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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

'Hózhó náasha'

My trekking buddy, Rollie Pup

Hózhó náasha - the essence of this is 'life.'

As a southwestern person, my life is rooted in the expression of the my inherited ancestral Diné identity. As a eastern Diné and Hopi woman my language concerns the dialog of the high desert matriarchs of then and now. Everyday live this 'Hózhó náasha' way of being my optimism grows and lingers in my ears so that my life will be in a good way.
Creator God gave us our Indigenous languages, He alone knows our destiny. Everyday I wear my turquoise gems and have prayer to ensure my protection and guidance from above. The modern lives of Indigenous people is a sacred way of living. Collectively we gather in our own tribal communities and survive and exist - this is a blessing.
My current live is lived in gratitude and a quite humbleness. Growing in my adulthood has brought me to a peaceful place. I an content in my space and strong in my acquired knowledge. I know the gifts my Creator gave given to me and I live to 'live' a good life guided by 'Hózhó náasha.'

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Ama' blessings

Hope you were able to enjoy festive blessings with your family on Mother's Day. Our family has always had strong ties to our 'mother's, for our 'Matriarchs' are the people who make our family whole and rich with family blessings.

This year my masani' will be 87 years old. So, we celebrated with her on Mother's Day with a feast of good food. She received many wonderfully colored flowers and card from her loved ones including her children and grandchildren.  I realize what a wonderful gift she is to all of  us. And, that her being in our lives in someway makes us better people.

I captured this image of her (hands) adorned in her cultural jewelry she years daily and her rose gift,
I hope you get a blessing from it and that it tells you a story of our 'matriarchs.'


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Nostalgic Tota' Art Mural

Mural Art in Tota'
Photo by Venaya Yazzie 2017

Its funny how you can live in a place and never really 'see' all it has to offer; visually.

I've lived in my home community for the majority of my life and have always wondered why Tota' does not have more public art or mural art. My community is so rich with talented Dine' artists, from those who paint in the more traditional cultural motifs, to the new-visionary Indigenous art. So, I continue to ask, "Why is there not more mural art?"

This brings me to this post, as I have just found some incredible, and quite nostalgic mural art. This art is quiet wonderful in its depiction of Dine' (Navajo), done in the 1970s era of the Navajo Yei-Bi-Chei motif. I think what I really like about this mural is the pure linear 'crispness' of the images, and too the mix of good colors.

Seeing this mural gives me hope and inspires me to seek out funding for such art. As a visual artist, I feel it is my duty to be vigilant and speak up and about the Arts, especially Indigenous art.

This art hives me hope.


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Past and present matriarchs

The hands of my maternal grandmother Jane
Photo by Venaya Yazzie

As an Indigenous southwest desert woman, my language, my art, my daily rituals are rooted in the ways of my past and present matriarchs. I am them and they are me.  The modern existence of the Indigenous person is a sacred thing, we should all recognize this and send our gratefulness to our Creator God in our prayers.  This is the way we are to continue our existence in the 21st century and beyond, through gratitude and prayer.

As an adult, I realize how very blessed I am to have been born and raised among the many Dine' woman of my mother' s side of the family. I grew up in two households, that of my great grandmother Louise and also the home of my maternal grandmother Jane. My childhood was chaotic at times, but mostly it was full of the rich Navajo language and strong-willed, artistic, independent women and men.

Today I sat across from my ma'sani Jane (who raised me up as her own child) and I seen and felt the 'Beauty' of her way radiating from her.  In her hands alone she was a tangible example of our Dine' philosophy of  'Beautyway.' I know how blessed I am to have her in my life, she makes my life fuller and brighter.  Creator God has a plan for each and everyone of us, He knows our needs and makes a road for us to travel, one that has many things to teach us and help us to understand His ways.

I am blessed in this way.  To be able to be a caregiver for my ma'sani is good medicine. I look forward to each day I spend with her, and look forward to what history, or joke or just a smile she will gladly and freely share with me.

In a society that does not have much respect for the elderly, I know that much of my family is respectful to ways of the Navajo elder. This act of compassion and empathy for the Navajo elder in our lives is a way of de-colonization.  We as Indigenous people must carry on and perpetuate the old ways of our People, and care for our elders when they are in their 'golden' years.

Go hug your elder today! Tell them how much they are appreciated and loved.

Be Blessed in All your Ways.

Monday, April 17, 2017

My current works on paper

My current works on paper

Amidst a plethora of "WIP."

If you are not familiar with the acronym "WIP" it refers to the usual artist or creative-type as "work in progress" in reference to the perpetuation of their art piece(s).

I am in this state, as I am in preparation of upcoming summer Indigenous Art Markets. This image I one of many of my works I am in progress of. I have been working with diverse papers including archival types such as Arches and Cansons artist papers.

I am happy about this current state I am in.  I feel so very blessed.

Blessings in all things.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Indi.Ear Design Creation

Indi.Ear design creation
Photo by Venaya Yazzie

Happy to present my newest Indi.Ear design creation.

These earrings are inspired by the mosaic-style of jewelry making of my Hopi ancestors.
The ways of my ancestors lead to much trade with other tribal groups in Mexico and the southern California Baha region near the Pacific ocean.

From that ancient commerce the high desert ancestors traded fine shell products, jet, turquoise, jade and feathers. They were thus inspired to make grand Indigenous items for personal adornment purposes. This history of jewelry-making and trade is monumental and talks volumes of human interaction by the People of the desert and of the ocean lands. Their narrative of the past continually inspires me.

