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A unique Navajo pictorial weaving depicting

Native American Church ritual iconography and implements, c. 1960’s-70’s

Ex: Tony Abeyta Collection, Santa Fe

This is one of the most interesting and unique Navajo pictorial weavings that we have ever seen. In our 35-plus years of buying, selling and collecting Navajo weavings this was the first time we have seen this particular subject addressed in this manner through the medium of Navajo weaving. Although we have certainly seen Native American Church artwork and iconography in other artistic mediums such as painting, drawing, wood sculpture and jewelry from other Native American tribes, such as Lakota, Taos and Jemez Pueblo and Apache. Subsequent research has revealed the existence of two other contemporary Navajo weavings with Native American Church iconography in the collection of The Thomas Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of which is pictured below.

The uniqueness of this piece literally screams Museum collection so we hope some of our museum friends and colleagues are listening because we’ll bet you dollars to donuts that you don’t have a piece like this one in your collection with this level of uniqueness, significance, symbolism and meaning.

The Native American Church or so-called “Peyote Religion” originated in The Oklahoma Territory in the late

19th Century after the hallucinogenic cactus Peyote was introduced to the southern Great Plains from Mexico. Today, the NAC is the most widespread indigenous religion among Native Americans in the United States, Canada and Mexico with an estimated 300,000 followers.

“Native American Church”


At bottom left, a contemporary Navajo rug with Native American Church design elements. At right, the ceremonial tipi.

Lower left photo source and © Thomas Gilcrease Museum, Tulsa, OK. Lower right photo source and © Pinterest.

The rituals occur mainly at night and often go on throughout the entire night. They take place in a ceremonial tipi as pictured here and involve the use of Peyote cactus buttons, gourd rattles, ritual staffs, feather fans and medicine feathers all of which are nicely pictured in the textile.

The textile measures 26” in length and is 14” in width and it is very nicely, tightly and evenly woven of

un-dyed Native handspun wool and aniline dyed commercial wools. There are approximately 7-8 warps per inch

and approximately 18-20 wefts per inch. The weaving is in completely excellent original condition with only a

tiny amount of age-appropriate wear. There are no holes and no staining in evidence.

While we do not know the name of the very accomplished Navajo weaver who made it, this piece does have

a somewhat interesting Navajo provenance; it comes to us directly from the personal collection of the

distinguished contemporary Navajo artist, Tony Abeyta (b. 1965).

This unique Navajo weaving is a beautiful and symbolic Native American artistic representation and expression

of the significant religious beliefs and practices of hundreds of thousands of Modern-day Native Americans

in the United States and Canada.

Price $1,450


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At top left, Navajo Grandmothers outside the ceremonial tipi following a Peyote Ceremony, 1972. At top center, Native American Church Peyote Ceremony on Crow Indian Reservation, Montana. At top right, ceremonial tipi. At bottom left, a group of Native American Church ritual impleements. At bottom center, Peyote Cactus. At bottom right, close-up of Peyote Ceremony ritual implements in this textile.

Top left photo source and © Erica Elliott. Top center photo source and © Allen Russell Photography. Top right photo source and © Pinterest.

Lower left photo source and © Native American Church of North America. Lower center photo source and © Getty Images.