Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Indigenous Peoples in Special Collections and Archives

Available Resources

 

 

 

Please click on any of the topics in this menu bar for access to focused resources in Special Collections and Archives (SCA) related to the Navajo/Diné.

Click Here for access to all inventories of unique primary source collections in SCA related to the Navajo/Diné

Click Here for access to any selected digitized materials SCA collections related to the Navajo/Diné

Click Here for all available Navajo/Diné resources in Cline Library's main catalog

 

 

 

 

 

Other Resources

ETHNOGRAPHY

A subset of cultural anthropology concerned with the study of contemporary cultures through first-hand observations.

Courtesy the Archaeology & Evolution Glossary (archaeologyinfo.com)

A significant number of collections in Special Collections and Archives are created as the by-product of casual or formal observation of communities by those outside the community. Sometimes these observances are undertaken at the request of the community, or after formal arrangements are made to have this documentation made. In general, however, these records are not created collaboratively with the source community. 

 

Materials Created by Indigenous People

One collection created actively with Navajo collaboration is the Southwestern Navajo Reservation Trade Relationships: the Navajo Perspective Oral Histories collection. Another oral history project was done by James Biglin (Southwestern Behavioral Institute), where Indigenous parenting perspectives on education were asked of interviewees.

 

Pioneering and Tourism

Numerous members of the Grand Canyon Pioneers Society, Inc. photographed or researched life on the Navajo reservation. Frequent visitors to the Southwest, including Alexander Brownlee, Thomas Noble, Jr., Betty Quayle, Marcelin and Lillian Vorih, and Zane Grey came through the area in the 20th century and documented numerous aspects of Navajo life. William "Wully" Wares came through the Southwest once in 1936 and made a number of observations about the Navajo then. Bert Lauzon and his family immigrated to the United States/Arizona from Canada in the late 1800s. Ellsworth Schnebly and his family were early pioneers in the Sedona area in the early 1900s. Hosea George Greenhaw came out to Arizona territory in 1868; he and his family documented much about their new surroundings, particularly in the early 20th century. William Walker arrived in Flagstaff in the early 1900s and documented much about his new environment. While recovering from tuberculosis in Colorado in the early 1900s, Oliver Heywood Haslam photographed the people and places of the region. Collector Fred Bohle created a photo album of the people and places of the region in the early 1900s. Lowell Observatory's Carl O. Lampland collected postcards from the region. Activist Ammon Hennacy collected some documentation about the Navajo. Rancher Lilo Perrin took pictures of Navajo people as part of his family's ranching activities in early-middle 20th century.

Mapping projects, such as those found in SCA's Historical Geography Maps, highlighted cultural aspects of life among the Navajo.

 

Documentation Assembled or Created at NAU

Special Collections and Archives has gathered a large number of smaller collections in to one; several of these smaller collections pertain to documenting the Navajo. Some images were purchased with an endowment from Platt Cline, the namesake of the NAU library. NAU Math professor and avid Grand Canyon hiker Harvey Butchart collected materials related to Navajo history and culture, while student Alta Anne Smith documented much of her life while in Northern Arizona in the early 1900s. Librarian Robert Coody amalgamated many materials focused on New Age topics, including research on Navajo culture. Bruce Henry Hooper, another library employee researched many aspects of the region, and collected a number of historic resources. Special Collections and Archives assembled documentation when it was creating its 2003 Fire on the Plateau exhibit.

 

Anthropological and Archaeological Activities

Archaeological surveys in the early 1900s, such as one photographed by Stuart M. Young, James J. Hanks, also included documentation about the Navajo people living there. Anthropologists feature prominently in SCA collections, and include documentation and photographs taken by Robert C. Euler, Charles Hoffman, John McGregor, notes taken and collected by A.F. Whiting, and research done at NAU's Social Research Laboratory.

 

The Impact of Trading Posts

Traders (and their families) working in trading posts on the Navajo reservation, including Mary May Bailey, Elijah Blair, the Warren Family, the Day Family, Frank Staplin, Grace and Charles Herring, Vest Robinson, Billie Yost, Edward T. Kerley, the Foutz Family, Richard Max Bruchman, and Tobe Turpen had regular interactions with the Navajo. Harold F. Osborne researched and wrote about life at the Gouldings Trading Post.

 

Health and Religious Professionals

Medical professionals, such as Marie Olson, Florence Barker, Dorothea C. and Alexander Leighton (who also conducted formal research as psychiatrists), Virginia Brown, Ida Bahl, and Lillian Watson, Veronica Evaneshko, and Dr. John Graffin were all employed in the medical field on the Navajo reservation as part of their careers.

Missionaries and their families, including Philip Johnston (famous for coordinating efforts with the Navajo Code Talkers) and Alwin Girdner were present on the Navajo reservation.

 

Scientists and other Professionals

Grand Canyon National Park naturalist/geologist Eddie McKee and his wife Barbara documented cultures across the Southwest (he also did some research on his own), while range scientist and active environmentalist Don Lyngholm led trips to the Navajo reservation. Environmental journalist Catherine Fehr-Elston researched and wrote extensively about Southwest cultures and politics.

Attorney Perry Ling photographed Navajos at Lake Mary in 1945.

 

Professional Photographers and Artists

Professional photographers John Running, Emery and Ellsworth Kolb, Bob Fronske, Edward Dawson, William G. Bass, Tad Nichols (also a significant filmmaker), Sue Bennett, Bill Belknap, Josef Muench, Dorothy and Lowell Weeks, and Parker and Hildegard Hamilton all photographed the Navajo, often as a specific lifelong passion.

Artist and author Jo Mora lived among the Hopi and Navajo in the early 1900s.

 

Organizations and Businesses

Organizations, such as the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce  acquired documentation on Navajo life and culture, while the Fred Harvey Company (including defacto organizational historian Carol Naille) featured Navajo people as employees and entertainment for tourists and retained documentation on many Indigenous communities. The Arizona Wool Growers Association also kept files on the Navajo.

 

Government Perspectives

John Wesley Powell images from the USGS include mid-1800s looks at Navajo clothing. Indian Agent Leo Crane worked with the Navajo in the early 1900s, while Arizona politician Sam Steiger kept files on the Navajo while in office. The National Park Service maintained files related to the relationship between the Navajo and Rainbow Bridge National Monument, as well as created an oral history project with Walnut Canyon National Monument.

