Dine' Women Butchers

PhotographerCrystal Ashike
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

The Dine’ meaning “the People.” The Navajo a southwest tribe is a matriarchy society and shepherds. A long time ago, the woman was considered a good wife, if she could butcher a sheep with respect. I did not know what this meant until I witness my elderly relative and eighty year old grandmother gracefully take the sheep’s life. I watched my grandmother's sister prepare her not with tools, but spiritually. She turned the sheep’s neck. I watched the young sheep’s eyes move back into it’s head, not a move from the body or twitch. It was peaceful, skillful and humbling to watch. The sheep is acknowledge as a way of life to the Dine’ and every part of the animals is used feeding a family for days. The wool is hung to dry, cleaned, card, spun, dyed using plants and turned into yarn. Some women use it to create beautiful textile rugs.

Story

The Dine’ meaning “the People.” The Navajo a southwest tribe is a matriarchy society and shepherds. A long time ago, the woman was considered a good wife, if she could butcher a sheep with respect. I did not know what this meant until I witness my elderly relative and eighty year old grandmother gracefully take the sheep’s life. I watched my grandmother's sister prepare her not with tools, but spiritually. She turned the sheep’s neck. I watched the young sheep’s eyes move back into it’s head, not a move from the body or twitch. It was peaceful, skillful and humbling to watch. The sheep is acknowledge as a way of life to the Dine’ and every part of the animals is used feeding a family for days. The wool is hung to dry, cleaned, card, spun, dyed using plants and turned into yarn. Some women use it to create beautiful textile rugs.