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Sacred Bear Newsletter

Jimmy Poyer | Navajo

 jimmy poyerJimmy Poyer was born in 1954 in a hogan near where Mexican Water is now in Northeast Arizona. At that time the closest store was the old Teec Nos Pos Trading Post. He went to Teec Nos Pos boarding school until 5th grade then attended Shiprock schools until he graduated in 1973. He went to BYU for two semesters but has never taken any art courses.

For the next 23 years he had a country western band called "The Jim Poyer Band" and even made two recordings for Canyon Records. Jimmy Harrison, a well known Navajo inlayer, played rhythm guitar in his band.

When Jimmy Poyer got real tired of being a musician on the road all the time, the band broke up and he went to work for Jimmy Harrison making jewelry. After two years Jimmy Harrison moved from the Shiprock area to Albuquerque and Jimmy Poyer started making his own line of jewelry.

Jimmy started by experimenting with different color combinations. He likes to see which minerals look good or interesting next to others. He strives for a contemporary look with all natural materials. He figures this must be a natural talent since he was never formally trained although he was heavily influenced by his friend Jimmie Harrison.

In the Man and in his jewelry are traditions that still carry on. Jimmy enjoys being with his family. He and Teresa have six children combined. He likes using a sweat lodge. Their social life includes going to squaw dances and other ceremonies. One of his designs is a bear. I asked him if this design had any special significance and he told me yes.

"Bear to us is like lions are to Africa. He has authority. He is king or president. Deer would be vice president; owl would be treasurer. Bear is the keeper of the mountain. That is his territory. When you go to the mountain you have to ask to go on their sacred homeland."

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