 

Pow-Wow

The Flagstaff All-Indian Pow-wow and Navajo participants and attendees were photographed and/or documented by staff with the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Daily Sun (clippings as well as photographs), as well as through photographers John Running, Bob Fronske, Edward Dawson, and Woodrow Reiff (including film footage). It was also documented through the committee organizing the event itself.

 

Media Perspectives

Journalist Leslie Goodluck documented aspects of Navajo culture in her role as acting editor of the Navajo Times, while publishers for Desert Magazine and the Arizona Daily Sun kept clippings files and photographic files from past publications.

 

River Runners

Boatman and researcher P.T. Reilly, Fred Eiseman, Norm Nevills, Georgie Clark and her friends; Katie Lee, and Ivan Summers either collected or created documentation and photographs about the Navajo.

Over 70 collections in Special Collections and Archives highlight the Navajo nation's unique and well known geology and broad landscapes/geography, oftentimes in relation to human use and occupation of those areas.

Navajo National Monument

  • Check out a selection of digitized items from our collections
  • Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:
    • Navajo National Monument
    • Navajo--Recreation   

Sites in this national monument include Betatakin (Bitátʼahkin), Keet Seel (Kiet Siel or Kitsʼiil), and Inscription House (Tsʼah Biiʼ Kin). Stuart M. Young took part in a 1912 exploration trip to the monument; photographer Emery Kolb would also document the area in the 1910s. Members of the Grand Canyon Pioneers Society were photographing sites here in the 1940s. Scientist and river runner Fred Eiseman visited in 1949. The Warren Family were traders who toured sites at the monument and beyond ca. 1915. Arizona State Teachers College student Charles B. Fleming and the ASTC Hiking Club went to Navajo National Monument in 1934. The Lauzon family (immigrants and ranchers) toured the site in 1937-1938. Photographer and filmmaker Tad Nichols visited the site in the 1930s-1950s. Boatman and photographer P.T. Reilly visited a number of times between the 1930s and 1960s. Another boatman, Stretch Fretwell, was in the area in 1954. Photographer Bill Belknap visited the site in 1958. Alexander Brownlee visited the monument in 1960, as did photographer Edward Dawson. The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce maintained files and photographs from the site from the 1950s-1970s. Photographer Josef Muench also photographed the monument in the 1950s-1970s. River runner Norm Nevills collected pictures from the monument (1930s, 1970s). Professional photographer John Running photographed across the Navajo Nation, including Navajo National Monument, in the 1970s and 1980s. Rock art aficionado Mary K. Allen found many interesting sites at the monument in the 1990s-2000s. The Arizona Daily Sun maintained clippings and photographs related to the site for a range of years. The Desert Magazine Collection contains a file related to the monument.

 

Monument Valley

  • Check out a selection of digitized items from our collections.
  • Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:
    • Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah-Arizona

Photographer Emery Kolb visited Monument Valley in the mid-1910s. Civil engineer Philip Johnston took pictures of the area when working as a freelance writer in the mid-1920s through 1962. Edwin and Barbara McKee were here in the mid-1930s. A significant expedition to Rainbow Bridge/Monument Valley in 1934-1935 resulted in the assemblage of many resources in the Rainbow Bridge National Monument Collection. River runner Norm Nevills took some pictures of the site in the 1930s. Photographer Bill Belknap was at the site in 1941. Ranchers and immigrants, the Lauzon family were in the area in the 1940s. Photographer and filmmaker Tad Nichols visited the site and documented the area in the 1930s-1950s. Boatman and photographer P.T. Reilly visited a number of times between the 1930s and 1960s. Members of the Grand Canyon Pioneers Society were here in the 1940s-1960s, as was Alexander Brownlee. Scientist and river runner Fred Eiseman visited the site in 1949-50. Boatman Stretch Fretwell visited the site in 1954. Flagstaff photographer Bob Fronske took photos in the area in the 1950s and 1960s. Another photographer, Edward Dawson, took pictures of the site in the early 1960s. Photographer and tour guide William G. Bass photographed and researched the site in the 1960s. The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce maintained files and photographs from the site from the 1950s-1970s. Health professional Veronica Evaneshko took pictures of the site from the 1950s-1990s. Photographer Josef Muench photographed Monument Valley numerous times in the 1950s-1970s. Anthropologist Robert C. Euler photographed the site in the 1960s-1980s. Russ Leadabrand took pictures of the site in 1974 for Desert Magazine. That same year, tourist Dawn Dollard traveled with a group to the site and took home video footage. Professional photographers John Running and Sue Bennett photographed across the Navajo Nation, including Monument Valley, between the 1970s and 2000s. Rock art aficionado Mary K. Allen found many interesting sites at the monument in the 1990s-2000s.The Arizona Daily Sun maintained clippings and photographs related to the site for a range of years. Astronomer Carl O. Lampland collected pictures and postcards of the region, including Monument Valley.

 

Rainbow Bridge

Reported as the first sighting of Rainbow Bridge by non-Indigenous people, in 1909 photographer Stuart M. Young joined the Utah Archaeological Expedition to survey the region. Photographer Emery Kolb documented a trip here in the mid-1910s. Photographer and tour guide William G. Bass photographed and researched the site in the 1920s. James J. Hanks worked with anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn at the site in 1927-1928. Edwin and Barbara McKee visited in the early 1930s. A significant expedition to Rainbow Bridge/Monument Valley in 1934-1935 resulted in the assemblage of many resources in the Rainbow Bridge National Monument Collection. Photographer and filmmaker Tad Nichols did river trips in the 1930s-1950s that brought him to the site. Scientist and river runner Fred Eiseman visited the site in 1949-50. Photographer Bill Belknap visited the site in the 1950s-1960s. Boatman and photographer P.T. Reilly visited a number of times between the 1930s and 1960s. River runner Norm Nevills collected materials about Rainbow Bridge (1930s-1970s). Alexander Brownlee visited the site in the 1950s and 1960s, as did river runner Georgie Clark and her friends. Boatman Stretch Fretwell visited the site in the 1950s. Amateur photographer Woodrow Reiff also visited the site in the 1950s and 1960s. The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce maintained files and photographs from the site from the 1950s-1970s. Parker and Hildegard Hamilton photographed this location in the 1950s-1970s. Math professor Harvey Butchart visited the site and collected research (1950s-1980s); Butchart communicated regularly with another avid hiker, Donald Davis, about the site. Photographer Josef Muench took pictures of Rainbow Bridge at various times in the 1960s-1980s. Range scientist and environmentalist Don Lyngholm visited the site in the early 1970s. The Arizona Daily Sun maintained clippings related to the site for a range of years.

