Grandmothers confront BIA Rangers at Witness Camp May 1999


Statement by Roberta Blackgoat, Dineh Elder, Big Mountain, Arizona
April 14th, 1999

My name is Roberta Blackgoat, I am speaking to you from Thin Rock Mesa, the place where I live, the place where I've been born, and raised, and been taught how to live in this area. For twenty-five years I've been dealing with the government trying to move me off my ancestral lands. My great, great ancestors have been born here, and they've been buried in this area... around here there is a lot of my ancestors graveyard sites. My grandfather had taught me how to care for life on the land in the sacred ways, with the sacred prayers and the sacred songs, and he told me how in the very beginning the world was created and how the Great Spirit was surveyed it for the Dine people in this area, between the Sacred Mountains. Mount Blanca in Colorado. Mount Taylor New Mexico. San Francisco peaks in Arizona, and Mount Hesperus in Colorado. Between these four Sacred Mountains is a room for the Dine people. Where it has been made like a church and way out on the west side, by the San Francisco Peaks, inside the room is our altar...


Roberta Blackgoat, Sovereign Dineh Nation Spokesperson, Elder

Please communicate directly with the people on the land...

Roberta Blackgoat
PO Box 349
Kykotsmovi, AZ 86039

Pauline Whitesinger

Navajo / Dineh Weaving

The art of weaving has been passed down from generation to generation. In the beginning of time, when things were being created by the great spiritual beings, rug weaving was created.

Through our teachings we learned that in those times the only people were the insect people and that we learned to weave from Spider Woman.

The loom was created with it's own sacred songs and prayers. How the loom is set up is very important. Each string that is tied from the loom to the frame, the stick that is used to weave as well as the wool - are all very sacred to the Dineh people.

We mostly make our living through livestock and weaving. Sheep are the very center of our lives. Because the sheep are sacred to the Dineh people, not one part is wasted. We get our bedding from the sheep skin, the meat is for our food and the wool for our weaving.

Each pattern that is made comes from the individual who made the rug and has it's own meaning to that person. It may be telling a story or it may symbolize some sacred part of Mother Earth.

Rug weaving is also a way of taking care of our families. Each rug takes a long time to create. We honor all things. Everything is created by the creator, therefore it is sacred.

-Betty Tso