By Will Evans
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Additional info for Along Navajo Trails: Recollections of a Trader 1898-1948
A wave of warmth radiates from the potbellied stove, providing welcomed relief from the winter cold. Loosening outer clothing, you sit on a bench and begin to notice details. The stove rests in the middle of the “bull pen,” surrounded by three high, wide counters running along the perimeter of the room. A middleaged man stands behind one of them with his elbows propped against the well-worn boards. His once curly hair is beginning to gray and recede, but his blue eyes have the glint of youth and he is trim for his age.
Then there was that little matter of feeding an undetermined number of relatives, etc. 56 What happened to Mr. Reddy and his ailing wife is unknown. Whether they ever met Evans on an anticipated trip back East was never recorded. Evans’s way of representing the Navajo to the outside world is clear in this correspondence. Having worked out a system of explanations about the efﬁcacy of Navajo ceremonialism, he saw its healing power and did not deny it. Obviously he assumed a Mormon view of the means by which it occurred, working from his own scriptural interpretation and also asserting white racial superiority.
I had taken over the jobs of cook, dishwasher, bed-maker, and trader. During the day business was mildly brisk though the Navajos were afoot. Loneliness, especially in the early evening after their departure, settled down like a pall. Christmas was less than two weeks away, adding to my feelings of isolation. “The Big Snow had taken a terrible toll on Navajo livestock. Many horses died from the cold and lack of forage, which was plentiful but could not be uncovered. Sheep, the main source of meat, lay in pitiful Introduction A ch’í˛˛idii hogan located southwest of Shiprock.