 

Navajo Mountain

Stuart M. Young was photographing in the area in 1912. Photographer Emery Kolb took pictures of Navajo Mountain in the mid-1910s. Civil engineer Philip Johnston visited in the mid-1920s. Photographer and tour guide William G. Bass photographed and researched the site in the 1920s. James J. Hanks worked with anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn at the site in 1927-1928. Edwin and Barbara McKee visited in the early 1930. Photographer and filmmaker Tad Nichols visited the site in the 1930s-1950s. Doctors Dorothea C. and Alexander H. Leighton visited in 1940. Scientist and river runner Fred Eiseman visited the area in 1949-50. Amateur photographer Woodrow Reiff visited the site in 1954, as did boatman Stretch Fretwell. The U.S. Atomic Energy Commission created photogeologic maps of the site in 1955-1956. Travelers and photographer Dorothy & Lowell Weeks visited the site in the 1950s. Photographer Bill Belknap visited the area in the 1950s-1960s. Anthropologist Robert C. Euler visited the site in 1962. Boatman and photographer P.T. Reilly visited a number of times between the 1930s and 1970s. Alexander Brownlee visited in the 1950s and 1960s, as did L.C.B. McCullough. Math professor Harvey Butchart visited the site and collected research (1960s-1980s); fellow hiker Donald Davis corresponded with Butchart about this location in the 1960s. Architect Charlie Dryden did a radio tower project on Navajo Mountain in 2006.

 

Canyon de Chelly

Civil engineer Philip Johnston took a number of pictures here in 1927. Edwin and Barbara McKee visited here in the mid-1930s, as did tourist David K. Andrews. Photographer and filmmaker Tad Nichols visited the site in the 1930s-1950s. Scientist and river runner Fred Eiseman visited the site in 1949. Boatman Stretch Fretwell visited the site in 1956. Emma Jean Bader photographed individuals climbing Spider Rock in the 1950s. L.C.B. McCullough visited the site in the 1960s, as did photographer Edward Dawson. Anthropologist Robert C. Euler visited the site in the 1950s-1970s, as did photographers Josef Muench and Parker and Hildegard Hamilton. Range scientist and environmentalist Don Lyngholm research the area in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Health professional Veronica Evaneshko took pictures of the site from the 1950s-1990s. Archaeologist Charles Hoffman did some work at this location in the 1970s. Tourist Dawn Dollard traveled to the site in 1974 and captured home video footage. Photographer Bill Belknap visited the site in 1979. Professional photographers John Running and Sue Bennett photographed across the Navajo Nation, including Canyon de Chelly, between the 1970s and 2000s. Rock art aficionado Mary K. Allen found many interesting sites at the monument in the 1990s-2000s. The Arizona Daily Sun maintained clippings and photographs related to the site for a range of years. Astronomer Carl O. Lampland collected pictures and postcards related to Canyon de Chelly.

 

Black Mesa (Big Mountain)

Civil engineer Philip Johnston took several pictures here in 1932. Shortly thereafter, Edwin and Barbara McKee photographed the mesa. Flagstaff photographer Bob Fronske took pictures of maps of Black Mesa in 1952. Anthropologist Robert C. Euler was in the area in the 1960s-1980s. Range scientist and environmentalist Don Lyngholm researched the mesa in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Professional photographer John Running photographed across the Navajo Nation, including Black Mesa (Big Mountain), between the 1970s and 2000s, particularly in the mid-1970s during the height of the Navajo-Hopi land dispute. Fellow photographer Sue Bennett photographed there in the 1980s. Politician Sam Steiger kept a file on Black Mesa from 1972. Architect Charlie Dryden did work on Black Mesa in the mid-1990s. The Arizona Daily Sun maintained clippings and photographs related to the site for a range of years.

 

Grand Falls

Members of the Grand Canyon Pioneers Society documented some of the earliest images of the falls, back in the mid-1910s. Photographer Emery Kolb also took pictures of the site in the mid-1910s. Edwin and Barbara McKee photographed the falls in the mid-1930s. Amateur filmmaker Tad Nichols captured them on film in the 1930s. Attorney Perry Ling took pictures of the falls in 1948. The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce maintained files and photographs from the site from the 1950s-1970s. Photographer Josef Muench also visited a few times in the 1950s-1970s. Photographer Bill Belknap visited the site in 1957. Professional photographers John Running and Sue Bennett photographed across the Navajo Nation, including Grand Falls, between the 1970s and 2000s. Anthropologist Robert C. Euler was at this site in 1996. The Arizona Daily Sun maintained clippings files related to the site for a range of years.

 

 

 

 

 

Lukachukai Mountains

Scientist and river runner Fred Eiseman visited the area in 1949. Photographer and filmmaker Tad Nichols captured this location in the 1950s. Range scientist and environmentalist Don Lyngholm visited in the early 1970s. Health professional Veronica Evaneshko took pictures of the mountains from the 1950s-1990s.

 

 

 

 

Elsewhere

Billie Yost was in Blue Canyon at some point in the early 1900s. Marie L. Olson photographed Blue Canyon as part of her time as a nurse ca. 1920. Philip Johnston was also there in 1927; Edwin and Barbara McKee a little later in the 1930s; and Sue Bennett in the 1990s. Marie L. Olson also photographed Coal Canyon ca. 1920 (Attorney Perry Ling took additional pictures here in 1948), as well as Moenkopi Wash at the same time. Florence Barker took pictures of canyons, mesas, and rocks within the Navajo nation she found interesting in the early 1920s. Jo Mora was in and around the Keams Canyon area in the early 1900s. The Dinosaur Tracks outside Tuba City were documented by William G. Bass in the 1920s and Edwin and Barbara McKee in 1931. They were photographed by Sue Bennett in the 2000s.

Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute

  • Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings files:
    • Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute (1)       
    • Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute (2)  

In the 1970s, land shared jointly by the Hopi and Navajo was partitioned, forcing the removal of over 10,000 Navajos living in this area. This controversial act has been the focus of continued activism and dispute ever since. The Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation Commission Records document the activities of the office formally tasked with executing the 1974 act. One of its members, Sandra Massetto, was involved from 1979-1990. Photographer John Running documented many of the resistors through his photography in the 1970s and 1990s. Researcher and author Catherine Fehr-Elston collected materials related to the dispute in the 1980s and 1990s. Librarian Louis A. Hieb was interested in researching the issue and collected documentation from 1918-1973.

