In the video: An excerpt of Mr. Platero’s presentation to FMS students and staff, which was as much about silversmithing as it was about teaching and culture. Mr. Platero has taught at Bluffview ES, Heights MS, Mesa View MS, and Farmington HS.
Last week, we had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Mr. Herbert Platero, a local silversmith, and former FMS Navajo language teacher.
Mr. Platero described how he works with his hands and what it means to him and his culture, giving our students a glance into how he views his craft and how he learned it. His advice for learning silversmithing? “Observe, practice, and pay attention,” he said. He also detailed the dedication that his craft requires and the satisfaction of creating something new.
The presentation was part of the wonderful work of our FMS Native American Youth Advisors and covered the history of silversmithing from the early 1850s when it was first introduced to the Navajo people, including how today Navajo silversmiths like Mr. Platero continue to be recognized for their creations using silver and turquoise.
His presentation centered around “ajooba’” or compassion for self, others, and natural surroundings, as well as “hazhó’ó” or being purposeful and mindful about doing what’s best for the individual, and “t’áá hwó ʼájítéego” or only you can do it.
Mr. Platero’s presentation was not just about the history of silversmithing, but about teaching, the value of keeping the language alive, and the importance of maintaining traditions and knowledge.
Want to learn more about “k’é hwiindzin” or acknowledging and respecting clanship/relationship? Want to learn more about “hazhó’ó” or being purposeful and mindful about doing what’s best for the individual? Reach out to our FMS Native American Youth Advisors.
Click here to learn more about Diné Silversmithing.