Coming this April Earthaware travels to NE Arizona for work with kids and adults of the Navajo and Hopi Nations: the First Nations of America. Our preliminary intention is to share stories of up to five significant past Earthaware projects done with indigenous cultures and tribes around the world - Jewish and Arab kids working together in Jerusalem, Tibetans Children Exiled to India, Haitians in abject Poverty, "Boat-People" Indonesians forcibly moved off the Ocean and Malaysian youth who escaped from Human Trafficking. These stories are a means for understanding the experiences of others and for seeing the similarities of Human Spirit in all. While these stories are sometimes grim, they all include children coming together to make co-created sculptures from found, local materials with the kids embedding charachter and personality into what they made. They all show how working together creates happiness, new friends and meaningful, shared experiences.
From First Nation tales already heard plus on-going reading and research we see there are many similarities between both the Navajo and the Hopi and many other cultures in terms of ceremony, connection to the Earth, connection to each other and a desire for coming together as One in a Peaceful World. Often there are struggles with the modern world across all these honorable people. Common themes of poverty, need for more education, better health care and historical land/resource management are cross-cultural. We have seen that connecting voices and experiences of people across the great distances that separate them ushers in the day when these issues are not just stories... but Stories of the Past. We ask to listen to the deep, culturally rich knowledge that may be offered by our hosts and ask permission to carry the Navajo and Hopi stories forward in similar fashion to other cultures.
As a part of the experience we also intend to co-create sculptures with the Navajo and Hopi children made with what we find right where we stand, the typical Earthaware thing to do. The form and content of what we make, as always, shall be directed by the people. We hope to work for five weeks across the broad areas of these "Nations inside Nations", offering the Earthaware experiences to numerous Navaho and Hopi schools. In Council with our hosts we will find the appropriate blend of programs that are based in story and tradition while connecting to Great Spirit and Mother Earth in our work.
Our first step is to attend the annual Naataanii 2013 event, April 20 and 21 on Navajo Land, see earthdaynaataanii.com for details. In English this is the "Mother Earth Blessing Way" event. Earthaware has been invited to attend this gathering for Native American Ceremonies, Traditional Song and Dance, Peace Building and Live Music Concerts. Earthaware work in the communities will follow.