Mapping

  • Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:
    • Navajo Nation--Maps

Traders, including the Day Family and the Babbitt Brothers Trading Company, maintained records and maps of the boundaries and parcels of the reservation. Cline Library's Geologic and Topographic Maps collection contains maps of the reservation and photogeologic maps of Navajo Mountain. The National Parks Map collection contains a map of the Hualapai and Navajo reservations. The Saginaw and Manistee Lumber Company maintained a map created by the Navajo Curriculum Center.

Starting in the mid-1800s, government-sanctioned trading posts offered both non-Indigenous traders and the Navajo people an opportunity to engage in cross-cultural commerce through the trading of goods and material culture. Anglo-american traders provided the Navajo with goods and food stuffs, while the Navajo provided wool, animals, hides, rugs, furs, and later jewelry. Special Collections and Archives houses several collections that document the historical and contemporary perspective--both from the traders and the Navajo--on the trading post system.

 

Indigenous Perspectives

The Southwestern Navajo Reservation Trade Relationships: the Navajo Perspective Oral Histories collection was an Arizona Humanities Council-funded project in 1994 to capture nine recordings with Indigenous individuals who provided their perspectives on the history of the trading post. Former Navajo Nation Chairman Raymond Nakai (served from 1963-1971) dedicated the Ganado Trading Post in 1967.

 

Trader Perspectives

The United Indian Traders Association Records offers both a historic and contemporary perspective from a number of traders who, collectively, form a group dedicated to buying and selling genuine goods from artisans to consumers. As part of the collection, the Association sponsored 50 interviews (done in 1998) with traders or others involved in trading.

1860s-1920s

Navajo Traders records include correspondence, memos, annual reports, newspaper clippings, trading licenses, and treaties recording business dealings between Indian traders and the Navajo Nation (1868-1999). Specific trading posts include the John Hubbell Post, and those located at Gallup, Tonalea, Tuba City and Keams Canyon. The Babbitt Brothers Trading Company assumed control of several trading posts in 1918, many of which are documented in this collection. The Navajo Trading Company (1891-1957), located in Na-ah-tee Canyon, was associated with the A & B Schuster Company Records. Sam Day and his sons operated the Bill Meadows Trading Post and the Thunderbird Trading Post in the early 1900s. Billie Yost's family operated the Red Lake Trading Post in the early 1900s. Richard Bruchman opened and operated the Bruchman Trading Post (and later a Curio shop) near Winslow in the early 1900s through until the 1980s. Mary May Bailey and her family owned or helped operate trading posts in Pinon, Tuba City, Coal Mine Mesa, Winslow, Bitahochee, Canyon Diablo, and Castle Butte in the 1920s-1940s. Henry Keith Warren operated the Red Lake Trading Post at Tonalea between 1908 and 1916 and before enlisting in the Army in 1917, he was a trader at Tuba City. Around 1913, Frank Staplin photographed traders at the Shiprock Fair. Special Collections and Archives has the 1917-1918 ledger from the Karigan Trading Post. From 1914-1918, Vest Robinson ran trading posts in Caste Butte and Keams Canyon; in 1921 he purchased a trading post in Kayenta. The Babbitt Brothers Trading Company purchased shares in his Warren Trading Post in 1923 and he served as Director or the post until 1935 when he resigned. In 1936 he became manager of the Cedar Ridge Trading Post near The Gap. Edward Kerley operated the Tuba Trading Company with the Babbitt Brothers from 1917 until 1925.

1930s-1990s

In the 1920s-1930s, the Foutz Family operated the Teec Nos Pos Trading Post, but were also involved with others in the area. Tobe Turpen operated Tobe Turpen's Trading Post at some point in 1939. Grace and Charles Herring purchased the Toadlena Trading Post in 1943; many of the activities at this trading post are also documented by the Bloomfield Family. Sallie and Bill Lippincott owned and operated the Wide Ruins and Pine Springs Trading Posts from 1938-1949. Lorenzo Hubbell operated the Hubbell Trading Post from the 1930s to 1950s. Starting in 1944, Elijah Blair worked as an employee at Toadlena Trading Post, Mexican Water Trading Post, and Aneth Trading Post. He later owned Dinnebito Trading Post and Kayenta Trading Post. He currently owns Blair's Dinnebito Trading Post in Page. Sudie Ione Foster and her husband William Lovell Savory started construction on the Twin Arrows Trading Post in 1945. Between 1947-1949, Harold F. Osborne observed and wrote about life at Harry Goulding Trading Post in Monument Valley. J.B. Tanner bought the Ganado Trading Post in the mid-1950s with Jack Leonard and his brothers Bob and Don; he worked at this trading post from 1955-1956. From 1948-1976, Raymond Blair owned and operated the Rock Point and Round Trock Trading Posts. Troy and Edith Kennedy worked at (and later owned) the Red Rock Trading Post 1948-1992. Glenn Blansett owned the Jackrabbitt Trading Post and took pictures in the early 1960s.

 

Non-trader observations

1900-1940s

Photographer Emery Kolb photographed and filmed trading posts across the Navajo Nation in the 1910s. Artist Jo Mora passed through the Tolchaco Trading Post ca. 1905. Civil engineer Philip Johnston photographed several trading posts over the span of a few decades (1900s-1940s). Explorer Stuart Young took pictures of John Wetherill's Trading Post in 1912. The pioneering Greenhaw family took pictures of the trading post in Leupp in the 1920s. Tour guide and entrepreneur William G. Bass took pictures of the Cameron Trading Post in the 1920s. Nurse Florence Barker took pictures of the Sweetwater Trading Post in 1924. Indian Agent Leo Crane photographed trading posts in the 1920s-1930s; Morley Fox photographed the Cameron Trading Post in the 1930s. Boatman P.T. Reilly took pictures of a number of trading posts from the 1910s-1960s. Geologist Eddie McKee and his wife traveled to some trading posts in the early 1930s, including the Hubbell Trading Post. Photographer and anthropologist Tad Nichols visited the Shonto, Steamboat Canyon, and Chilchinbeto trading posts in the 1930s. Travelers Bruce and Pearl Cook documented the Cameron Trading Post in the 1940s. Members of the Lauzon Family captured a picture of the Cameron Trading Post ca. 1940. Tom Woodward donated a photograph of Nutria Trading Post ca. 1940s. Flagstaff photographer Bob Fronske documented a number of trading posts in the region from the 1940s-1950s. Photographer Milton Snow took pictures of the Aneth and Many Farms trading posts in the 1940s. Funds from a Platt Cline Endowment allowed for the purchase of several historic images, including one of the Little Colorado (Cameron) Trading Post (1940 ca.). Ranchers Joseph Bean and Laura Tappan also photographed the Cameron Trading Post. Businessman George Babbitt recorded oral histories with traders in the area in the 1950s. Photographer Bill Belknap took pictures of the Kerley, Navajo Mountain, and Valle's trading posts in the 1940s-1980s.

