Along Navajo Trails: Recollections of a Trader 1898-1948 by Will Evans

By Will Evans

Will Evans's writings should still discover a certain area of interest within the small yet major physique of literature from and approximately investors to the Navajos. Evans was once the owner of the Shiprock buying and selling corporation. most likely greater than such a lot of his fellow investors, he had a robust curiosity in Navajo tradition. the trouble he made to list and proportion what he realized definitely was once strange. He released within the Farmington and New Mexico newspapers and different periodicals, compiling a lot of his items right into a ebook manuscript. His topics have been Navajos he knew and traded with, their tales of historical occasions equivalent to the lengthy stroll, and outlines in their tradition as he, an interloper with no educational education, understood it. Evans's writings have been coloured via his fondness for, unusual entry to, and friendships with Navajos, and by means of who he used to be: a dealer, folks artist, and Mormon. He appropriately portrayed the operations of a buying and selling submit and knew either the cloth and creative price of Navajo crafts. His paintings used to be in general encouraged via Navajo sandpainting. He appropriated and, doubtless, occasionally misappropriated that sacred artwork to color surfaces and gadgets of every kind. As a Mormon, he had specific perspectives of who the Navajos have been and what they believed and used to be consultant of a giant type of often-overlooked investors. a lot of the Navajo exchange within the 4 Corners quarter and farther west was once operated by way of Mormons. they'd an important historic function as intermediaries, or agents, among local and eu American peoples during this a part of the West. good attached on the middle of that international, Evans was once a very good spokesperson.

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Sample text

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.

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