Appliqué: Sewn shapes on clothing and blankets to create designs and decorations.

Argillite: A soft black carbonaceous shale; termed kwawhlal by the Haida, who have exclusive rights to the only known quarry. It is collected and carried home by the artist, and then carved with a wide variety of tools, including gravers, saws, chisels, gouges, and knives. The argillite is then polished with a mixture of vaseline and graphite in order to achieve a smooth, lustrous quality.

Baker Lake, Nunavut: A hamlet in the Kivalliq Region, in Nunavut on mainland Canada. Baker Lake is also known as Qamani’tuaq.

Baker Lake Printmakers’ Co-Operative/Sanavik Co-Operative: A center to assist in the promotion and creation of art in Nunavut, particularly in Baker Lake. It is dedicated to provide a resource to artists, to educate about printmaking, and to encourage the long term growth of printmaking in Baker Lake.

Black-on-black pottery: A style created by Maria and Julian Martinez in 1919 in which matte designs are created on the polished black background of a pot.

Cape Dorset: A Canadian hamlet in Nunavut, located north of Hudson Bay on the Southwest tip of Baffin Island. The area is called Kinngait (king-ite), meaning “the place of hills” in Inuktitut (Norton 2005). The “cape” is a mountain, part of the Kinngait Range.

Churro sheep: The Spanish introduced Churro sheep to the Diné around four hundred years ago. The natural wool of these sheep varies greatly in color, from white to coppery brown or black and is often blended together to create different neutral shades. In addition to weaving, Diné people use the sheep for milk products and meat. Caring for the sheep is an important part of the weaver’s task. Weaver D.Y. Begay says that it is “part of knowing how to weave” (Bonar 1996, 14).

Closed-stitch: A technique of coiled basket-making in which the coil or warp of the basket is completely covered by tight stitches (Tohono O’odham Community Action).

Coiling: A basket-making technique in which bundles of twigs or grasses are wrapped in a spiral shape and then sewn in place with plant fibers.

Crest: The individual animal figures staggered on Haida poles can be understood as family crests, which signify both one’s tribal lineage and mythological heritage. The Haida were divided into two major social groups, or moieties, called Raven and Eagle. In their culture, only marriages between an Eagle and Raven are allowed, and the couple’s children inherit the crest of their mother. These crests, and “the stories of the natural and supernatural spirits associated with them, form the basis of the imagery in argillite sculpture” (Sheehan 2008,16).

Devil’s Claw (Proboscidea parviflora): An annual plant native to the Southwest; the claws of the mature seedpods are split and used to create the black designs on baskets (USDA NRCS National Plant Data and U.C. Davis Arboretum).

Diné Reservation: The Navajo reservation covers parts of Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. It is the largest reservation in the United States and is home to 180,500 people. The traditional homeland of the Navajo, Dinétah encompasses a much larger land area than the reservation, and is bounded by four sacred mountains including Hesperus Peak, Blanca Peak, Mount Taylor and San Francisco Peak.

Drawing: Initially the preparatory means to printmaking and the foundation of the Cape Dorset graphic arts program since 1959. Now artists like Pootoogook make drawings as an end in itself. Common materials include pencil, colored pencil, felt tip pen and crayon on paper. Its role has been to provide income and independence.

Dyeing: To color wool, weavers harvest and use native plants or synthetic dyes. In the storm pattern rug, none of the wool is dyed with the exception of the red fibers, which are colored with a synthetic analine dye (Winters).

Formline: “A flowing, almost calligraphic line that is continuous throughout the design field,” which “serves to determine the main anatomical features of the creature represented. It incorporates two basic elements–the ovoid and the u-form–and by convention, these must be rendered in a certain fashion. The overall effect of the formline is one of inherent tension, which is encouraged by the continuous flow of the line” (Macnair and Hoover 2002, 15).

Geometric designs: “Late prehistoric and early historical decorative patterns were composed of parallel lines, triangles and rows of small circles or dots, combined in rigidly geometric compositions incised on pottery…” (Sturtevart 1978, 44).

