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Dragonfly

Dragonfly

Ask Zunis about "Dragonfly" and they will tell you that Dragonfly is the messenger who carries prayers to the Spirit World.  The double-winged form of Dragonfly is sometimes referred to as the "Pueblo Cross."

Dragonfly is recognized as a sign of water, which is where this remarkable creature lays its eggs.  Where there is Dragonfly, there is water; where there is water, there is life.

Dragonfly is a skilled aerial acrobat and, like the mind, can move quickly in any given direction to accomplish its goal.  Being mindful of Dragonfly can help guide us to our own positive and transcendent goals.  The lovely, often iridescent colors of the wings remind us that the mundane existence that we commonly accept as the only reality may be an illusion.

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Harvey House Style Jewelry

Harvey House Style Jewelry

There is a great story behind the Harvey House Style Jewelry.

As the railroads pushed west in the late 1800’s, there was a demand for more services for the comfort of passengers. Enter entrepreneur Fred Harvey. The Fred Harvey Company established a business relationship with the Santa Fe Railway as it built tracks from Kansas City to Dodge City to Santa Fe to Albuquerque and eventually The Grand Canyon and all the way to Los Angeles. Harvey opened his first depot restaurant in Topeka, Kansas in 1876. By the 1880’s he had contracts that enabled him to set up a series of restaurants known as Harvey Houses every 100 miles along the Santa Fe Railway’s transcontinental route. Some evolved into Hotels. These establishments enabled passengers to get off the train and eat quality food served with the high standards Fred Harvey required. Harvey Houses were a far cry from the stark and exhausting train ride endured by travelers in the beginning days of train travel west.

Fred Harvey and the Santa Fe Railway engaged in a master marketing campaign targeting the natural landscapes and cultural experiences that awaited visitors to the Southwest. The Grand Canyon was the crown jewel of these trips. The railroad built a spur from Williams, Arizona (on the main line of the Santa Fe Railway) to the canyon’s south rim in 1901. The Harvey House grand El Tovar Hotel, which sits right on the rim, opened in 1905. Other tourist related facilities opened soon after.

The Santa Fe Railway also partnered with Fred Harvey to expand its passenger adventures deeper into Pueblo Indian Country with a railroad spur to Santa Fe (North America’s first capital city). The La Fonda Hotel was built by Harvey at the end of the Santa Fe Trail just off the Plaza. Tourists visited the culturally rich area in “Harveycars” on what were called “Indian-Detour Trips”. Pueblos, old Spanish settlements and the rich history of the city of Santa Fe were explored.

Harvey employed and showcased many Indians and their artwork at his hotels. Two of the most famous locations were the Fred Harvey Indian Building adjoining The Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque and Hopi House at the Grand Canyon next to El Tovar. Only Hopi House still stands. Harvey had Native demonstrations of weaving, pottery making and other art forms not only to educate tourists by also to entice them to buy curios made by Indians.

Harvey House Style Jewelry, made by Indians, featured thunderbirds, arrows, Turquoise stones and other designs that were encouraged by Fred Harvey as being “what the tourists wanted”. A whole industry grew up around the Harvey House experience of travelers to the Southwest. Today, Harvey House Style Jewelry of the early to mid-1900’s has become very collectible.

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History of Turquoise

History of Turquoise

Among the Native Americans of the Southwest, Turquoise has historically been used for religious and ornamental purposes. For the Navajos it once passed as currency. Apaches liked to attach a small piece to the bow so that their arrows would fly true. The Zunis of western New Mexico incorporated Turquoise into nearly all aspects of life, from the sacred to the economic. Turquoise has been a part of Zuni religious practice for hundreds of years. Ground Turquoise is often set out as a part of an offering and the stone also adorns ceremonial objects. In Zuni tradition, the rich blue color of the stone symbolizes “the supreme life-giving power,” and fragments of turquoise are used for the eyes of fetishes and co-mingled with sacred corn meal and presented as an offering to masked deities. Most tribes believe that Turquoise brings good fortune and ensures a long and healthful life, hence its age old popularity as a personal ornament.  

In New Mexico, Native Americans for centuries extracted Turquoise from the Cerrillos hills a few miles south of Santa Fe. This was the site of the most extensive prehistoric mining operation in America. As an article of trade, Cerrillos Turquoise found its way into the southeastern United States, northward into Canada and as far south as Mexico and the Mayan homeland. At prehistoric Pueblo Bonito in New Mexico’s Chaco Canyon, archaeologists have recovered some 50,000 pieces of Turquoise, more than half of it in the form of beads.

