June 14, 2019, Ganado, AZ-
During the course of the tortuous process of incarceration, known as The Long Walk, white America showed itself to be of two minds, regarding the Dineh (Navajo) people. There was the idea that, by removing Dineh, the resources of the area in which they lived would be available to the “Greater Nation”. President Lincoln also retained the distrust and dislike of First Nations people, which he had carried since his participation in the Indian Wars of 1818-20. He did not have to be cajoled into signing off on this travesty.
In all of this, an even-handed, but not easily-swayed, Dineh leader named Totsohnii Hastiin (“Man of the Big Water”) resisted incarceration, initially, fleeing to the Grand Canyon and living among his paternal relatives, who were Hopi. He learned of his people’s suffering at Fort Wingate, and so surrendered, after a time.
When the Dineh were allowed to return to their traditional homes, by President Andrew Johnson, in 1868, some Euro-American traders, especially those of Spanish or Mexican ancestry, were allowed to approach the First Nations people, to establish trading rights.
One of these was a New Mexico native, John Lorenzo Hubble. He settled with his family in a small Dineh settlement called Pueblo Colorado. There, Chief Totsohnii established a friendship with “Don” Hubble (Don is a Spanish term of respect for a man of means.) In time, the village of Pueblo Colorado became regularly confused with the large town of Pueblo, Colorado. The people chose to rename their village as Ganado, after Chief Totsohnii’s common title, Ganado Mucho (“many cattle”). Both names stuck, and today the great leader is remembered as Ganado Mucho. The village has become a thriving crossroads commercial center.
An essential part of Ganado’s growth has come from the trading post established here, by John Lorenzo Hubble, in 1878. Hubbell lived here with his family and actively encouraged Dineh artisans to sell their jewelry and wool rugs, two trades they had learned from the Spanish and which they had perfected over nearly a century. His trading post became a model for others, throughout the Navajo Nation, and nearby First Nations communities.
Today, Hubbell Trading Post remains a working concern, whilst also being preserved in the National Park System, as a National Historical Site. Here are some scenes of this special establishment. Below, is the side entrance to the Main Trading Post.
On the ceiling of the “Jewelry Room”, one sees baskets of many First Nations, who traded them with Mr; Hubbell and continue to trade with the present-day proprietors.
The cradle board, examples of which are shown below, was essential for Dineh mothers to carry their infants, both during their work in the fields and along the Long Walk. It is still used today, by traditional Dineh women.
In these corrals, the Churro sheep that are so essential to Navajo weaving, as well as for the mutton that is integral to the Dineh diet, are penned. Churro mutton is one of the Heritage Foods, recognized by Slow Food International, in its work to maintain a diversity of foods for the human race.
Horses, also beloved of Dineh, as beasts of burden, are also corralled here.
I got a chance to briefly look inside the home of the Hubbell family, now preserved by the National Park Service.
The unique tree stump carving below, was commissioned by the Hubbell family, as proof of the range of Dineh artistry.
This hogan-like octagonal cottage housed artists who were commissioned by Mr. Hubbell.
The Hubbell family members are buried on this hill, which is off-limits to the public.
The property also shares a Veterans Healing Trail, a serene walk of about 3/4 mile, with the Chapter of Ganado.
It ends at this Peace Tree, on Ganado Chapter property.
This first real effort, at bringing heretofore inimical peoples together, has served as an ongoing example of just how our our interests, both common and divergent, can serve as an example of alternatives to conflict.
NEXT: Canyon de Chelly, As Viewed From the Rims.