1950s-2000s

Nurses Virginia Brown, Ida Bahl, and Lillian Watson photographed trading posts in the 1950s. Members of the Arizona Wool Growers Association kept files on the Bidahochee (Bita Hochee) Trading Post in the mid-1950s. L.C.B. McCullough, friend of Georgie Clark, photographed a number of trading posts from the 1950s-1970s, as did photographer Josef Muench. The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce collected materials related to trading posts in the 1960s. The Housholder Family kept a research file on Hubbell Trading Post from 1965. Historian and newspaperman Platt Cline kept files and photographs of the Hubbell Trading Post, ca. 1967. The Fred Harvey Company kept files on the Cameron Trading Post in the 1960s and 1970s. Politician Sam Steiger kept a file on trading posts in 1972. Robert Sekula photographed Canyon Diablo Trading Post in 1973. Willow Powers researched and wrote a book about the history of the trading posts in the second half of the 20th century. Roy Carpenter corresponded with NAU math professor Harvey Buthchart about trading posts in the 1970s-1980s. Archaoelogist Charles Hoffman did work at a number of trading post sites from the 1970s-1990s. R. Sean Evans documented trading posts along Route 66 in the 1990s-2000s; Gary Gustafson joined him at the Jackrabitt Trading Post in 2004; Libby Coyner joined him for another documentation project of these sites in 2013. In 2000, Lester Cooper photographed the ruins of the Fred Volz Navajo Trading Post. Also in the early 2000s, trader Bill Beaver (he operated the Sacred Mountain Trading Post) took pictures of several abandoned trading posts across the Navajo Nation.

The Colorado Plateau General Photographs Collection contains images of The Gap Trading Post (1940s); Wolf Trading Post ruins (1973); Babbitt Brothers Trading Company store (1910s-1920s), Navajo Rock Church Indian Trading Post (1919), Cameron Trading Post, and the Little Colorado Trading Post. The Arizona Daily Sun Clippings Collection contains a number of clippings files related to trading posts on the Navajo Nation, from a number of decades. Astronomer Carl O. Lampland collected postcards from across the reservation.

 

MATERIAL CULTURE

The physical aspect of culture in the objects and architecture that surround people. It includes usage, consumption, creation, and trade of objects as well as the behaviors, norms, and rituals that the objects create or take part in.

Courtesy Wikipedia

  • Check out a selection of digitized items from our collections
  • View relevant publications available at Cline Library
  • Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:
    • Navajo--Art & Artists
    • Navajo--Basketry    
    • Navajo--Weaving  

A number of individual collections in Special Collections and Archives focus on material culture in the form of objects (textiles, jewelry, art, etc.), artifacts, and structures found on and within the Navajo Nation. A significant number of these collections are documented through traders and trading posts, businesses which helped facilitate the exchange of objects of material culture and goods.

 

Material Culture and the Trading Post

The United Indian Traders Association were an influential group from their founding in 1931 until the late 1990s; their purpose was to protect and promote the sale of genuine Indigenous hand-made arts and crafts. The Navajo Traders Collection also provides a general overview of the history of the trading post system from the 1860s until the late 1990s.

Specific traders and trading companies are featured in a number of collections that describe or portray the material goods in their possession:

 

Other Observations

The Fred Harvey Company maintained inventories of Navajo objects and artifacts it acquired, as well as featured Navajo artists at its Southwest facilities to boost tourism in the late 19th and much of the 20th century. Photographer F.H. Maude took an 1899 photo of a Navajo woman weaving. Artist Jo Mora took a picture of a weaver carding wool in 1905. A 1908 journal kept by Southwest author Zane Grey contains some pages with drawings done by Navajo people. Explorer Stuart Young took a picture of a rug midst-weaving (1920 ca.). Newspaperman Frank Staplin took pictures of traders and their material goods (rugs, silver) at the Shiprock Fair (1913 ca.). Photographers Emery and Ellsworth Kolb documented weavers in photos and moving images in the early 1900s. Indian Agent Leo Crane documented weaving activities (1920 ca.). Missionary Clara Holcomb took pictures of Navajo rugs in the 1920s. Nurse Florence Barker took a picture of a Navajo run in 1924. Civil engineer Philip Johnston took pictures of silverwork, weavers, rugs, and other jewelry while living among the Navajo in the 1920s and 1930s. LDS pioneers, the Foutz Family took pictures of Navajo textiles and fabrics in the 1920s and 1930s. Photographer Bob Fronske took pictures of Navajo textiles and other items associated with documenting the Flagstaff All Indian Pow Wow (1935 ca.). Anthropologist and filmmaker Tad Nichols filmed and photographed the Navajo, both weaving and doing silverwork (check out Nichols' digitized Navajo films here) in the late 1930s and 1940s. Ethnobotanist A.F. Whiting kept research files on Navajo textiles (1930s-1970s). Conservationist and boatman P.T. Reilly took pictures of weavers, their rugs, and jewelry in the 1940s. Psychiatrists Dorothea C. and Alexander H. Leighton took some pictures of Navajo rugs in the 1940s and 1950s. Photographer and boatman Bill Belknap photographed Navajo weavers and silversmiths in the 1940s. The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce took pictures of Navajo weavers as part of their promotion of the area in the 1940s-1970s. Geologist Eddie McKee kept a file on Navajo saddle blankets (1950 ca.). Northern Arizona University (then Arizona State College) invited a Navajo weaver to demonstrate for a 1955 Industrial Arts class. Nurses Virginia Brown, Ida Bahl, and Lillian Watson took pictures of a Navajo weaver while she was weaving (1955 ca.). Rancher John G. Babbitt took pictures of Navajo weavers and the rugs in his home (1950s-1970s). Anthropologist Robert C. Euler collected objects and artifacts from Navajo sites in the 1950s-1970s. Phtographer Josef Muench took pictures of Navajo jewelry and silversmiths in the 1950s-1970s. Another anthropologist, Frederick Dockstader, compiled bibliographies on Navajo art, published on Navajo weaving, and drew images of Navajo jewelry from the 1950s-1980s. Photographer John Running photographed Navajo weavers and the entire process by which they create their weavings, as well as silversmiths from the 1970s-2000s. Fellow photographer Sue Bennett periodically photographed Navajo weavers and weavings in the 1990s and 2000s. The Colorado Plateau General Photographs Collection houses a small selection of Navajo weaving, rug, and silversmith images (1930s-1940s). The New Age Collection highlights research on Navajo textiles from an extraterrestrial perspective.