Turquoise occurs almost exclusively in arid lands. In North America it is most abundant in dry, copper-rich regions of the Southwestern United States (Nevada, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico) where it has been mined aggressively since prehistoric times. Turquoise is found at high elevations and is almost never deeper than 100 feet below the surface of the earth.   In the Southwest, the darker shades of blue and green Turquoise are considered the highest grades. Generally, the deeper and richer the color, the harder the nugget and the more easily it will polish to a high luster, an important determinant of gem quality. In other cultures where Turquoise is mined (such as the Middle East) pale shades of Turquoise command top price.  

“Matrix” is highly prized in Southwestern Turquoise. It might be red, white, black, brown, golden or even lavender and is part of the mother rock that surrounds the Turquoise mineral deposit. There are three basic types of matrix.   The Spiderweb matrix is most prized and resembles highly detailed netting that envelopes the mineral, inside and out. Nevada’s Number 8 Mine, a one-time gold and copper mining operation, has produced one of the most prized spiderweb Turquoise deposits in the world.   Web matrix has a net-like pattern that is less precisely defined than spiderweb, yet its strands are still generally connected.   Matrix Turquoise is the least valuable and most prevalent of the three with random and only occasionally connected veins of minerals running through it.  

(From “The Allure of Turquoise”, New Mexico Magazine)

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Pueblo Tribes

Pueblo Tribes

The spiritual roots that sustain the 19 distinct pueblos of New Mexico (including Kewa “Santo Domingo”, Zuni, Acoma, Sandia, Santa Clara, San Ildefonso, Taos and Isleta among others in Dragonfly’s collection) connect them to the earth and sky, to the wind and water, to the sun and moon and to their ancestors.

The 19 Pueblos of New Mexico are the oldest tribal communities in the U. S. Located primarily in central and northern New Mexico, most Pueblos are within one hour of Albuquerque or Santa Fe. Modern day Pueblo culture evolved largely along the fertile Rio Grande Valley where Pueblo people developed advanced agriculture and animal husbandry. Zuni Pueblo is in western New Mexico close to the Arizona border.

Archeologists theorize that the Pueblo Indian groups began evolving from 12,000 to 30,000 years ago. During this span of time groups of prehistoric Indians wandered throughout what is now New Mexico and the Southwest, some possibly arriving from across the Bering Strait.

Generally, anthropologists believe the Hopi (in Arizona) and Rio Grande Pueblo peoples descend from the ancestral Pueblo culture which built the giant stone structures aligned the the heavens at Chaco Canyon and carved the cliffside caves at Bandelier as well as Mesa Verde and other locations in New Mexico, southern Colorado and eastern Arizona.

Native American spiritual leaders dispute the generalized archaeological theories of their evolution. Elders choose to teach young tribal members that their people evolved from the earth itself and that the people are as specific to their homeland region as the trees and the terrain which also sprouted from the earth.

Despite the loss of land to colonization by the Spanish, Mexican and American governments, the Pueblo Indians remain on their original homelands to this day. They take great care to preserve ancient traditions and languages. Pueblo Indians are well-known for their fine arts and crafts including hand coiled pottery, jewelry, weaving and drums. Annual Pueblo feast days celebrate the Pueblos’ traditional religious calendar and consist of religious dances that personify animals, nature and agricultural cycles to ensure the continuation of Life. Due to centuries of European contact, many Pueblo feast days coincide with days honoring the patron saints of Pueblo Catholic Missions.

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Jewelry Materials

Jewelry Materials

Although Turquoise is the predominant stone associated with Southwestern Native American Jewelry, there are a variety of other stones and shells that are incorporated into designs. Historically, the Ancestral Puebloans of Chaco Canyon traded with tribes from Mexico and even Central America. Shells and parrot feathers have been found in archeological sites across the Southwest. When the reservation system was put into place, Indian Traders began providing artists with materials they thought would enhance the jewelry being made. Today, Native American jewelers have access to an unlimited variety of materials from their local Trader, jewelry supply store and the internet.

Below is a list of the more commonly used stones (other than Turquoise) and shells and their sources:

Abalone — USA
Alabaster — Utah
Amber — Dominican Republic/Burma
Apple Coral — South China Sea
Black Onyx — China
Black Pen Shell — Philippines
Calsilica (Rainbow) — Mexico
Carnelian — China
Coral — Italy/Japan
Dolomite — Utah
Fancy Jasper — Brazil/India
Fossilized Walrus Ivory — Alaska/Siberia
Gaspeite — Australia
Serpentine — USA
Jet — Pennsylvania
Lapis — Afghanistan
Malachite — Australia/South Africa/USA
Melon Shell — Philippines
Ocean Jasper — Australia
Onyx — Mexico
Opal — Australia/Czech/Mexico/USA
Opal (Simulated/Imitation) — Man made Japan
Paua Shell — Philippines
Pearls — Philippines/China/Japan
Picasso Marble — Utah
Pink Agate — China
Pink Coral — Pacific Ocean
Pink Lipped Mussel Shell — USA
Pipestone — Arizona/Minnesota
Red Jasper — Africa
Rhodocrosite — Argentina/Russia/USA
Spiney Oyster Shell — Baja/Pacific Ocean
Sugilite — Africa
Tagua Nut — Central/South American
Tiger’s Eye — Australia/Africa

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Navajo Nation, Urban Outfitters Dispute

Navajo Nation, Urban Outfitters Dispute

Very interesting article about tribal names and cultural themes being used without permission by corporations for merchandising.

