Artist: Sally Black

Materials: Sumac (Rhus trilobata)


Changing Bear Maiden Basket (1995)

Ch’ikę́ę́ Shash Nádleehí (Changing Bear Maiden) became Coyote’s wife, according to this Diné (Navajo) story of dangerous powers and transformations. At one point, distraught over the death of Ma’ii (Coyote), Changing Bear Maiden terrorizes her brothers in the form of a bear. Surrounded by rainbow Yé’ii (Diné gods) in the center of this basket are Coyote and Changing Bear Maiden in both her human and bear forms. Around the outer edge of the basket, in colors representing the four directions, are Changing Bear Maiden’s brothers, each wearing a turquoise necklace. Her brothers, sadly, became victims of her rage. In between the brothers are Squirrel, Otter, and Swallow who each play a part in the story.