Haida: An American Indian people who live on the Queen Charlotte Islands, Canada, and islands of southern Alaska. Their language belongs to the Na-Dene family. The abundance of natural resources there allowed a highly developed culture. They had permanent villages consisting of cedar-plank longhouses and were known for their woodcarving, including ornate cedar canoes and totem poles. Salmon was their main staple food. They were great traders, and, like other Northwest Indians, they practiced the potlatch ceremony in which prestige was gained by giving gifts. In Alaska they share a tribal government with the Tlingit.

Haida Gwaii: (“Islands of the People”), an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of northern British Columbia, Canada. It is referred to by non-Natives as the “Queen Charlotte Islands.”

Historical Iroquois design: Decoration on pots is usually limited to the collar or neck. The rim of the pot is outlined with horizontal parallel lines. A typical design is structured with a major and secondary motif. The major motif is usually bolder and larger, composed of vertical, oblique, or horizontal parallel lines. The secondary motif is limited and often composed of triangles or rhomboids. The secondary motif can be independent from the major motif and is usually placed in the spaces left by the major motif.

Inuit: Called “the people” in Iniktitut, the Inuit are comprised of the following cultural groups: Mackenzie Delta, Copper, Netsilik, Igluik, Labrador, the Inuit of Arctic Quebec, and Baffin Island (Berlo and Phillips 1998, 139). Annie Pootoogook belongs to the Baffin Island Inuits, a semi-nomadic clan that migrated with the caribou herds and lived off the land. Contact with Europeans in the 1630s and with the Hudson Bay Company in 1913 resulted in famine, poverty, and disease. The Inuit were forced not only into settlements but also to rely on a cash-based economy (Norton 2005).

Inuit Art: Its rich history was based on making clothing (sewing) and carving using animal skins and bone. Printmaking and drawing are borrowed traditions in the Kinngait Co-op, but they are made distinct through Inuit innovations in aesthetic practices and the Inuit response to physical, spiritual and cultural realities.

Jessie Oonark: A famous Canadian Inuit artist who is best known for her wall hangings and prints.

Kinngait Co-operative: First called the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative, it was established in the 1950s as a response to the breakdown of the traditional Inuit economy (hunting and fishing) due to modernization (Berlo 1989, 304). The Co-op provides artists with studio space, materials, and buys their work to promote in the South (Campbell 2007, 16). It retains traditional Inuit community ideals with its limited hierarchy and focus on group effort (Berlo 1989, 304).

Long Walk: From 1863 to 1864, the U.S. government initiated the five-month forced winter march of 8,500 Diné people to a prison camp at Bosque Redondo. The people were imprisoned at the camp for six years before being released.

Napachie Pootoogook (1938-2002): Pitseolak Ashoona’s daughter and Annie’s mother, Napatchie grew up in the transition period of the Inuit community. Along with traditional subjects, she drew scenes of spousal abuse, suicide, and forced marriage (Blodgett 1991, 60-62). Her drawings are a mix of contemporary and traditional styles.

Oneida: A Native American tribe, part of the Iroquois Confederacy. They originally inhabited what is now central New York.

Overlay: Decoration for twined baskets. Overlay slants in the same direction as the rest of the twining.

Pitseolak Ashoona (1904-1983): Annie’s grandmother, Pitseolak was a printmaker and one of the first Inuit women to experiment with the new medium of drawing during the transition from traditional camps to settlement. She made drawings of “the Eskimo way” as permanent records of Inuit life and culture. She used colors to define space and objects (Blodgett 1991, 23, 89).

Printmaking: A medium introduced to Cape Dorset Inuits in the 1950s by James Houston, a Canadian artist and government administrator (Berlo 1989, 295). The skill of carving, traditionally an Inuit male art, was applied to making stonecut prints; the women used their traditional skills of sewing appliqué and artistic modes of pattern, outline and two-dimensional form to make preparatory drawings for printmaking (Berlo 1989, 296).

