Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Dream Vacation.(Final)

Byline: Story by BARBARA CHAVEZ * Photos by JESSICA MCGOWAN * Of the Journal

A rug weaver from the Navajo Reservation in Arizona gets her wish granted a visit to Albuquerque

Rose Yazzie left her house on the Navajo Reservation wearing jeans and white cowboy boots. A 58-year-old grandmother who herds sheep and weaves rugs in the isolated splendor of Monument Valley, Yazzie wanted to look good for her first overnight trip to Albuquerque.

Soon after arriving, though, she pulled off her boots in favor of a pair of brand new Avia sneakers. The white Avias comfortable and a perfect size 7 were a gift from the Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, which brought Yazzie to town.

If this all sounds a bit out of the ordinary, it is. There was nothing ordinary about Rose Yazzie's trip to Albuquerque last weekend or about the events leading up to it.

The story began on a ferry heading to Seattle from the San Juan Islands on Sept. 1, 2002.

Looking through the Seattle Times as she rode the ferry, Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce president Terri Cole was intrigued by an article about the nation's mood on the approach of the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The article quoted Rose Yazzie, who lives miles from any city or town on the Arizona-Utah border, as saying of the attack, "It is a sad thing, but it is not our world."

Yazzie's world, the Times said, was confined to the red, monument-studded valley that surrounds her traditional Navajo hogan.

She spoke to a reporter through a translator, the Times said, because "she speaks no English and has no desire to learn."

As the ferry plowed along toward Seattle, Terri Cole read one more paragraph. …

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