Bigfoot Spotted on the Navajo Nation!

The Navajo Indian reservation is home to many amazing creatures.

One of them is called The Howler.  It is a mysterious being believed to have killed dogs and livestock. Elders in the community call these predators Skinwalkers, and others call it the Navajo version of Bigfoot, particularly news people.

The reservation even has a special law enforcement agency that only responds to paranormal reports such as ghosts, witchcraft, UFOs and even Skinwalkers, or if you prefer, Bigfoot.  (Nah, nothing like a Skinwalker…)

 

A Collage of Rare Navajo Indian Photos and Music

Díyín diné’é (The Holy People)

The Diné are ancient people with a multi-textured history and tradition. They believe they were created from Mother Earth and Father Sky. They are a part of the land, a part of their weaving, and a part of their Mother’s beauty.

And, every Indian nation has its unique story of catastrophic contact with the expanding European settlement of the continent.

The Cherokee, Choctaw, and Seminole nations walked a Trail of Tears in 1838 when forcibly removed from their homeland. Tens of thousands of Indigenous people have died in forced “relocations” and environmental desecration that drove them from their homes. General Carleton’s failed utopian agrarian experiment at Bosque Redondo with the Navajos during resettlement, like others, was a disaster.

Like the Cherokees and their “Trail of Tears,” the Navajo experienced their “Long Walk.”

The Navajos were taken from the protection of the four sacred mountains. Many say that the Navajo people ceased to perform many ceremonies during the time of their captivity at Fort Sumner. And, many remembered those four hard years of the “Long Walk” as an event with as much significance to the Navajos as the Civil War was for other Americans.

Twin Rocks is honored to learn from their resilient and humorous spirits and from the beauty they create.

The film uses artwork / firstpeople.us : “The Creation” – Richard Hook “A Navajo Wedding” – Alfredo Rodriguez Photo credit to: Harold Carey Jr. / navajo-arts.com, old-picture.com, Google.

When Coyote Placed the Milky Way

Barry Simpson from Twin Rocks Trading Post asks Navajo Weaver Peggy Black about her latest basket.

When Coyote placed the stars is an important part of the creation story.  He was being naughty, but as is often the case, when Coyote is naughty it turns out working out fine in the end.

Regardless, Coyote is the archetypal trickster!

A Man Who is an Unusual Weaver, Allison Billy

Georgiana Kennedy Simpson from Twin Rocks Trading Post interviews Navajo Rug Weaver Allison Billy.

Allison is one of the few men in Utah, or in any part of the Navajo Nation, who is a weaver.  Traditionally a woman’s art, Allison talks about how he learned (from his grandmother), and when he learned –when he was nine years old.

Allison is a terrific storyteller, and listening to a rare person is always, well, a rare treat.

When a Belt is more than a Belt!

Allison is an extraordinary Navajo artist who lives down near Albuquerque. He goes by his middle name, Snowhawk.

We are overjoyed when he visits, and are blown-away by his art and his technique.

Here he have Steve Simpson, of Twin Rocks, showing us this extraordinary, and one-of-a-kind, piece of wearable art.

The Navajo Sacred Basket and the Basket as Art

Native baskets are made by women, and a few men who lives as women

Baskets are the Province of Women… and a Few Men.

Basketry is generally a woman’s art that is also pursued by the nadle (he-to-she) or men skilled in the arts and lifestyle of both men and women. Basketry is not classified with textile fabrics (yistl’o), but with sewing (nalkhad).

Making baskets is a sacred act – many are used for ceremonial purposes.  Today, there are several amazing artists at Twin Rocks who have created an art form that is a fusion of tradition and cutting-edge contemporary art

Traditionally, while the basket is in progress, the sewer is untouched and avoided by the members of her family. The basket material, too, is placed beyond the immediate reach of the household.  The basketmaking is finished as quickly as possible.  Usually, the craft and art is passed down through women in the family, and learned at a young age.

In days past, if the basketmaking went on too long, sickness and rheumatic stiffness might affect both the wrists and the joints of the sewer.  This was remedied by a singer/medicine man who, in the course of a ceremony, clothed both arms of the patient with the skin of a fawn (bi’yazh).  Then, a hole was broken into the south side of the hogan through which the patient extended her hand and wrist. As soon as the wrist appeared on the outside, her younger sister took it between her teeth, pressing them lightly into the skin.  This removed the stiffness (nasdo’).

There are families of weavers we at Twin Rocks have been honored to work with in their passion to experiment with materials, colors and designs.  What they have created is mind-boggling.  We believe that creating a new art form is also a sacred act, and we applaud these men and women for their vision!

The Passion of Southwest Turquoise

Twin Rocks Trading Post offers the finest in American classic turquoise jewelry

New Burnham Turquoise Bracelet set in a Timeless Design.

Gem quality turquoise used in Native American jewelry is a special passion for us here at Twin Rocks Trading Post.  We search far and wide for the best in natural Southwest American turquoise as well as fine quality specimens of Persian and Chinese turquoise.