 

Rock Art

Explorer Stuart Young visited rock art sites in Navajo National Monument (1920 ca.). Range Scientist Don Lyngholm documented several petroglyphs at sites across the Navajo Nation in the 1970s. Rock art aficionado Mary K. Allen photographed rock art sites in both Navajo National Monument and Navajo Canyon in the 1990s-2000s.

A number of resources in Special Collections and Archives focus on the physical environment found within the Diné nation, including the community's relationship with (and use of) water, minerals, plants, and forests/forestry.

  • Check out a selection of digitized items from our collections
  • View relevant publications available at Cline Library
  • Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:
    • Navajo--Coal Mining (1)      
    • Navajo--Coal Mining (2)
    • Navajo--Environment  
    • Navajo--Sawmills 
    • Navajo--Uranium Mining       
    • Navajo--Utilities
    • Navajo--Water  

Water

Members of the Grand Canyon Pioneers Society documented the Little Colorado River Gorge and Tappan Spring in the mid-1920s. The Desert Magazine Collection contains a research file on the Navajo Dam in 1958. Boatman and researcher P.T. Reilly took pictures at Navajo Spring in the 1960s-1970s. Nurses Virginia Brown, Ida Bahl, and Lillian Watson collected materials related to uranium and a report created by the Navajo Water and Sanitation Authority (1970s-1980s). Photographers John Running and Sue Bennett both separately documented Navajo reservoirs/wells on the reservation in the 1970s and 1980s.

 

Reclaimed Water on the San Francisco Peaks

Landowners Richard and Jean Wilson joined many other advocacy groups (including the Grand Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club; the Coconino Citizens Association and its members Dr. Walter and Nancy Taylor) in the 1970s and 1980s to fight development and to "Save the Peaks" from desecration to sacred sites for many nations, including the Navajo. Around the same time, geographer and activist John Duncklee researched and wrote his dissertation on the San Francisco Peaks and brought in the Indigenous perspective as part of his research.

 

Plants

Ethnobotanist A.F. Whiting created a taxonomy of Navajo plant names at some point between the 1930s and 1970s. Range scientist Don Lyngholm collected documents about Navajo plants during the Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation Commission in the 1980s.

 

Fires/Forestry/Lumbering

Benton Snoddy worked for the Cady Lumber Company in the mid-1920s; he photographed Navajo workers (aka Navajo Brush Pilers) at the lumbermill there. Photographer Josef Muench photographed lumbering activities at the Navajo-run Forest Products Industry from the 1950s-1970s; the Inland Forest Research Council also documented activities at Forest Products Industry during the same time period. Fire lookout researcher Dave Lorenz documented and photographed several fire lookouts on the Navajo reservation from the 1960s to 2000s. Forest Service employee Steve Dudley took pictures of Navajo people engaged in fire exercises from the 1970s-1990s. The Fire on the Plateau Collection contains a file pertinent to Navajo involvement with fire management in 2001.

 

Mining and Mineral Extraction

Photographer Bob Fronske photographed uranium mining and oil extraction activities near Cameron in the mid-1950s. Anthropologist and boatman Tad Nichols photographed uranium mining activities in the Lukachukai Mountains in 1955. Newspaper editor Leslie Goodluck photographed a meeting with executive from Peabody Coal in 1960. Nurses Virginia Brown, Ida Bahl, and Lillian Watson collected materials related to uranium and a report created by the Navajo Water and Sanitation Authority (1970s-1980s). The Navajo Tribal Court Case Files Collection contains a significant amount of dockets and research files from when the Navajo went against the U.S. about oil and gas opportunities on the reservation between the 1920s and 1980s. Photographers John Running and Sue Bennett each separately photographed coal mining activities on Black Mesa in the 1970s and 1980s. Research Forester Earl Aldon researched and wrote about coal mining activities at Navajo Mine in the 1970s and 1980s. The Grand Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club undertook efforts to shut down mining activities on Black Mesa in the 1980s-2000s.

The Arizona Daily Sun Clippings Collection contains a file of clippings focused on uranium mining on the Navajo reservation.

 

Advocacy and Environmental Impacts

The Navajo Environmental Issues Collection is an assemblage of research documents focused on the environmental impact on coal, asbestos, and uranium mining, as well as water, landfill, and forest management concerns, dating from the 1970s to 1990s. The Grand Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club undertook efforts to shut down mining activities on Black Mesa, as well as the use of reclaimed water on the San Francisco Peaks in the 1980s-2000s. Previously an Arizona State Representative, in her later role as a US Congresswoman in the 1990s Karan English served on subcommittees (National Parks, Forests and Public Lands; Native American Affairs) that allowed her to research and change legislation on uranium mining, water rights, and toxic substances used at Camp Navajo. In 2011, NAU faculty member Gary Emanuel talked with Dr. Joseph Yazzie, a Navajo who was involved with the American Indian Movement in the 1970s; Yazzie advocated against coal mining.

Camp Navajo (named in reference to the large number of Navajo employees), or the Navajo Army Depot, was a munitions ordnance depot during WWII and after its closure a significant number of environmental reports (remedial investigation, community involvement plans, geophysical and environmental surveys, contamination risk assessments, feasibility studies, and site closure decisions pertaining to landfills, ground water, ammunition and drum burial sites, and open burn areas) were done that can be found in the Army National Guard Environmental Restoration Collection.

A number of collections in Special Collections and Archives focus on traditional and contemporary perspectives on raising sheep, goats, horses, and cattle, and their use for food or material goods, or for broader utilitarian purposes.

Diné Perspectives

Navajo Chairman Raymond Nakai (served from 1963-1971) spoke at the third annual Convention of Navajo Cattle Growers in 1963. A digital version of the speech he made is available here. Another related speech he made to the group in 1966 is available here. He made another speech to the California Livestock Association in 1968 and it is available here.

