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Will Evans's writings should find a special niche in the small but significant body of literature from and about traders to the Navajos. Evans was the proprietor of the Shiprock Trading Company. Probably more than most of his fellow traders, he had a strong interest in Navajo culture. The effort he made to record and share what he learned certainly was unusual. He published in the Farmington and New Mexico newspapers and other periodicals, compiling many of his pieces into a book manuscript. His subjects were Navajos he knew and traded with, their stories of historic events such as the Long Walk, and descriptions of their culture as he, an outsider without academic training, understood it. Evans's writings were colored by his fondness for, uncommon access to, and friendships with Navajos, and by who he was: a trader, folk artist, and Mormon. He accurately portrayed the operations of a trading post and knew both the material and artistic value of Navajo crafts. His art was mainly inspired by Navajo sandpainting. He appropriated and, no doubt, sometimes misappropriated that sacred art to paint surfaces and objects of all kinds. As a Mormon, he had particular views of who the Navajos were and what they believed and was representative of a large class of often-overlooked traders. Much of the Navajo trade in the Four Corners region and farther west was operated by Mormons. They had a significant historical role as intermediaries, or brokers, between Native and European American peoples in this part of the West. Well connected at the center of that world, Evans was a good spokesperson.
Between 1880 and 1940, Navajo and Ute families and westward-trending Anglos met in the “bullpens” of southwestern trading posts to barter for material goods. As the products of the livestock economy of Navajo culture were exchanged for the merchandise of an industrialized nation, a wealth of cultural knowledge also changed hands. In Both Sides of the Bullpen, Robert S. McPherson reveals the ways that Navajo tradition fundamentally reshaped and defined trading practices in the Four Corners area of southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado. Drawing on oral histories of Native peoples and traders collected over thirty years of research, McPherson explores these interactions from both perspectives, as wool, blankets, and silver crossed the counter in exchange for flour, coffee, and hardware. To succeed, traders had to meet the needs and expectations of their customers, often interpreted through Navajo cultural standards. From the organization of the post building to gift giving, health care and burial services, and a credit system tailored to the Navajo calendar, every feature of the trading post served trader and customer alike. Over time, these posts evolved from ad hoc business ventures or profitable cooperative stores into institutions with a clearly defined set of expectations that followed Navajo traditional practices. Traders spent their days evaluating craft work, learning the financial circumstances of each Native family, following economic trends in the wool and livestock industry back east, and avoiding conflict. In detail and depth, the many voices woven throughout Both Sides of the Bullpen restore an underappreciated era to the history of the American Southwest. They show us that for American Indians and white traders alike in the Four Corners region during the late 1800s and early 1900s, barter was as much a cultural expression as it was an economic necessity.
The Anaasází people left behind marvelous structures, the ruins of which are preserved at Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, and Canyon de Chelly. But what do we know about these people, and how do they relate to Native nations living in the Southwest today? Archaeologists have long studied the American Southwest, but as historian Robert McPherson shows in Viewing the Ancestors, their findings may not tell the whole story. McPherson maintains that combining archaeology with knowledge derived from the oral traditions of the Navajo, Ute, Paiute, and Hopi peoples yields a more complete history. McPherson’s approach to oral tradition reveals evidence that, contrary to the archaeological consensus that these groups did not coexist, the Navajos interacted with their Anaasází neighbors. In addition to examining archaeological literature, McPherson has studied traditional teachings and interviewed Native people to obtain accounts of their history and of the relations between the Anaasází and Athapaskan ancestors of today’s Hopi, Pueblo, and Navajo peoples. Oral history, McPherson points out, tells why things happened. For example, archaeological findings indicate that the Hopi are descended from the Anaasází, but Hopi oral tradition better explains why the ancient Puebloans may have left the Four Corners region: the drought that may have driven the Anaasází away was a symptom of what had gone wrong within the society—a point that few archaeologists could derive from what is found in the ground. An important text for non-Native scholars as well as Native people committed to retaining traditional knowledge, Viewing the Ancestors exemplifies collaboration between the sciences and oral traditions rather than a contest between the two.
The only surviving complete journal of the famous naturalist's American scientific explorations offers details on the plants, animals, and geology of the region, along with observations of the resident Native American tribes and the beginnings of white settlement.
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This book is a joint project of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs and the Utah State Historical Society. It is distributed to the book trade by Utah State University Press. The valleys, mountains, and deserts of Utah have been home to native peoples for thousands of years. Like peoples around the word, Utah's native inhabitants organized themselves in family units, groups, bands, clans, and tribes. Today, six Indian tribes in Utah are recognized as official entities. They include the Northwestern Shoshone, the Goshutes, the Paiutes, the Utes, the White Mesa or Southern Utes, and the Navajos (Dineh). Each tribe has its own government. Tribe members are citizens of Utah and the United States; however, lines of distinction both within the tribes and with the greater society at large have not always been clear. Migration, interaction, war, trade, intermarriage, common threats, and challenges have made relationships and affiliations more fluid than might be expected. In this volume, the editor and authors endeavor to write the history of Utah's first residents from an Indian perspective. An introductory chapter provides an overview of Utah's American Indians and a concluding chapter summarizes the issues and concerns of contemporary Indians and their leaders. Chapters on each of the six tribes look at origin stories, religion, politics, education, folkways, family life, social activities, economic issues, and important events. They provide an introduction to the rich heritage of Utah's native peoples. This book includes chapters by David Begay, Dennis Defa, Clifford Duncan, Ronald Holt, Nancy Maryboy, Robert McPherson, Mae Parry, Gary Tom, and Mary Jane Yazzie. Forrest Cuch was born and raised on the Uintah and Ouray Ute Indian Reservation in northeastern Utah. He graduated from Westminster College in 1973 with a bachelor of arts degree in behavioral sciences. He served as education director for the Ute Indian Tribe from 1973 to 1988. From 1988 to 1994 he was employed by the Wampanoag Tribe in Gay Head, Massachusetts, first as a planner and then as tribal administrator. Since October 1997 he has been director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs.

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