NAVAJO WEAVER/MEDICINE MAN HOSTEEN KLAH DIED
Born in 1867 at Bear Mountain, near Fort Wingate, New Mexico, Klah is believed to have been an intersexed individual. This may have been why he was trained in weaving by his mother & sister (a female role) and by his uncle in chanting & sandpainting (a male role). Klah mastered at least 8 chants (1 or 2 was normal). By 1917, he was recognized as a Medicine Man. Klah’s sand painting weavings are controversial, not only because a man wove them, but because he was making permanent images of sand paintings from the sacred chants he knew. He claimed that he did this to help preserve the chants. However, he was fearful of upsetting the deities evoked in these permanent images. With close friend Mary Cabot Wheelwright, in 1937, they formed Wheelwright Museum which houses most of his weavings in its collection. Klah died of pneumonia that same year and is buried on the grounds of the Wheelwright Museum.
Source: “Hosteen Klah,” Heard Museum Guild. Retrieved 12/31/2019, http://www.heardguild.org/hosteen-klah/ Photo: Author unknown, Hosteen Klah (source), likely pre-1926. Likely Public Domain, otherwise Fair Use.