Arizona Indian Living Treasures Awards

To Honor the Cultures of Arizona Native American Tribes

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Rita Nuvangyaoma


Rita Nuvangyaoma, from Sipaulovi Village, Second Mesa, is of the Sun Forehead Clan. Born November 10, 1931, Rita is an accomplished maker of coiled baskets and one of a handful of weavers who continue to practice this ancient craft.

Hopi basket makers are considered some of the best in North America; Second Mesa wavers specialize in coiled baskets, wrapping bundles of plant materials with a single piece of yucca.

Beginning as a young woman, Ms. Nuvangyaoma learned to make plaques and baskets in the customary way, from her mother, Alta Seyesnema. She prefers yucca from the Tuba City area and most of her designs portray Hopi symbols, such as kachinas, corn, rain clouds, turtles, and flowers, utilizing only natural dyes.

Ms Nuvangyaoma stopped her education during ninth grade to provide her her family and has depended on coil and basket making as her primary source of income for over half a century. She has shown her work at the Baskets Weavers Show at the Heard Museum and was recognized in 2005 for her Coiled Baskets at the Tuhisma Hopi Art Show in Sedona.

Ms Nuvangyaoma has taught her daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughters to make baskets in the traditional way. She also provides demonstrations of her skilled artwork at her home in Sipaulovi, teaching others so that this art might not be lost.


Previous AILTA Recipients

Alex Seowtewa
Craft: Painter
Tribe: Zuni
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