 

Things To Know About Navajo Nation, Urban Outfitters Dispute
By Alicia Fonseca, February 3, 2016
AP Mobile

AP FILE - In this Oct. 14, 2015, file photo, purchased items from Urban Outfitters' Navajo line are shown in Tempe, Ariz. The Navajo Nation is suing Urban Outfitters months after the tribe sent a cease and desist letter to the clothing retailer demanding it pull the "Navajo" name from its products. The lawsuit filed late Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016, in U.S. Federal Court in New Mexico alleges trademark infringements and violations of the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP), — The Navajo Nation is seeking potentially millions of dollars from Urban Outfitters Inc. over clothing, jewelry and other merchandise bearing the tribe's name that the popular retailer has sold. The clothing chain will ask a federal judge in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Wednesday to limit how far back in time the tribe can go to seek money over the company's products, which included everything from necklaces, jackets and pants to a flask and underwear with the "Navajo" name. The tribe's lawsuit alleging trademark violations has been working its way through the courts for more than three years. Efforts to settle the case featuring two unlikely foes have failed as the tribe seeks vast sums of money from the company that also owns the Anthropologie and Free People brands.

Here are things to know about the case:

WHAT IS THE TRIBE SEEKING?
The Navajo Nation wants revenue from products sold by Urban Outfitters and its subsidiaries under the "Navajo" name dating back to 2008. The actual amount isn't quantified in court documents, but it could amount to millions of dollars. On some claims, the tribe wants all the profits generated from the Navajo-themed sales. On others, it wants $1,000 per day per item, or three times the profit generated by marketing and retail of products using the name. Urban Outfitters says the tribe deserves nothing from 2008 to when the lawsuit was filed, saying the statute of limitations expired and tribal officials "slept on their alleged rights."

WHAT IS THE BASIS OF THE LAWSUIT?
The tribe's 2012 lawsuit alleges violations of federal and state trademark laws, including the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which makes it illegal to sell arts or crafts in a way to falsely suggest they're made by American Indians. Urban Outfitters says "Navajo" is a generic term for a style or design. The company wants a judge to determine it hasn't infringed upon the tribe's rights and to cancel the tribe's federal trademark registrations.

WHAT IS THE MERCHANDISE IN QUESTION?
The geometric prints popular in clothing often are inspired by Native American designs. Urban Outfitters said it started using the "Navajo" or "Navaho" name on its products and in marketing as early as July 2001, when the fashion trend was in full swing. Its subsidiaries followed suit, with the companies selling cuffs, necklaces, jackets, pants, a flask and panties, among other merchandise. The companies said they quit selling the products after hearing of the tribe's lawsuit. The Navajo Nation holds trademarks on the "Navajo" name for things like clothing, footwear and online retail sales.

NAVAJO POLICING OF TRADEMARKS
The lawsuit against Urban Outfitters is the first such action taken by the tribe in federal court to assert its trademarks. Former Navajo Nation Attorney General Harrison Tsosie has said the tribe twice protested the unauthorized use of "Navajo" before it sued and sent at least four dozen protest letters afterward. The tribe relies on its members and an agreement with a Texas-based company that licenses the "Navajo" name to monitor use of the term and alert the tribal government to possible trademark infringement.

WHAT IS THE NAVAJO NATION?
The Navajo Nation refers both to the tribal government and to the 27,000 square miles that make up the tribe's reservation in Arizona, Utah and New Mexico — the country's largest. About 180,000 of the 300,000 Navajo tribal members live on the reservation. The tribe's population is second only to the Cherokee Nation.

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Leap Of Faith

Leap Of Faith

One of the best things I have ever done is to start this business. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work! I am a one woman band. I travel from Virginia to New Mexico four (4) times a year (someone has to do it!), drive around to the Rio Grande Pueblos, Zuni Pueblo, Gallup, and the Navajo Reservation. I meet with Native jewelers, artists and traders. When I get home I catalogue and label everything. Then I figure out how to display it in the shop. I do all the photography for the website. I manage the products, information and blog for the website. I am the bookkeeper and bill payer. I am the sales person for my customers in the shop and on the web. I take care of all the web orders (packaging and shipping). I answer the phone.

Phew!!!

