Thursday, November 17, 2011

Three People Exercising 1984

New Zuni Wellness Center
34 spin bikes
Zuni Head Start Turkey Dancers

Aerobics Class, Zuni, early 1980's

Today my husband, Bob Wilson, and I drove to the Zuni Reservation for the dedication of the new Zuni Wellness Center.  It meant getting up early and driving for 2 1/2 hours to get there in time for what we thought was the dedication, but in true Zuni fashion, it was really just an arbitrary time which was part of a long day of activities.  We did make it in time to see the the Zuni Head Start kids dance, and we were there for the ribbon cutting, then streamed in with everyone else to see the beautiful new facility.

It was important to us to be there because 26 years ago, as a physician, Bob had been the founder of the Zuni Wellness Center as part of a program to try to do something about the extremely high prevalence of  Type II diabetes in the Zuni population, something that hadn't really existed in Zuni before the 1940's.  Based on the idea that through diet and exercise it might be possible to control diabetes, Bob worked at implementing this program in the Zuni community.  The Zunis took to the program with a passion, and by the time we left, after 8 years in Zuni, there were over 60 aerobics classes every week, not to mention fun-runs and a workout center that Bob and his team had put together.  The Zunis continued to work at staying fit, and this new wellness center was a wonderful tribute to their dedication and passion.

Because of the religious nature of so much of what went on in Zuni, I had to be very careful about what I photographed, never wanting to even have my camera present when there was something going on that was not to be photographed.  However, I was able to photograph the aerobic classes with complete freedom and I did a series of images from those classes.  Today I thought about the Zuni Dances that I couldn't photograph, but could watch, and those aerobic classes(which I could watch and photograph and participate in) that were in some ways so similar: they both were a result of the Zuni People working together in physical and spiritual ways to keep their culture alive and healthy. 

*My Zuni friends told me that currently Zumba is the most popular class.


  1. So cool! Glad you and Bob were able to go... we LOVE our "two people exercising" version! Thanks again for our wonderful wedding present! xoxox

  2. You really have a remarkable ability to recall just what the day looked like, the smells of the place, the energies emanating from them and the sacred nature of the events. It has been a pleasure taking these trips with you as you describe the birthplaces of your images and final paintings. I'm a grateful reader.


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