 

Other Perspectives

The Day Family were traders in the late 19th century; they maintained records related to their interactions with those involved in the sale of sheep and cattle in the early 20th century. Explorer Stuart M. Young photographed as part of expeditions across the west; his lens captured images of sheep and horses on the reservation in the early 1910s. Trader Vest Robinson photographed a cowboy who had stolen 29 heads of Navajo cattle. Photographers Emery and Ellsworth Kolb photographed and took film footage of Navajo sheep and goats in the 1910s-1920s. Trader Henry Keith Warren documented and collected postcards depicting sheep shearing, dipping, and butchering in the 1920s. Ranchers and traders Jot and Marjorie Stiles photographed sheep and goats on the reservation in the 1920s. Civil Engineer Philip Johnston lived on the reservation for his younger life, and he photographed sheep there in the late 1920s. Indian Agent Leo Crane photographed sheep and goats in the 1920s and 1930s. The Foutz Family documented activities at the Shiprock Indian Fair, including sheep dipping, in the 1920s and 1930s. Missionaries Clara Holcomb and Florence Barker (also a nurse) took a number of pictures of horses, sheep, and cattle from the 1920s-1930s. The Nakaii Dine Collection portrays images of sheep ranching and shearing in the Lower Greasewood area in the 1920s-1950s; digital representations are available here. Members of the Grand Canyon Pioneers Society collected and took pictures of Navajo sheep from the 1920s-1960s.

Geologist Eddie McKee and this wife Barbara took casual pictures of sheep and goats in the 1930s. The Navajo Traders Collection contains a 1936 document about Navajo sheep earmarks. Quaker activists Virginia Anderson and George Yamada kept a research file on grazing regulations on the reservation in 1937. Photographer Bob Fronske took pictures of sheep on the reservation periodically from the 1930s-1970s. Ethnobotanist A.F. Whiting kept a research file on Navajo/Apache ethnozoology, spanning from the 1930s-1970s. Journalist Harold F. Osborne documented many activities around Monument Valley in 1947, including goat and sheep herding. Anthropolgist, photographer, and filmmaker Tad Nichols documented sheep shearing in 1948; he also filmed about the horse reduction in the late 1930s. Conservationist P.T. Reilly photographed a group of Navajo with sheep and goats in Monument Valley in 1947. Attorney Perry M. Ling photographed sheep and horses in 1948. In the 1940s and 1950s, Psychiatrists Dorothea C. and Alexander H. Leighton spent a significant amount of time while researching on the Navajo Reservation; they documented and took pictures of their observations. Range Scientist Don Lyngholm photographed Diné people working with sheep, goats, and cattle in the 1950s. Trader Elijah Blair photographed a freshly sheared sheep in 1954. Special Collections and Archives has collected grazing maps, a number of which highlight grazing on the Navajo Reservation in the 1950s and 1960s. Photographer Bill Belknap took pictures in the Navajo Mountain area in 1961, including some Navajo with their horses. The Arizona Wool Growers Association kept files on the Navajo in the 1960s-1970s. Photographer John Running documented cattle, sheep (including shearing), goats, and horses across the Navajo Nation in the 1970s. Fellow photographer Sue Bennett captured cattle/livestock, horses and sheep across the reservation in the 1980s and 2000s. As a U.S. Congresswoman, Karan English corresponded with a constituent about the impounding of livestock on Hopi-partitioned land in 1993.The records of the United Indian Traders Association contains a large group of images of Pauline Allen, a Diné woman, with her sheep and goats in 1999.

The Navajo have an internal political structure through the Navajo Nation government to support a degree of sovereignty, but in many instances their lives are guided through the oversight of various external state and federal agencies. A number of collections in Special Collections and Archives highlight these internal and external political structures.

  • View relevant publications available at Cline Library
  • Search the SCA digital archives for digitized information
  • Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:
    • Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute (1)       
    • Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute (2)
    • Navajo--Crime
    • Navajo--Law and Legal Issues
    • Navajo--Law Enforcement
    • Navajo--Politicians
    • Navajo--Politicians--MacDonald, Peter
    • Navajo--Tribal Elections  
    • Navajo--Tribal Government 

 

Activities of the Navajo Nation Government

The Navajo Nation Government is comprised of a Legislative branch (Navajo Nation Council); an Executive branch (the President and Vice-President); and a Judicial branch (Navajo Nation courts). While Special Collections and Archives makes occasional reference of the activities of these three branches in its collections (see below), a more complete account of the activities of the Navajo Nation Government is available at the Navajo Nation Records Management Department in Window Rock.

Researcher Willow Powers researched the history of the Navajo legal aid organization Dinebeiina Nahilna be Agaditahe (DNA), and its impact on the trading post system in the 1970s; in her research she acquired a file related to the activities of the Navajo Tribal Council from 1949-1953. Newspaper editor Leslie Goodluck photographed Navajo leaders in 1960. White Bear Fredericks, a Hopi artist and storyteller, collected a statement from the Hopi to the-then Navajo Chairman Paul Jones in 1960. Chairman Raymond Nakai was Chairman of the Navajo Nation from 1963-1971. Conservationist and researcher P.T. Reilly gathered a file related to the activities of the Navajo Tribe from 1961-1968. The Arizona Wool Growers Association gathered files related to the tribe from 1962-1966. Trader Raymond Blair maintained documentation on Navajo Tribal law and codes as they affected his business operations, 1970-1976. Anthropologist Robert C. Euler maintained a file on the Navajo Tribal Council, as it pertained to antiquities laws in 1972. Photographer John Running photographed tribal chairmen, including Peterson Zah and Peter MacDonald, from 1975-1983. Then-President of Northern Arizona University, Clara Lovett, kept files related to the activities of the Navajo Nation from 1987-2000. In 1999, former tribal chairman Peterson Zah contributed an oral history, in which he detailed his work with the Navajo legal aid organization Dinebeiina Nahilna be Agaditahe (DNA). The Arizona Daily Sun Collection (photographs) feature several images of Navajo political leaders over the course of a number of decades.

The Navajo Tribal Court Case Files Collection is an extensive compilation of legal files related to oil, gas, and mineral rights cases brought against the United States; the files and their contents range from 1861-1990.

