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Indigenous Voices of the Colorado Plateau

Navajo Traders

 Indigenous Voices




 Kaibab Paiute

     Code Talkers
     Miss Navajo
     The Long Walk
     Livestock Reduction

 White Mountain Apache

Save the Peaks!

 Merriam Report


The indigenous peoples of the old Southwest might not have cared for Anglo ways, especially when they were forced to learn to use Anglo goods. During their tragic internment at Fort Sumner, New Mexico from 1864 to 1868, Navajos learned to use the tools, clothing, and staple foods of the white world. By the time they signed a peace treaty in 1868, returned to their homeland, and became shepherds, the Navajo had already come to depend on goods that could only be acquired from Anglo merchants.

White traders recognized this opportunity and soon opened trading posts in the Four Corners region of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado. Though the indigenous people were generally peaceful, the white traders still faced many challenges: a harsh and remote land, difficult transportation, and a lack of money among the local populace. The trader became both merchant and banker, often extending credit until a rug was brought in or wool was gathered in the spring. Many Indians used their beautiful silver jewelry for collateral, and pawn became the cornerstone of the trading economy.

Digital Resources
Traders: Voices from the Trading Post
United Indian Traders Association
Babbitt Brothers Trading Company
Day Family

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