Weaving Worlds

Bennie Klain

2007, 56:40 minutes, colour, English subtitles, also available Closed Captioned


Weaving Worlds offers a fresh perspective on past and current dilemmas facing Indigenous artists by emphasizing the untold, personal stories of Navajo weavers. The film explores their interdependent relationship with Reservation traders, their hidden stories of artistic appropriation and economic subjugation, and follows them as they maintain pride and cultural vitality through creating their textiles and “reweaving the world.”

Weaving Worlds emphasizes the personal stories of Navajo weavers to illustrate how the past resonates in today’s practices. The film forefronts these once voiceless weavers to reveal a hidden history of artistic appropriation, global wool markets, and the struggle for cultural continuity. Yet through it all they maintain a deep sense of pride through creating their textiles. In Navajo we call it Nahadzáán Hadilhneeh, or “reweaving the world.” This is the true underlying theme of our story.

Our story is based on the personalities and characters involved in making and selling Navajo rugs, and bridging these diverse voices in order to understand the present state of the wool market economy and Indigenous artisans globally. Viewers will see how the historic textiles of the past are being recycled in high-end collector’s markets, devaluing the contemporary rugs woven by Helen and other weavers. In addition, the historic Navajo patterns such as Two Grey Hills, lack copyright protection because the geometric designs are held in the public domain. These themes are reflected in the stories told by the weavers and traders themselves.

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