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Songs from the Loom Activity
based on the book Songs from the Loom A Navajo Girl Learns to Weave by Monty Roessel

Directions: Use your online skills, coupled with your brain power, to answer these questions.

1. The book tells about the life and learning of a Navajo girl today.
How many Diné (Navajo) people are there in the United States today?


Where do many of them live today?


2. Compare your community to Jaclyn's community in Kayenta, Arizona.

Jaclyn's community in Kayenta, Arizona Your Community



















3. Jaclyn's Nali tells her about the history of the Long Walk.
More than 3000 people died when they were forced to walk 250 miles from their homes to Fort Sumner.

If you were to go to visit Jaclyn in the Four Mountains region, how far would you have to walk?


This is not the only time the U.S. Government forced people from their homes. Give two more examples.



4. Dine women have been weaving for centuries. How is the skill passed from one generation to another?



Name a tradition your family passes from one generation to the next.



5. Nali Ruth explains that singing songs and storytelling are intertwined.
Identify a song you know that also tells a story. (Here is a hint - think about a holiday)


How did you learn the song?



6. Watch the Symmetry video

Visit Len Wood's Indian Territory web site

What percentage of the pre 1900 - Medium Size - Navajo Blankets are symmetrical? (Use the site search function.)


Do some exploring of Diné weaving on the web. Are all their weavings symmetrical?

Explain your conclusion.


7. A 3 x 5' rug takes about 350 hours of work (if wool and yarn preparation is also involved),
and longer if plant and mineral dyes are prepared and used.

You are going to make a rug. Decide on a number of hours per day that you plan to work on it.

How many days will it take to complete the project.



This beautiful rug was created by Alice Yazzie, a Navajo weaver. It measures 21" wide x 32" long.
It sold for $780.

Assume the cost of materials is 25% of the price. Use the information in the previous question to calculate...

How much did she earn on an hourly basis?

woven rug navajo


8. Many weavers use geometric shapes in their designs.
Name five shapes that can be found in the rugs and weavings.




9. Jaclyn and Nalí Ruth gather plants to dye the wool.
Employ your Internet research skills to identify three plant materials that are used to dye fabrics and/or wool.




10. There are many decisions to be made when making a woven rug.
Write at least 5 questions a weaver must decide while she plans a rug in her head.



"This is who we are," Nalí Ruth said. "The loom connects me with the sacred mountains,
and a song connects me with my mother."


What is the role of women in Navajo Culture?

Circle of Stories | Weaving in Beauty Textile Tour

Woven by the Grandmothers: 19th Century Navajo Textiles Youtube video

Adopt-A-Native-Elder Program - highest rating at Charity Navigator | Meet Mae Shay a weaver

Is this book an example of narrative, persuasive or informative writing?


All trademarks, copyright and logos belong to their respective owners.

2007 Cynthia J. O'Hora. Released to public domain in honor of all the extraordinary Diné weavers. Posted 10/2007 updated 10/2019

tree icon Save a tree - use a digital answer format - Highlight the text. Copy it. Paste it in a word processing document. Save the document in your folder. Answer on the word processing document in a contrasting color (not yellow) or font (avoid fancy ones like broad, dear). Save frequently as you work. MYO Printed answer sheet.

Aligned to Pennsylvania Academic Standards: Reading, Writing, Speaking; Mathematics, Arts & Humanities; History; Civics and Government; Economics; Career Education & Work