ago," Cody told
him. Cody credited and honored her uncle for his honesty and frankness,
and thanked him for his role in the film, which she called very
film skillfully portrays the courage of a young woman who overcame
insurmountable odds to rise and achieve her dream of being one of
the most powerful representatives of the Navajo Nation-and who survived
domestic violence with its external and more importantly, internal
scars. The film chronicles the descent that led Cody into illegal
acts carried out to avoid violence, her indictment and conviction
for failure to report criminal activities and subsequent stay in
a federal prison, and how even this experience made Cody an even
stronger Navajo woman.
her release from prison, Cody has resumed a proud life of service
to her Navajo people-and to abused women throughout the world.
am on a mission to change the term, zhinni," Cody told her
the Navajo word means "black," and is used to describe
Black individuals, Cody said that it has been frequently used as
a racial slur.
wanted to come up with a better name to empower our children of
Black and Navajo ancestry," Cody continued, saying that a medicine
man suggested nahila (sic). "It is a powerful word when used
in ceremony with reverence."
thanked Cody for her honesty and bravery.
don't think the film would be what it is without it," Webb
response to a question from the audience basically asking if she
planned to continue shadowing Cody, Webb was quick to smile.
have no plans to continue filming," she said, and smiled fondly
at Cody who has become her friend.