Schoharie Valley: Researchers from SUNY Albany and the New York State Museum have made recent archeological discoveries of a prehistoric Native American site dating back to between 1500 B.C. and 1500 A.D. The site is located near Schoharie Creek, which is a tributary of the Mohawk River. “The occupants of the Schoharie Valley at that time are generally believed to have been the ancestors to modern Iroquois cultures, including the Mohawk. Remains from that period at the site include numerous hearths, fire cracked rock deposits, storage pits, and post-mold patterns. Artifacts from the site include numerous chipped stone waste flakes, stone tools including projectile points, and pottery sherds” (

Sgraffito: Decoration produced on pottery or ceramic by scratching through a surface of clay or glazing to reveal a different color underneath.

Stonecut print: A variation on the Inuit traditional medium of the woodcut. The image to appear on the paper is uncut while those areas intended to be blank are cut away. The raised area is inked; paper is then placed on it and pressed against soft soapstone native to the Nunavut region.

Storm pattern cosmology: There are many interpretations of the symbolism of the storm pattern design. One explains that the middle square in the design is the center of the earth and the four corner designs of the rug are the four sacred mountains of the Diné homeland. Most interpretations refer to the large diamond-like shapes with extending lines at each end as water bugs, insects that float in puddles after a rain (Winters). Since the artist who created the storm pattern rug in the exhibition is unknown, the meaning she intended to express through the design is beyond the reach of the viewer.

Tohono O’odham: With a name meaning “desert people,” the Tohono O’odham historically “inhabited an enormous area of land in the southwest, extending south to Sonora, Mexico, north to Central Arizona (just north of Phoenix, Arizona), west to the Gulf of California, and east to the San Pedro River” (Tohono O’odham Nation). In the aftermath of colonization, “the U.S.-Mexico border has become ‘an artificial barrier to the freedom of the Tohono O’odham. . . to traverse their lands, impairing their ability to collect foods and materials needed to sustain their culture and to visit family members and traditional sacred sites.’ O’odham members must produce passports and border identification cards to enter into the United States” (Tohono O’odham Nation).

Trading Posts: Trading posts were a site of cultural exchange for many Navajo weavers. Traders such as J.B. Moore promoted designs that were popular among the Euro-American population, and Diné weavers adapted their designs for the purpose of increasing the market value of their works.

Traditional Native American pottery techniques: The traditional Native American technique for constructing pottery begins with the process of gathering clay from Native lands. The pot is then constructed using the coil method in which thin strips of clay are stacked to build the form of the pot. The potter then sands and scrapes the pot, creating a smooth surface. After burnishing the surface of the pot using a smooth stone and slip mixture, the maker then fires it in an outdoor kiln constructed out of wood kindling and cow chips for insulation (Trimble 1987).

Tuba City: The largest community on the Navajo reservation and the central area for development of the storm pattern. The storm pattern rug probably originates from the Tuba city locale (Winters).

Twining: A method of weaving that utilizes two wefts and one warp.

Warp: The vertical component of weaving that provides the main structure of a basket.

Weft: The horizontal component of weaving that crosses over the warp.

Wool and Weaving: The process of weaving begins with the shearing of Churro sheep, whose wool provides the black, white, brown or tan coloring in many woven blankets and rugs. After the wool has been harvested, the weaver cleans and then cards it, using her hands or a rectangular wooden tool with teeth to smooth and separate the fibers. After this, the weaver can dye the wool. Once the wool has been spun using spindles or spinning wheels, it is ready to be woven. The vertical Navajo looms were usually supported by trees or wooden poles, but today looms are often constructed from other materials (Bonar 1996, 20).

Yucca: A member of the agave family, yucca is characterized by its woody stems and spiky leaves. The Tohono O’odham use white, green and banana yucca in the creation of their baskets (Tohono O’odham Community Action; Plant Biology).

Yucca brush: A brush made by chewing a leaf from the yucca plant to expose the fibers.

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