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Smoki Museum opens new exhibit on Saturday

"Slim Woman and Sitsosie."
Courtesy photo/Smoki Museum

"Slim Woman and Sitsosie."

PRESCOTT — The Smoki Museum of Indian Art and Culture will present a new exhibit titled “On the Gleaming Way: The Slim Woman and the Kayenta Navajos” with the opening scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 14, at 1 p.m.

Kayenta, Arizona, is a unique place, not just because of the amazing landscape that surrounds it, but also because of the rich heritage of the many remarkable Navajo people who contributed to its history, said an event news release.

When Louisa Wade Wetherill and her husband, John, came to the area to establish a trading post more than a hundred years ago, they found a community of families who, from outward appearance, were unsophisticated in the ways of the world.

They herded sheep, spent their days in uncomplicated routines, and had few of the material things that modern society considered necessary.

To most outsiders, the residents were relics of the past—people who had not yet learned to appreciate the benefits of modern civilization. Little could they understand that the local populace maintained their traditional lifestyles by choice, and their lifetimes of adventure, challenge, and connection with the real world provided them with insights into nature and human character that could not be learned in any classroom, the release said.

The Navajos gave Louisa Wade Wetherill the name Asthon Sosi, “The Slim Woman,” and their respect for her was matched by her deep respect for their traditions, beliefs, and way of life.

During their decades of mutual friendship, they worked together to preserve the ancient insights they had learned from their elders.

Her records and historic photographs provide a window into an almost-vanished, authentic approach to life that is a powerful antidote to modern artificialities, the release said.

This exhibit is made possible by Museum Trustee, Harvey Leake, great grandson of Louisa Wade Wetherill.

When asked why this exhibit is so important, Mr. Leake said, “Traditional Navajo culture is rich, and modern people have a lot to learn from it.

My great grandmother, ‘Slim Woman’ (Louisa Wade Wetherill) lived with the Navajos all of her adult life. Her perspective provides valuable insights into the wisdom and beauty of the Navajo way of life.”

The exhibit will be on display through July 5.

General admission for adults is $7, senior citizens $6 and students with Id $5. Members and native Americans are free of charge.

Museum hours are weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The museum is located at 147 N. Arizona Ave.

For more information, please contact Cindy Gresser at 928-445-1230 or visit the website: www.smokimuseum.org.

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