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The Power of Foreign Objects

Daisy Taugelchee

As protection from harm, a textile is sometimes woven with an insertion of a foreign object.  This may be a small piece of feather, hairs or a piece of sinew from an animal.  

It is taught that if a  feather falls from a bird in flight and is caught before it touches the ground, the feather becomes a symbol of deliverance and should be woven into a textile.  Hairs from a goat, a bobcat, a bear, shavings of  bear claw, granules of corn and unknown red or black fibers can be woven into a textile.  Items of protection and power are woven into textiles secretly.  The weaver does not want them to be seen easily.  Saddle blankets, for example, can contain a wide array of special items, including a piece of sinew from animals such as cougars, wildcats or even squirrels, whose strength gives the animals added quickness, regardless of size.  

Pollen is considered a very sacred substance and is used ceremonially as an offering to the Holy People in a gesture of supplication and protection.  A knot, often erroneously thought to be where the ends of a broken warp were tied together, usually contains a pinch of pollen and is woven into the textile quite purposefully by the weaver to seek protection from harm.

by Tucson Desert Art Museum