Dine' Women Butchers

PhotographerCrystal Ashike
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.