The Art & Architecture of Twin Arrows (From Twin Arrows website)
O’siyo. It’s taken nearly two years of construction but the Navajo Nation has finally finished the lovely Twin Arrows Casino located in Flagstaff, Arizona, and is having its Grand Opening today! The casino was designed to highlight Navajo culture and features commissioned Navajo artists’ original paintings and other artworks.
“Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, and other Navajo Nation Gaming casinos, were designed to both embody and showcase Navajo art and culture. As a result, no other Indian gaming properties are more fully infused with the art and culture of the Diné people they represent.
The exterior of the building expresses enriched Navajo cultural concepts. The main drive and porte cochere are expressed architecturally as a vertically sweeping, spiraling gesture representing the upward movement of ancestors through the Four Worlds.
A water feature at the entrance reminds the Diné people of the rising waters that motivated the people to move up and seek new worlds to live in.
The Hotel Tower features a dimensional over-scaled weave pattern, suggesting the work of skilled hands; the weaving of baskets, textiles and song. This depicts the concept Yodi: soft goods woven with jewels N’tl’iz.
The texture and lines sweeping over the facade of the lower casino buildings relates to the winds sweeping across the Navajo Nation, bringing life to the Diné.
Upon arriving at the main entrance of the casino, guests enter through a black, textured, stone vestibule — a contemporary abstraction of the First World, a place filled with mist and sound — where the Insect People dwelled.
A custom, shimmering chandelier is the central focus of the rotunda. It symbolically depicts the vertical rise of the people through each world. Handblown black, blue, yellow and white glass rings represent the colors of each world.
Droplets of crystal cascade down through the rings, like water streaming from above. Through the center of the shimmering chandelier, two chrome tubes recall the reeds that were used to enter through the Hard sky of the world…
The ceiling depicts a Diné night sky, representing the stars of the Milky Way in custom, decorative chandeliers. Patterns and forms of architecture throughout the casino depict patterns of silver-working traditions.
The Zenith Steakhouse at Twin Arrows is inspired by high nest features of the Eagle. The Eagle, master of the skies, is a symbol of courage and success. A Hogan ceiling is replicated at the entry way portal, leading to the lounge area.
The Reef Seafood Bar is a tribute to the White Shell Woman and her house in the west on the shimmering water. Colors of blue suggest the beautiful ocean that surrounded her home. A sparkling bar counter has integral white shell embedded within. Metals in soft patinas accent surfaces around the open—action kitchen.” Read more… Be sure to take the virtual tour!
“…Wall features and carpet patterns are abstract patterns based on a zoom in of corn hair and pollen, integral to Diné tradition… artwork is featured throughout the space, depicting which envision the events of the Diyiń Diné (Holy People) created for the people of this world (White World). The artwork will have all guests experience the Hozhó feelings as the murals are viewed.” Description of the Navajo Nation Twin Arrows Casino.
There are many legends about how the Indians learned about the Talking Feather/Talking Stick. Here is one of them…
Long years ago, when gods walked this earth and the land beyond, Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei, were together enjoying the warm summer day. It was a day when the crickets chirrupted in the waving, green grass,when they noticed a figure moving towards them.
As the figure approached closer Kanati said “Look, that woman is crying, what could be the matter?” “I can not imagine why anyone would cry on such a glorious day.” Replied Asgaya Gigagei. “Let’s ask her.”
As the woman drew nearer, they could see her buckskin was decorated with beautiful designs and colors. She carried a bundle filled with leaves, sage, and colorful stones and feathers. They knew immediately this woman was a holy being.
Kanati asked her “Holy mother, why are you crying so?” The woman looked up in wonder, because she had been walking with her head down. “I’m crying because the men of my village are fighting constantly! Each thinks his ideas for leading the tribe is the best!” Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei glanced at one another, in perplexity. “Why, if there are so many good ideas for leading your tribe, why are the men fighting? And why aren’t you and the other members happy!” The poor woman shook her head sadly and replied, “Yes, you are right, the men do have very good ideas, but every man wants to speak his own ideas, and not listen to anyone else. They all shout and scream at one another so loudly, that it frightens the children who run and hide behind their mothers. The women are sad because their husbands come to the house upset and angry. Furthermore, the tribe is suffering, because no one can seem to make a decision.” Just then a beautiful Eagle was soaring overhead, Kanati called out “Brother Eagle, may I have one of your feathers, there are poor humans in desperate need!”
Bother Eagle replied “Yes” and shook himself until a single iridescent, large feather fell to the ground. “Many thanks and Blessings on you” said Kanati. Kanati made secret signs and prayers over the Feather. Asgaya Gigagei helped him with the blessings. Kanati then said to the woman “This is the sacred Talking Father, it holds great power for the one who holds it. Go back to your people, hold this feather up in the air, all who see it will fall silent, and listen to what you have to say. Tell all who listen that from now on, who ever holds this feather, all present within the Circle Council must listen to his words. The feather must then be passed on to the next speaker.”
The woman thanked Kanati and Asgaya Gigagei and hurried back to her village where there was total chaos!. Everyone was talking at once, children were crying, men were screaming at each other. As soon as she held the feather over her head, all became quiet! No one could utter a sound! the holy woman proceeded to give the directions given to her by the gods. She then passed the feather to the first man. He called the Talking Circle together, and each man had his say as he held the feather. From that time on that tribe flourished because they now had direction, and each person could hear and understand what their peers said. The people worked together, to build a great nation. Along the way, they shared the wonders of the Talking Feather with other tribes they met. “And that my friends is the true story of how the Talking Feather came to be!”