Tied to the Post

Historic Horses of the Sun Navjo basket by Lorraine Black
No matter where you travel on the vast Navajo Nation horses run wild. There are old ones, young ones, big ones, and small ones, but almost never are there fat, healthy-looking animals on the range. I have often wondered how they survive in this difficult environment, where there seems precious...
Jana, Pearl, Opal, and I frequently watch the news in the early mornings before we leave the house for work; Jana to train budding artists at Whitehorse High School, and Pearl, Opal, and I to entertain guests at Twin Rocks Trading Post. While there are some uplifting stories, much of the today’s...
Pearl and Opal are the darlings of Twin Rocks Trading Post in Bluff.  Courtesy photo
The other day Priscilla had had enough. “Aaugh,” she muttered loudly, sounding a lot like Charlie Brown. I half expected her to follow up with, “Rats!” “Whaaaat?” I inquired from the safety of my office. It’s never a good idea to get sideways with Priscilla, so I remained seated and didn’t venture...
A Navajo coiled basket. Courtesy photo
The first time I felt the tug of a spiral was in the late 1970s, when I was still in college. The object of my attention was the Spiral Jetty, a land art installation designed and built by American sculptor Robert Smithson. Completed almost 55 years ago, the Jetty, located on the northeastern shore...
A 2020 survey of Bluff residents found that, on average, we are over 68 years of age. Although there are only about 250 citizens in town, that still adds up to a lot of years. This finding has led to many wisecracks about memory, or the lack thereof, in our community. I would relate a few of the...
It was a winter afternoon, and the sun was beginning to fade. Late February light in Bluff is stunning, so I was sitting in my office staring absently out the picture windows when I heard a car come to a sudden halt in the gravel parking lot. The driver apparently overshot his or her intended mark...
The cityscapes of New York, London, and Paris are woven into the exquisite basketry of local artist Chris Johnson. Courtesy photo
Over the 35 years Twin Rocks Trading Post has been working with the Monument Valley Navajo basket makers, Chris Johnson has emerged as one of the best. Chris is a full-time shepherd, so during any given year he will produce only a few baskets. When he arrives at the trading post, however, you can...
The incredible beauty of Comb Ridge, a few miles west of Bluff. Courtesy photo
It’s time again for Rick Bell’s annual year in review, a photographer’s look at life in and around Bluff. Some folks say Bluff is the middle of nowhere, at Twin Rocks Trading Post we think it is the center of the universe. We are in the bull’s eye of an amazing array of fascinating places. All...
 A beautiful weaved basket featuring a spider in the design. Steve Simpson photo
It is Thanksgiving, and Grange and his friend Abbey will be visiting over the holiday. Consequently, I was reminded of a time several years back. It was long, long ago that I took Grange to Bluff Elementary School to conclude his Student Education Plan. Every year, parents convened with their child...
The Fair Trade mural by Brad Goodell located at Twin Rocks Trading Post Steve Simpson photo
For me, the catastrophe started innocently enough, but the Native American woman involved in the incident didn’t see it that way.  She viewed it as a deliberate act of racism, one that was all too familiar to her and one that was fully expected from a trading post operator. It began around mid-...

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San Juan Record

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