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The Blanket Weaver, photo by Edward Curtis, public domain

Spider Woman

A Story of Navajo Weavers and Chanters

by Gladys A. Reichard


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Gladys Reichard was born in Bangor, PA on July 17, 1893. She got a B.A. from Swarthmore, then studied under Franz Boas at Columbia University. She taught at Barnard College. Reichard was one of the foremost authorities on the Navajo; she spent 25 years doing research on the Navajo reservation. She eventually learned to speak the complex Navajo language fluently. We are fortunate that this, her ethnography of Navajo weavers and herders, Spider Woman fell into the public domain. In this book, Reichard explores the intersection between the fiber arts, mythology, and sand painting, all told in first person. It succeeds as an ethnographic technical document and, although completely factual, reads like a novel. But this is also significant because it is a woman anthropologist exploring the world of Navajo women, their material and spiritual culture. Reichard died on July 25th, 1955 in Flagstaff, AZ.

Title Page
Table of Contents
Chapter I: White-Sands
Chapter II: Established
Chapter III: Tension
Chapter IV: Sand-Paintings
Chapter V: Sympathy
Chapter VI: Marie Learns to Weave
Chapter VII: Results
Chapter VIII: At the Well
Chapter IX: Taking Counsel
Chapter X: Design
Chapter XI: Rain
Chapter XII: Understanding
Chapter XIII: Self-Reliance
Chapter XIV: Criticism
Chapter XV: Dan
Chapter XVI: Sheep Dipping
Chapter XVII: House Guardian
Chapter XVIII: Wedding
Chapter XIX: Shooting Chant
Chapter XX: Communion of Suffering
Chapter XXI: The Gods Invited
Chapter XXII: The Holy Twins
Chapter XXIII: Sun's House
Chapter XXIV: The Gods Accept
Chapter XXV: Effects
Chapter XXVI: The Kinni's-Sons
Chapter XXVII: Standards
Chapter XXVIII: White-Sands Desolated
Chapter XXIX: War Dance
Chapter XXX: Killing the Ghost
Chapter XXI: Marie's Little Lamb
Chapter XXXII: Tragedy
Chapter XXXIII: Death
Chapter XXXIV: Collecting Plants
Chapter XXXV: Father's Sister
Chapter XXXVI: Degree In Weaving