If it sounds like a lot, it is! BUT, I am surrounded by beauty all day every day. I meet the most interesting, talented artists and customers. I use all of the skills I have learned from my education, employment, non-profit board involvement, travel and personal life journey. Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and shared their knowledge so generously. Especially my husband Jud who has always been supportive of my dreams. I encourage everyone to follow their passion in whatever way you can. It might not make you rich in money but it will enrich your life in ways you never expected. Go ahead and take that leap of faith…….

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Turquoise and Ants

Turquoise and Ants

Ants and Turquoise? I just read the most interesting article in The Allure of Turquoise which was published by New Mexico Magazine. It seems that harvester ants are attracted to Turquoise. They will dig it out and carry it back to their nests! In fact, at Chaco Canyon archeologists started mapping the ant nests at one ruin site in 1976. The two species of harvester ants in New Mexico are avid gatherers of blue and green gem quality natural Turquoise. They don’t seem to care about beads or shells of other colors. The outside of the ant nest and dome is coated with Turquoise fragments like veneer. It’s a problem and an interesting dilemma for archeologists. On the one hand, the ants are carrying away evidence of what went on at a specific Chaco site. On the other, by studying the location of the nests and distances from Chaco’s ruins, archeologists have gained a tremendous amount of information about what happened at Chaco and when. It has enabled researchers to determine where jewelry manufacturing took place in specific ruins. The large volume of Turquoise at the nests has also enabled them to more precisely date when the production took place. I have always been fascinated by Chaco Canyon and its ancient ruins. It’s a hard place to get to but worth the trip. Next time I go I will definitely be looking for those ant hills!

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The Lincoln Canes

The Lincoln Canes

I carry a lot of jewelry from Santo Domingo (Kewa) and other Pueblos along the Rio Grande in New Mexico. The Nineteen Pueblos in New Mexico were built by descendants of Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly and other cliff dwellers starting around 800 A.D. Unlike the nomadic Plains tribes and the government created reservations, the Pueblo people have lived for hundreds of years on their land. When the southwest was under Spanish rule the Pueblos were given land grants.

“New Mexico’s first Indian agent, James S. Calhoun, recognized the special problem created with the push west by settlers as early as 1849. He informed Washington that the industrious Pueblos were model subjects and urged that they be extended voting rights and that their land grants, given by Spain, be protected. The last point was particularly important, because the Indians, holding some of the best-irrigated agricultural lands in the territory, were constantly bothered by trespassers and squatters. The U.S. Surveyor General did confirm original Pueblo grants after 1854, a ruling reaffirmed by Congress. But the duty of the federal government to intervene actively to protect Pueblo Indian lands from encroachment, the policy Spain had pursued, would not be recognized until 1913.

By and large, the Pueblos had to wait until the opening decades of the twentieth century before much notice was taken of them, but Abraham Lincoln offered one small gesture acknowledging their existence in 1863. As early as 1620, the Spanish government had presented silver-tipped canes, or staffs of justice, to the Pueblo Indian governors as a symbol of authority. The canes, carefully preserved, continued to be passed down from one official to another long after Spain had given up her hold on New Mexico. President Lincoln, hearing of the custom and wishing to honor the Pueblos for remaining neutral during the Civil War, prepared a new set of canes, each with a silver crown upon which was engraved the name of the pueblo, the date of 1863, and the signature "A. Lincoln". These gifts were honored alongside the original Spanish staffs. Even today, when the Pueblos inaugurate their governors each January 1, both canes are ceremoniously conveyed to the new officials.”

From: New Mexico Museum of Art Tells New Mexico History: Statehood

There is a wonderful documentary film titled “Canes of Power” that tells the story of Pueblo sovereignty along the Rio Grande. It is at once a fascinating history lesson and a passionate argument for Native Americans’ control over their own destiny. I highly recommend it.

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December 2014 The Holidays!

December 2014  The Holidays!

It's the season of celebration! Lights, music, gifts, food, family and friends. As I sit in my comfortable chair binging on Holiday movies, I wonder what you like best about the season. I especially love the lights. Lights are involved in all the different holidays celebrated this time of year. To me they signify hope and happiness. In Virginia  houses and trees are decorated with hundreds of tiny lights. In the Southwest, the lights are in the form of farolitos or luminarias. These traditional southwestern lights consist of paper bags with a candle placed in sand inside the bag (although electric ones are now available too). They line walkways, rooftops, porches and roads. Christmas in the Southwest is truly magical. Luminarias decorate all the adobe buildings. Trees are lit with tiny lights. The air is crisp and cold. The stars are bright in the dark night sky. It's a magical time for children and adults. Whatever is magical to you this season, embrace it, share it and carry it forward into the new year. Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year! Oh, and if you are lucky enough to be in the Santa Fe area over the holidays, be sure to spend time at a pueblo dance. The pueblos along the Rio Grande from Albuquerque to Taos have traditional deer, buffalo, matachine and other dances that are often open to the considerate public. You won't be disappointed!

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