Mae Tso: Black Mesa Navajo Rug

Seven Generations 2020

Mae Tso
born Mosquito Springs, Arizona; lives Mosquito Springs, Arizona
Black Mesa Navajo Rug
wool and natural dyes
38 x 31 ½ in.
lent by Melanie Yazzie

Melanie Yazzie was gifted this weaving by Diné elder Mae Tso, a Black Mesa elder. Yazzie is a co-founder of the Albuquerque, New Mexico-based, Native liberation organization The Red Nation. Tso designed this pattern to symbolize the complexity of resistance. Born near Big Mountain, in Arizona, she has a first-hand understanding of these complexities, which she experienced as a result of the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute.

When US Public Law 93-531 was passed in 1974, an arbitrary boundary was established down the middle of land sacred to Hopi and Navajo peoples. The boundary divided the area into the Hopi Partitioned Land (HPL) and the Navajo Partitioned Land (NPL). The dispute was over relocation; the law forced one hundred Hopi people and ten to thirteen thousand Navajo to leave their homes. Tso refused to leave her family’s home on the HPL and has been outspoken against relocation, nationally and internationally.