Situated Flow: A Few Thoughts on Reweaving Meaning in the Navajo Spirit Pathway

Jill Ahlberg Yohe


This article examines the Navajo weaver’s pathway, or the ch’ihónít’i, a purposeful line woven into many Navajo textiles. Pathways, also called spiritlines, contain layers of significance and meaning in contemporary Navajo life. Drawing upon several years of ethnographic fieldwork, I explore how weavers and Navajo community members use and interpret pathways in various ways. The ch’ihónít’i can enhance and diminish subjective connections between the weaver, her work, and wider worlds, and this particular case study contributes to wider discussions about materiality and the circulation of indigenous aesthetic objects in different social contexts.


Belief Systems; Commerce; Indigenous Art; Market—Art; Material Culture; Materiality; Navajo; North America; Symbolism; United States; Weaving

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