Tied to the Post

A spectactular sunset over the Twin Rocks boldly proclaims the color red. In the Navajo tradition, red is the powerful and symbolic color of “The People.” Courtesy photo
Sunrises and sunsets over this high desert country are fabulous at this time of year. They often look as if someone took a match and fired up an entire bank of burners. Ripples of red, orange and yellow dispersed across the heavens warm the bones and afford great satisfaction. The deep red tones...
Chief Posey, Ute leader during the Last Indian War. Photo courtesy Utah State Historical Society, Mike Hurst donor
As a young man growing up in the small southeastern Utah town of Blanding, I often heard the story of Paiute warrior William Posey, and how he sparked the last Indian war in the United States. At the time, we lived on the south end of town, just two blocks from the home of Clarence Rogers, an old-...
The other day I was sitting in my office closing the books for March when I overheard a conversation between Rick Bell and one of our customers. The visitor was probing Rick about certain aspects of Bluff and wanted to get the facts. In addition to his photographic talents, Rick is a historian by...
“How long you gonna wear those?” Jana asked when she noticed I had recently begun wearing three strands of cedar-berry beads around my neck. “I’m not sure,” I responded, knowing full well the look on her face was one of uneasiness, possibly fear. It was obvious she was concerned this seemingly...
The other day I telephoned John Huling to catch up on a few things. John and his wife, Joni, live in Vermont, so we don’t get to see each other much. I first met John maybe 25 years ago, when he and Joni were traveling through the Southwest and happened into the trading post. As I often do with our...
Recently I have been thinking a lot about the trading post and its place in the larger scheme of things. At times, I feel it is simply a brokerage, nothing more than a buyer and seller of local arts and crafts. On other occasions, however, I believe it may be helping the local craftspeople improve...
There are many legends associated with the Twin Rocks, the massive stone towers that soar above the trading post. Over the years, Navajo people have told us countless stories about the spires. These include tales of how the monuments represent the Hero Twins, Monster Slayer and Born for Water; that...
The world of Navajo ritual is complicated and has many twists and turns. As in all cultures, that which is right for one may be wrong for the other. There are general guidelines, however, that help outsiders navigate the landscape. It is with great caution that an individual crosses the line...
It was several years ago, when my knees were still capable of runs longer than across the room to the refrigerator.  As I stepped out into the predawn for my morning jog, I noticed the stars shining in the inky sky, reminding me of Elvis on stage. As I began the journey, Grover, the yellow lab...
It’s time for Rick Bell’s sixth annual Year in Review, and 2021 has been a year to remember (or try to forget). My first career was as a news photographer, and I like to keep a camera handy to record things worth shooting. This year I’ve focused on subjects in Bluff, the Trading Post, and some...

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