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Tsinnie, Orville

Orville Tsinnie (Navajo) lives in Shiprock, New Mexico on the Navajo Reservation. He was born in Tuba City, Arizona in 1943. After attending high school in Tuba City and Chinle, Arizona, he went to the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas to study commercial business. He came back to the Navajo Reservation and landed a job with the Navajo Police Department. He enjoyed the work but after watching an autopsy one day he turned in his weapon and uniform. He then variously worked delivering commodity foods, in a job development program and as Assistant Director of Personnel for the Navajo Nation. After those life experiences, he finally came to silversmithing through family and friends who encouraged him. He has created jewelry since 1970 in traditional, hand-wrought, heavy stampwork, nugget and contemporary designs. Orville has won many awards at the prestigious Santa Fe Indian Market. His jewelry is seen in many collections around the world and is featured in Silver & Stone, Profiles of American Indian Jewelers, by Mark Bahti.


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