As a Diné moccasin maker, Sam Slater has attempted to use his art as a form of researching and sharing Diné history. The initial symbolism of Diné moccasins represents the history of our Emergence into this world and later meanings have been layered on as the art has evolved. In his own family history, they identify the Long Walk as the moment in which their current style of moccasin making--using cowhide and our contemporary pattern--was thoroughly developed. Additionally, the transitions between different materials and styles tell a story of colonization and fierce resistance to external forces. These are the histories that Sam will be sharing by discussing his art and its evolution over the past millennium of Diné migration and survival.
"My signature moccasin style is the typical Navajo low-cut kélchí with fabric piping stitched into the seem between the upper and lower portions. This is an attempt to draw attention to the hidden stitching, which represents lighting, as a way of illuminating the full significance of the moccasin."
Artists in Their Residence is a program at Bosque Redondo Memorial that highlights the art and scholarly work of local Native Americans.
During their residency, each artist or scholar will create a video of themselves demonstrating their craft, which will premiere on the New Mexico Historic Site's page. Viewers will have an opportunity to engage with and ask questions directly to the artist during the premiere!