Lichens Used by Navajo Weavers
Navajos began weaving sometime before Spaniards came to the new world. Juan de Onate introduced Churro sheep to the New World. Their wool took dye easily, and it was perfectly suited for the robes and bedding needed to protect the Navajo from the bitter cold of the desert winter. The dyes used by Navajo weavers then were mostly from plant matter, ranging from tree roots, bark and nuts, to native shrubs, grasses and lichen. A single ground lichen is used by the Navajo as a dyeing agent. It is known formally as Xanthoparmelia chlorochroma.