Finding family: Elder Cultural Advisors program offers education, support to Native American students at NAU

| November 29, 2017

NAU student Alex Lano, who is wearing a Jingle dress from the Ojibwe tribe (also a healing/prayer dress), talks with Marina Vasquez about the art of pine needle basket weaving. Vasquez is one of the elders at the Native American Cultural Center.

By Heidi Toth • NAU Communications

Marina Vasquez can talk and weave a basket at the same time, never breaking stride with her needle as she shares stories of her Mayan culture and the ancient art of pine needle basketry.

“Three is the symbol of women in the Mayan culture,” she says as she wraps raffia three times around three pine needles. “And nine is the symbol of life.”

Her basket quickly takes shape; everyone else in the room struggles to hold the wet pine needles in place as they attempt to sew. For Vasquez, a Mayan Indian and an elder at the Native American Cultural Center (NACC) at Northern Arizona University, both the talking and the weaving come naturally. They are two of her greatest tools in sharing her heritage and helping others connect with their own.

…Read the full article HERE

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