Navajo Indian Weaving Styles

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The people of Navajo discovered how to weave from their neighbors who were the Pueblo Indians, having some help from those who are not Indians as well. Without the help of those who were part of this discovery, this great art might not have been known as the great art it’s recognized for today.

The teachers

According to the natives of Navajo, a deity they revered as the Spider Woman was the one who taught them how to weave. Furthermore, they believed that the first loom in their area was from the sky and that the tools utilized for the weaving process were crystal, sunlight, shells, and lightning. Actually, the fact was that the Pueblo Indians were the ones who taught the Navajo natives how to weave.

Cultivation of cotton

The Pueblo natives who inhabited the Northern part of New Mexico were beginning to cultivate even more cotton in 1300 AD after they learned that cotton was best for weaving. They skillfully applied finger weaving and even learned how to correctly use the back strap loom which even came from the tribes of Mexican India.


Back then, weaving was considered as one of man’s common activities in most pueblos. They continued with the weaving processes in the kiva, which is a ceremonial room. In fact, this ceremonial room is just a cramped space that further revolutionized the invention of the upright loom.

From cotton to wool

When the Spaniards arrived having their Churro sheep back in the sixteenth century made them consider to use wool as their weaving material rather than the usual cotton. The Pueblo Indians were among the first ones to ever start weaving wool instead of cotton. In only a short time, the natives of Navajo got wind of this from their neighbors and started to practice this new technique of weaving as well.

The Pueblo rebellion

There was a rebellion in 1680, and it intensely had great influences on how the local Indians endured their lives. However, weaving still continued to evolve with a lot more patterns.

It was about this time that the plain tapestry method began to be quite famous. Other designs that were popularly used were slanting twills, herringbone, and diamond. With wool, seamstresses could now come up with shirts, shoulder blankets, dresses, belts, hair ties, door hangings, saddle blankets, blankets, and kilts.

From men to women

When weaving was first exercised, many viewed it like it was a man’s work. Actually, back then, the men were the ones who could be found weaving. Now, however, weaving is something a woman does.


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