These earring adornments are my news creation, and I am pleased with them, and the balance they speak.

They are available on my store site:


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Metamorphasis of my Yazzgrl Art

Original Mixed Media Art (Diptych) by New Mexico artist, Venaya Yazzie
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2017 Venaya Yazzie

My art has changed through the years. I started doing art markets as a "real" artist in 1996 - about one year after I graduate from the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

While a student at IAIA I was enroled in the Two-Dimensional Arts Program where I studied Photograpy. I worked with great Indigenous photographers as my instructors including Larry Mc Neal and Delilia Martinez, a Chicana photographer.

I never took a painting class while at IAIA, but instead painted after hours in the rustic art studios with friends who were painters.  I had a great mentor after I graduated from IAIA. He was and is a metal artist, and it is he who helped guide me and teach me the 'ropes' of what selling my art meant.

It has taken many years to get where I am now, I did all the hard work in establishing myself as a Dine'/Hopi Indigenous Woman Artist.  The task of finding my place in the Indigenous art world was tough, but I did it and I am still going steadfast.

This is one example of my mixed media art pieces. I have always adored the old historical photographs of my desert southwest people, and so it was easy for me to take inspiration from such strong matriarchal icons.

More of my work can be view at:

We are 'Beautyway'

Young Diné girl
Photo by Venaya Yazzie

I have been blessed to have presented my young cousin not only with a Diné (Navajo) woman’s cultural adornment item, but also to share with her the story of the Diné woman’s tsiiyaal (women’s traditional hair bundle) – and her therefore, her first tsii’tłóó (women’s hair tie).

On that day, my cousin was asking questions about the “hair buns” that I paint in my art subjects. At that time I knew it was Creator giving me a sign to share cultural knowledge with her. At that very moment, she was presented with the sacred item, and the embued cultural narrative of the women’s hair tie and style of hair bundle. At that time I carefully brushed, folded and wrapped her hair she embodied what we as Diné express as ‘Beautyway’ – which concerns the Dinéway of being ‘in balance.’ In essence, I think believe this act of Indigenous Adornment practices is an act of decolonizing from the ways of mainstream society.

In the Dinéway of living, existing, the woman culturally has a sustained and deep-rooted role in our southwestern desert society.  Again, gender has everything to do with our desert cultural teachings and ways. It is a direct line of life from our Creator.  As an artist and cultural educator, I have been able to speak to younger generations of desert girls and women about the importance of our collective roles as ‘matriarchs’ in our communities and families.

In the stories of Diné origin, the Diné woman was the first human to be ‘created.’ In this Fourth World, the female was the nurturer and great empathy and compassion for all living things. And, to this day much of what concerns Diné women’s culture and societies is about asserting the voices and knowledge of the female.  But, this act is not acted or done in a disrespectful way toward the male counterpart, instead it is to be expressed in a respectful, balanced way.  Which brings me to this, that the concept of assertiveness in Diné women has not a thing to do with the alien Euro-American concept of feminism.  For such philosophy of “women’s power” and “women’s struggle” are apart from the rich-rooted history of desert women.  Our cultural desert women’s narrative is much, much more than such a Euro-American perspective.

As for my sharing of cultural women’s knowledge with my young cousin, I tell these stories of origin, and of women’s items so they will be instilled in her mind and spirit.  Once she hears the beauty of our oral histories, she will ingest the goodness of what we call ‘hozho.’

The importance of cultural teachings to our young Indigenous girls and teens is vital to ensure the state of the tribal matriarch. Recently I have come to see a deficit in the cultural teachings of Diné epistemology – even in our own tribal school systems. Sadly, our young women are not learning about the ways of our ancestral desert women’s roles – for our Diné culture has been so colonized so that many of the Navajo mothers have not idea of what this concept is. So I see a plethora of lost, disoriented young ones wandering the chaos of modern American pop culture.

I have worked within many urban, rural and bordertown classrooms, and I fell it is the richest blessings I could ever have.  And I have seen how many of the young Diné girls are looking for guidance, anyone who would mentor them and answer their questions.  To ensure this would be the case for my cousin, I took initiative and just spoke.  I took it upon my shoulders to present her with a women’s tool of Diné girlhood/womenhod so she would find her way on the path of Diné Beautyway.  So she would be able to see the world presented before her as she grows and learns.  This is love.  For me, the sharing of Diné cultural knowledge is showing and extending compassion/empathy, 'jooba', for our female youth.

I hope you are inspired by this expression and story, I hope you will find ways to inspire, empower and set the ‘Beautyway’ for the women in our circle.

Blessings All Around.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Indi.Ears/ Necklace Designs

Indi.Ears/ Necklace Designs
Photo courtesy of artist, Venaya Yazzie

Today I post a image of a recent necklace pendant I completed.

I call this series of jewelry my Indi.Ears/ Necklace Designs. The items include earrings, pendents and other wearable art. They are all inspired by the Southwestern cultural iconic women and various materials used often by both Navajo and Pueblo people who make jewelry, but also who use such items for ceremonial purposes. 

These items are made using a wood piece base. The imagery depicted on each piece celebrates either a Navajo, Pueblo or Apache woman historical image. I have always adored looking and studying such historical images, especially to gazed at their 'indigenous adornment' status.

Once I have settled on an image I then choose the additional materials to add to the piece. I use various cultural materials such as: abalone shell, heishe shell beads, turquoise, coral, jet among other items. Each jewelry piece has a grand narrative behind it.

If you would like to view more of my Indi.Ears/ Necklace Designs please visit my online gallery and store at: