Smoki Exhibit with Harvey Leake

Smoki Exhibit with Harvey Leake

Today we were privileged to visit the local Smoki Museum with our neighbor Harvey Leake. He has shared some of his personal artifacts in a special exhibit devoted to his great grandmother Louisa Wade Wetherill, known as Asthon Sosi or Slim Woman among the Navajos. The exhibit, “On the Gleaming Way: Slim Woman and the Kayenta Navajos,” expresses sensitivity to Navajo culture. John Collier, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, wrote in his book On the Gleaming Way:

The Navajos: So poor they are … Yet the note which their life strikes is exuberance and joy, a winning note and the note of the dance and the dancing star. How can so rich a flower bloom in a soil so rocky and nearly waterless? In terms of life, not of goods, it is we who are poor, not the Navajo.

The exhibit spans four walls and includes a large display case. A Wetherill guest register displays original art work by one of the guests. A water basket is displayed adjacent to a picture including it in a book. A woman’s dress and a man’s wearing blanket offer color. We learned that Louisa Wade Wetherill documented extensive Navajo plant lore. We saw a picture of a Navajo sand painting. I wonder what the connections might be with Buddhist sand paintings. Interestingly, this exhibit is sensitive to children visitor’s by catering to themes that might be of interest to them and placing them at the bottom of the display walls. One of the walls uses the theme “Walking in Beauty” and another wall “On the Path of Light.” This special exhibit will be at the Smoki until July 5th.

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