Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

Trading Posts

In America on December 3, 2006 at 1:23 am

Hubbell Trading Post
Hubbell Trading Post

One thing I’ve noticed dealing with a lot of Europeans, and no small number of especially East Coast Americans, is the belief that long ago, Indians died off. It was tragic, cowboys are bad, etc. News of their mortality always comes as something of a surprise to members of the 300+ extant tribes in the United States. I’ve always been interested in Indian cultures because, as a Northwesterner, they’ve always been part of my life, not as history, but as a present-day aspect.

I’ve also for a long time been fascinated by trading posts, especially those on Indian land in the Southwest. One reason is that, unlike the Northwest, those in the Southwest still in large part exist, not as museums, though those exist too, but as active elements of the cultural and economic life of the region.

I’m not sure why I was surprised to find that trading posts, like so many other elements of modern life, are beginning to find their own relationship to electronic communications. A number of them have websites. I thought it would be interesting to assemble a list of trading post sites here. If you know of others, please let me know in the comment field or by emailing me at [blogdinetah at gmail dot com].

Cameron Trading Post
Foutz Trading Post
Goulding’s Trading Post
Hubbell Trading Post
Ice Cave Trading Post
Notah Dineh
Oljato Trading Post
Richardson Trading Post
Shiprock Trading Post
Toadlena Trading Post
Tobe Turpen’s Trading Post
Twin Rocks Trading Post

A project and site called Traders, is quite interesting. It is a collaboration between Northern Arizona University and the United Indian Traders Association to collect materials related to “the traders’ rich and sometimes controversial history” is fascinating reading.

According to the Traders site, “In 1973, the Federal Trade Commission conducted a study of the trading post system on the Navajo reservation to help determine the extent of unfair trade practices by reservation traders. Following the report issued by the FTC, the Bureau of Indian Affairs came out with new regulations that changed the face of trading on the reservations.”

It makes you wonder if there will be any service-oriented trading posts on or near Indian land in another decade. Most of those that are thriving look to be antique and Indian arts dealers, really. I really hope traditional traders, if they exist at all in any numbers, can survive.

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Don’t forget to check out my BlogDinetah Navajo blog aggregator or subscribe to the BlogDinetah feed.

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