By Will Evans
Will Evans's writings should still discover a unique 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 so much of his fellow investors, he had a robust curiosity in Navajo tradition. the trouble he made to checklist and proportion what he realized definitely used to be strange. He released within the Farmington and New Mexico newspapers and different periodicals, compiling lots of his items right into a publication manuscript. His topics have been Navajos he knew and traded with, their tales of historical occasions similar to the lengthy stroll, and outlines in their tradition as he, an intruder with no educational education, understood it. Evans's writings have been coloured via his fondness for, unusual entry to, and friendships with Navajos, and via who he used to be: a dealer, folks artist, and Mormon. He safely portrayed the operations of a buying and selling submit and knew either the fabric and creative worth of Navajo crafts. His artwork used to be ordinarily encouraged by means of Navajo sandpainting. He appropriated and, doubtless, occasionally misappropriated that sacred artwork to color surfaces and gadgets of all types. As a Mormon, he had specific perspectives of who the Navajos have been and what they believed and was once consultant of a giant category of often-overlooked investors. a lot of the Navajo exchange within the 4 Corners sector 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 heart of that international, Evans used to be an exceptional spokesperson.
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Additional info for Along Navajo Trails: Recollections of a Trader 1898-1948
53 He concluded by saying that he had “followed the Navajos in their religion, their religious legendary history, and their ceremonies during 45 years. ” A week later, Reddy responded. ”54 The contention of Anglo superiority ignored the reality of healing by nature. “There is no doubt but that the Indian Medicine Men have contacted that Higher Power” that only a few whites ever had. Reddy, obviously enamored of Native Americans, next pointed out that “one cannot deceive a real Medicine Man as to one’s thoughts and intents” and that “Indians and other primitive tribes are the original 25 Spiritualists.
He provides detailed context that seems simple and yet creates a vivid impression. For instance, the dialogue between the trader and customer is basic and so slow that the reader begins to feel how time-consuming and elementary these transactions were. A sense of the realities of this workaday environment is clearly related. What follows is context. While Evans often wrote about the dramatic and colorful, his daily life was much more like what is described here. And since these days are now gone forever, the reader can catch a glimpse 37 of yesteryear, when wool and blankets spelled survival for both customer and trader in the Navajo world of the ﬁrst quarter of the twentieth century.
Will stood at a vantage point, seeing that change was inevitable and there was much to be recorded. As author and friend John Stewart MacClary wrote of him, “The ‘intellectual storekeeper’ role does not fully portray the character of the man. Yes, he is a storekeeper. His trading post provides home and livelihood. ”59 In a letter dated October 16, 1938, Evans wrote of his very speciﬁc intentions to preserve the culture. A few months before this, he had taken an old loose-leaf ledger lying around his trading post, had covered the worn leather with muslin, then had drawn on the front a picture of Shiprock and an old Indian woman walking with her dog.