Dah iistł’ǫ́ bikéé’ yishááł (My Journey with the Loom)

Lynda Teller Pete

Even before I worked the loom, the loom was working its magic on me.

I grew up watching my older sisters, Barbara and Rosann; my mother, Ruth; and my grandmother, Susie Tom, create masterpieces from the signature earth tones of the Two Grey Hills area of the Navajo Nation.

In the steady beat of their weaving combs, I heard the songs, prayers, and stories of our people. In their efforts to sell and promote their work, I saw the ongoing cost of racial discrimination, economic exploitation, and cultural appropriation. The experiences of my father, Sam, managing the Two Grey Hills Trading Post further informed my understanding of the world and my place in it.

By the time I began to weave, weaving had already begun to shape me.


About the Author

Lynda Teller Pete at Indian Market, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2021. Photo: Tira Howard, courtesy the author.

Lynda Teller Pete (Diné, b. 1958) is an award-winning, fifth-generation weaver, who is best known for using a traditional Two Grey Hills regional style. Instilled in her work from the age of six, when Pete was officially introduced to weaving, is the belief that beauty and harmony should be woven into every rug. Along with her weaving, she collaborates with art centers, guilds, museums, universities, and other venues to educate the public about Diné (Navajo) history and the preservation of Navajo weaving traditions. Together with her sister Barbara Teller Ornelas, she wrote Spider Woman’s Children: Navajo Weavers Today (2018), the first book written about Diné weavers by Diné weavers since the time of Spanish and colonial contacts, as well as How to Weave a Navajo Rug and Other Lessons from Spider Woman (2020). Pete is also the Henry Luce Foundation’s Indigenous Knowledge Fellow (2022–23) and the director of equity and inclusion at the Textile Society of America.