Navajo artist selling narrative jewelry on campus

Anne Buie

Navajo silversmith Andrew Henry is selling his jewelry in Plemmons Student Union this week.

Most of his jewelry tells a story and is based off of his own sketches of Canyon de Chelly, Navajo Nation, Ariz. where he grew up.

In addition to selling jewelry, Henry is also helping to promote a spring semester class through Watauga Global Community called Natives of the Southwest, where students take a hiking trip into Canyon de Chelly and explore Native American reservations.
Henry has acted as a tour guide for the students on the trip for the past several years.

Patience Perry, Assistant Director of WGC, is the current professor of the Natives class.

“I inherited this trip from Peter Reichle, a retired Watauga professor who led it for years,” she said. “Pete built up a close friendship with Andrew Henry and his family over the years.”

Originally, Perry was fascinated solely by the beautiful, natural turquoise of the southwest.

“Then I became just as interested in the culture of the people and the land,” Perry said.

Sophomore health promotion major Annie Greeley went on the trip last spring.

“My favorite part of the trip was camping in Canyon de Chelly with Andrew Henry and seeing what life was like in the canyon,” Greeley said. “I got to see him silversmith. It’s an incredibly meticulous art, but it is beautiful.”

Henry’s jewelry prices range from around $20 to $80. He is selling beaded jewelry made by his wife and children, which start at around $5.

Students who attended last year’s Natives trip will be sitting with Henry at his table, but anyone can join and speak with him.

“It’s in his culture to be quiet, to listen,” Perry said. “I encourage students who want cultural immersion to sit with him and observe with him.”

Thursday is Henry’s last day selling jewelry. He will be at his table in Plemmons Student Union from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Story: EMMA SPECKMAN, Senior A&E Reporter