Turquoise is identified by the mine it comes from. Twin Rocks’ wide selection of classic American turquoise includes Bisbee, Blue Diamond, Blue Gem, Burnham, Carico Lake, Cripple Creek, Damele, Fox, Kingman, Lone Mountain, Morenci, Number 8, Pilot Mountain, Red Mountain, Royston, Sleeping Beauty, Stenech and Turquoise Mountain.

And, we believe in placing turquoise within classic southwestern jewelry settings.  We work with the best Native Southwest silversmiths and goldsmiths, including Will Denetdale, John Begay Jr., John Yazzie, and Eugene Livingston. We love to see their blasts into the past and their experiments that pull us into the future.  (We also work with outstanding turquoise bead artists Ray Lovato, John Huntress, Bruce Eckhardt and Kai Gallagher.)  Our goal is to offer true Native American turquoise craftsmanship in individually designed jewelry treasures.

If you are looking for unique, high-quality turquoise bracelets, earrings, rings, pendants, necklaces and other beautiful objects crafted in sterling silver and 14k gold, look no further. You will not find a better selection anywhere in the Southwest — that is our promise and our guarantee to you.

While exploring the Southwest, seek out one of the best-kept secrets in the United States: Bluff, UT, and Twin Rocks Trading Post and Gallery. For decades we have built loyal clients, and we all benefit from our strong relationships with local artists.

When you visit, stop by the cafe and put your feet up.  Enjoy the Bluffs. Talk to the locals.  Then come down to the Trading Post and Gallery. Feel the passion of the turquoise, and the love that goes into creating one of the finest collections of Native American arts and crafts.

It’s all about the beauty!

Elegant and Seductive Navajo Pottery

Navajo Pottery is practical and beautiful, making a prize for a collector

Navajo Corn Yei Vase by Kenneth White

The Navajo have made pottery in the Southwest since their arrival here sometime around the 16th century.

But, because people have made pottery since about the beginning of time, it’s a pretty sure bet that they brought pottery with them during their migration. The Navajos made both plain and decorated pottery, and the plain is usually considered to be their old-style.

After the railroads arrived in the Southwest during the 1880’s, the Navajos began weaving more rugs and making less decorated pottery — the rugs were very popular with the travelers who journeyed through our countryside. (No surprise there.  They truly are unsurpassable.)

Today, there’s no need to push your way through a museum to see the old-style pottery. It is still popular today, and you can see fine examples of it at trading posts and galleries.  (At Twin Rocks, we like to consider our collection particularly terrific!)

Navajo pottery is often pear-shaped, conically bottomed, and colored in a reddish brown. It is serviceable and made waterproof by coating it with resin from pinon pine. (Put your nose to the rim and inhale — the smell still lingers, and it is heavenly.) Once the resin permeates the clay, the pot can be placed in hot coals with no loss of the resin or its sealing properties.

The decorations are simple beading or applique. If the pot has the clay beads or fillets, a space or spirit break is included. It might appear as if the potter forgot to include one fillet — no, it is a mystic and intentional part of the design.

Anasazi culture potshards are ground and used as a tempering agent. The pot is built by coiling, shaped by hand with a corn cob and fired in an open pit.  The Wedding Vase, and other styles of vases, are the most popular and they make unique gifts. Navajos also create large jars, but they’re rare — usually the pots are under 12 inches tall.

The love of Navajo pottery has recently surged, a happy event for all. Appliqued decorations include yucca plants, cactus, horned toads, animals, humans, and flowers. Collectors love them, and so do we!

Ellen Meloy — Our Writing Angel of the Four Corners

Favorite Local Writer

Ellen Meloy, Bluff’s Favorite Local Writer — We Miss You.

Author Ellen Meloy lived in Bluff, and she left the earth far too early.

She captured our home here as few other writers have.  And so, why use our words, when we can give you hers about this, our desert home.

“…in the desert there is everything and there is nothing. Stay curious. Know where you are—your biological address. Get to know your neighbors—plants, creatures, who lives there, who died there, who is blessed, cursed, what is absent or in danger or in need of your help. Pay attention to the weather, to what breaks your heart, to what lifts your heart. Write it down.” ~E.M. November 2004

When travelers come into Twin Rocks, they often ask us directions, the history of the land, about Navajo people. They want to know how we can live here, the epicenter of nowhere and everywhere. We should simply print out Ellen’s words and hand them out to our guests.

We could also say that her advice works just as well if you live in New York or L.A.  You are still part of the natural world, and it makes sense to know your heart’s address, no matter where you live.

When researching her last book, she wrote, “…During my recent journeys this history (of land) felt foreign and unnervingly off-the-Map, even as I lived in its heart. Gaze out from the mesa, and you will meet my duplicitous lover. You will see eternity, a desert that like no other place exudes the timelessness of nature as the final arbiter. Scrape off our century, and you will find its usurper, pressed into a nugget of inorganic matter, the single greatest threat to the continuity of life. The history inscribed itself on the Map’s most alarming folios; ignoring it was no way to earn Home.”

Come visit us at Twin Rocks.  Read one of Ellen’s books. Understand that when you come here, you, too, will see eternity. What a blessiing, Ellen.  Thank you for your words.

The Crew at Twin Rocks.