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Heritage Farm Sheep

Posted February 20, 2013. Photo courtesy of ABQ BioPark.

Two or even four horns indicate Navajo-Churro rams’ strength and hardiness. With long, protective top coats and soft, warm undercoats, they don’t require pampering and can withstand extreme climates.

More than 400 years ago, the Navajo acquired sheep from Spanish colonialists who brought the Churros to the Southwest. The Navajo people bred the sheep for resilience and thick coats. Navajo-Churro sheep became important to the Diné economy and culture as sources of fleece and food. However, government-sponsored flock reductions reduced sheep populations in the late 1800s.

The Navajo community successfully maintained small, isolated flocks, and restoration programs began in the 1970s to reestablish the heritage breed. At the Winter Wool Festival, learn how Navajo-Churro sheep are being preserved. Enjoy traditional fiber arts like colcha, and meet “Rambo” and the ewes at the Heritage Farm.

What’s your favorite fiber art? Join the conversation on Facebook.

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