Treasures, Treasuries, and Thoughts

I swore I would never do a blog! So much for swearing. I didn't think that I would have much to say or share. I was wrong! I have been so blessed with a wonderful family, loyal friends, sharing colleagues, and the support from so many that I will never run out of topics to write about.

I have opened an on-line store at a place called Etsy (rhymes with Betsy). The items on the left are available for purchase there. These will change from week to week to show you my latest creations. The link to the store is in the upper left corner of this page.

I also have items for sale listed on Art Fire. The link to my Art Fire Studio is

I hope you will visit this blog, my Flickr page ( and my Etsy and/or Art Fire stores often. (

So come along on my Trail of Treasures! It will be a Spirit Journey for me and I invite you to join me on the trip.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Native American Forum Thread: The Anasazi Challenge

We have a Native American Forum Thread on Etsy. The Thread has been on-going since November, 2009. This spring, Kicking Bear, our wise man and mentor suggested that the regular contributors to the thread do a “challenge” on a periodic basis. Everyone loved the idea and our first challenge was begun.

This challenge was in honor of the Cherokee Spring Frog Dance. There were 28 entries in our first challenge: The Walosi (Frog in Cherokee). If you are interested, you may view all of wonderful pieces here:

Now, there are no” prizes” for winning these challenges. While votes are cast, each artist who enters creates their own prize…...stimulation of creative thought, increased knowledge of the topic, and pride in their resulting piece.

The first challenge was such a success that a second challege was presented. The theme for it is “Anasazi, the Ancient Ones".

I have just completed my entry. In order to understand the piece, you need to know a little Anasazi history.

From 1200 B.C. to A.D. 1300 in the Four Corners Area of Southwestern United States lived the Ancient Ones or Anasazi. The name "Anasazi" has come to mean "ancient people," although the word itself is Navajo, meaning "enemy ancestors." The use of the term is offensive to many Native Americans. There remains a great debate as to what these Ancestors should be called.

On a cold December day in 1888 Richard and Al Wetherill and their brother-in-law Charles Mason discovered abandoned Anasazi dwellings. This discovery essentially began the history of archaeology in the American West.

The grandeur and mystery of an ancient city built into a canyon wall, which they called Cliff Palace, brought professional archaeologists from all over the world to the region. Pouring over the sparsely populated Colorado Plateau, they uncovered one of the richest archaeological records on earth. There were literally thousands of largely intact prehistoric stone structures, including granaries, pithouses, cliffhouses, kivas, and watchtowers.

The Anasazi or Ancient Ones had a great society, were talented pottery and jewelry artists, architects, farmers, and built marvelous homes in the cliffs.

And then they disappeared!

Like their name, this disappearance is also a subject of great debate.

One theory is that they were driven away from their cultural centers by a “Great Drought. It is known that a severe drought began in 1130 and lasted for 50 years.

Another theory is that their migration was for religious ideology.

Tree ring study, carbon-14 dating and the study of bones support the enviornmental impact theory. Bones show evidence of malnutrition. The evidence of malnutrition is used as an indicator that they were no longer to produce food in abundance for all.

Most feel that ultimately some combination of climatic change, over population, and perhaps a social or religious crisis led the Anasazi to abandon their spectacular cities in the cliffs at the close of the thirteenth century.

There are many Native American stories handed down through the generations of tremendous migrations away from the pueblos. There are accounts of natural events and recollections of times when the ancestors lived in specific places in the Southwest. All of this oral history is correlated with historical and astrological records, rock art, pieces of pottery, and tree-ring dating.

Through these great efforts there is a high degree of certainty as to which clans built and occupied major sites, when those particular sites were built and when they were abandoned.

But why the inhabitants moved may continue to be a mystery.

This necklace was done as a tribute to the Anasazi or Ancient Ones.

The base is done in gold seed beads to symbolize the golden era of the Anasazi and the respect for this one time rich culture that has been passed to subsequent generations.

The center focal area of the necklace is made from a dense variety of beads to symbolize the glory years of this ancient society teeming with activity and flourishing as a people. Shades of turquoise represent the sky, green represents the fertile land, and purple represents these regal people.

As you move away from the center, there are “bands” of beads that symbolize both the beginning of the migration away from the hub of these ancient cities and the tree banding that has provided information about it.

The areas of the necklace that are less populated with beads and the blank areas represent the migration of the Ancient Ones and their disappearance from the hub of their ancient cities.

At the ends are new “bands” of modern Natives who have not forgotten the ways of the Ancient Ones.

We are contemporary Native Americans who continue to respect the laws of nature. We continue to honor all living things, large or small. We continue to hone our skills and share our knowledge. We give Thanks to these Ancestors, whether they are called Anasazi or The Ancient Ones.

We band together and pray for a better tomorrow. Without this, we, like the once prosperous and talented ancient culture of the Anasazi, could see the world as we know it disappear..... leaving behind only the remnants of what was once a grand society.


MagdaleneJewels said...

Thank you Joni for once again sharing your cultural history, which although is Native American, it is such a part of the history of our own nation here. I will have to read up more on the Anasazi Indians, you have piqued my interest!
Is that beautiful necklace yours, love the symbolism of the positioning of the beads. Beautiful! Let us know when we can vote also.

jstinson said...

MagdaleneJewels, thank you so much for your interest and your kind words. They are much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Joni ! Your Anasazi piece is just magnificent ! WOW
And the write up is uwoduhi and perfect ! YAY Danadaliheliga !!!

Jan said...

I din't mean to be anonymous ( above) what up with that?) It's Meeee Heart =-)

Judy Nolan said...

What an interesting tale, and a lovely tribute to the memory of your ancestors!

Julie G. said...

Joni, that is so very interesting and I so appreciate you sharing that with us. Your piece is beautiful...which isn't surprising.

Jean Levert Hood said...

Joni, what a stunning set! Your pairing the beautiful piece with such wonderful words makes it more special. I thank you for your sharing!

PussDaddy said...

All of them were great. I love that little pony/horse tho.


jstinson said...

Jan, Julie, Judy, Jean, and Pam: For a minute there I thought the comments required one's name to begin with "J". Thanks Pam for breaking the mold...LOL I so appreciate your kind words about this piece. It was a great challenge.

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Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site
Is this possible?