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Teddy Weahkee

Teddy Weahkee (1890-1965) is a profound figure through his jewelry, Zuni fetishes, paintings, and extrinsic boxes. He began his basic education at Phoenix Indian School, then returned back to his Zuni Pueblo land. There he began learning silversmithing after being the only Zuni to volunteer service in World War l. He was self-taught, and became one of the best jewelry influencers with his amazing techniques in the early 1920s. Once he started making jewelry he began selling his work to C.G Wallace and other traders.

Teddy’s inspiration for creating Zuni fetishes sparked when he attended an archaeological excavation at the Hawikuh Pueblo. The pueblo originated in 1400A.D. and is located 12 miles southwest of the Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico. Here is where Teddy learned aboriginal knowledge of the Zuni Pueblo art forms just as his ancestors had created. Still residing in Hawikuh he had met Leekya Deyuse, and they continued the excavations together and became one of the very first artists to create carving figures to be sold out in the world.

Zuni culture will always be seen in Teddy’s artwork, exclusively when he revived the mosaic overlay of shells on wooden ornaments. He also illustrated life with images of Hopi and Plain Indian culture. Many pieces of his work would consist of the natural land around him; including Zuni rock, antlers, and basalt. He then would use turquoise stone, shells, and arrowheads to be wrapped around his fetishes with authentic sinew.

Not only was Teddy a successful artist, he succeeded in other aspects of his life by marrying Cheyenne bead worker Anna Lefthand. Later he and his daughter Edna Leki created fetish pots with turquoise trimmings. He also served time as governor of Zuni Pueblo. But his work goes down in history as being profound in his paintings, silversmith work, mosaic inlays, and Zuni fetishes.