 

Boundary Disputes

The Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation Commission was a federal commission formed in 1974 to relocate partitioned Hopi and Navajo lands. Researcher and Librarian Louis A. Hieb gathered research materials (1918-1973) related to the historic dispute. Congressman Sam Steiger was in office from 1967-1977, and during that time (particularly the early 1970s) he collected research files and voted on measures related to the dispute. The Navajo and Hopi Land Dispute Collection is an assemblage of reports, clippings, and files that document much of the dispute from 1970-1998. Photographer John Running photographed relocation resistors and the broader resistance movement in the Big Mountain (Black Mesa) area from 1975 to the 2000s. Lawyer Sandra Massetto was a commissioner for the relocation commission from 1979-1990. Author Catherine Fehr-Elston researched extensively about the Navajo-Hopi land issue from 1982-1986; it culminated in the publication "Children of Sacred Ground (1988)." Range Scientist Don Lyngholm worked as a consultant for the relocation commission from 1983-1985. The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce kept a file on the Navajo-Hopi joint use area. The Arizona Daily Sun Clippings Collection features an amalgamation of clippings that pertain to the newspaper's writings on the boundary dispute.

 

Influence of Outside Agencies

The Rainbow Bridge National Monument Collection contains several research files pertaining to the exchange of land at Rainbow Bridge between the Navajo and the National Park Service in the 1950s-1970s. Leonard Ritt was a researcher who gathered voting information from several counties in Arizona in an effort to isolate Navajo voting patterns. Karan English was a Congresswoman from Arizona who was in office from 1993-1995. She served on both Native American and environmental subcommittees and advocated the well-being of the Navajo through her political work.

 

The Role of Indian Agents

Leo Crane was an Indian Agent on the Hopi and Navajo reservation starting in 1911; he accumulated extensive photographs and other documentation related to his role during that time. Sam Day, Sr. (1845-1925) was a United States Indian Commissioner from 1920-1925. his son Sam Day, Jr. married one of Chief Manuelito's daughters and worked as a United States deputy Marshall and a trader.

 

Other Perspectives

Nursing professor Veronica Evaneshko gathered a research file on Navajo culture and politics, 1967-1995.

Navajo Bridge

Explore photos, moving images, and documents related to Navajo Bridge in our digital archives.

Several collections relate to the building (1927-1928) and use of Navajo Bridge, the principle route for getting to the north rim of Grand Canyon. The bridge spans between the Navajo reservation and Lees Ferry (Glen Canyon National Recreation Area).

A number of collections specifically document the construction and/or dedication of the bridge (originally called the Grand Canyon Bridge), including the Mary May Bailey; P.T. Reilly; Emery Kolb (featuring film footage of the dedication); and Platt Cline Collections.

Other collections feature images or documentation of the bridge post-construction, including Edwin and Barbara McKee; Don Lyngholm; Alexander Brownlee; Georgie Clark; Fronske Studio; Tad Nichols; Robert Coody; Charlie Dryden; Bill Belkap (including a Nevills plaque dedication in 1952); Fred Eiseman; Harvey Butchart; Lois Jotter Cutter; Lauzon Family; Marcellin and Lillian Vorih; Lilo Perrin; Carnegie-Cal Tech Expedition; Martin Litton (another film); Margaret Eiseman; Bruce Bennett Green; Joseph Hall; and Leslie Jones.

The U.S.G.S. Old Timers Collection documents the construction of the new Navajo Bridge (1995)

SCA has a "Navajo Bridge" physical vertical file (assorted clippings & leaflets) that is available on-site.

Cameron Suspension Bridge

A small handful of collections describe or depict the bridge that crosses the Little Colorado River at Cameron, AZ. There are also a select set of materials on this bridge available at the digital archives.

Power Plants

Politician Sam Steiger and photographer Sue Bennett both separately documented activities at the Navajo Generating Station and the Four Corners Generating Station. For collections related to the environmental impact of these generating stations, visit the 'Environmental' section in the tabs above.

SCA has a "Navajo--Energy" physical vertical file (assorted clippings & leaflets) that is available on-site.

Camp Navajo/Navajo Ordnance Depot/Navajo Army Depot/Navajo Depot Activity

Check out published resources about the depot that are also available at the library.

SCA has physical vertical files (assorted clippings & leaflets) that are available on-site:

  • Navajo Army Depot (Camp Navajo)
  • Navajo Army Depot--Cleanup
  • Navajo Army Depot--Tritium Storage

Opened in 1942 and originally titled the Flagstaff Ordnance Depot, this facility stored munitions during World War II. Considering the large number of indigenous people (particularly Navajo and Hopi) involved in its construction and subsequent employment, it was renamed the Navajo Ordnance Depot.

Official records of the activities at the depot reside with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in Riverside, CA. Special Collections and Archives maintains a number of complementary collections that emphasize numerous aspects of depot life, as well as studies that have been done since its closure.

Numerous environmental impact assessments and analyses of the site have been conducted; these can be found in the Army National Guard Environmental Restoration and Karan English Collections.

The Arizona Lumber and Timber Company Collection documents the opening of the depot in 1942; daily operational and employment records of the facility can be found in the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce; architectural plans for buildings can be found in the Charlie Dryden Collection;

Past Northern Arizona University Presidents maintained files on activities at the depot, including Tom Bellwood, Lacey Eastburn and Lawrence Walkup. Businessman George Babbitt, researcher Bruce Hooper, archaeologist Charles Hoffman, newspaperman Platt Cline, similarly kept some research files on the depot. The Arizona Daily Sun has numerous photographic holdings of the depot over a number of decades. The Saginaw and Manistee Lumber Company had a formal contract with the depot. The recollections of some of the depot's employees are captured in the Los Recuerdos oral history collection. Employee Alice Baloo provided her story about her ten years with the depot. Mrs. Isabel Simmons' 20+ year career at the depot are captured as part of the Flagstaff Public Library Oral History Project

 

Navajo Code Talkers

Access any digitized materials related to the Navajo Code talkers at SCA's digital archives.

Check out published resources about the Navajo code talkers that are also available at the library.

SCA has physical vertical files (assorted clippings & leaflets) that are available on-site:

  • Navajo Code Talkers (1)
  • Navajo Code Talkers (2)

Many of the official records of the Navajo Code Talkers are found at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) facility in Washington, D.C. Others can be found at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, AZ.

Civil engineer Philip Johnston was instrumental in helping develop the code during World War II; Stephanie Hallmark documented a memorial and some of the code talkers in 2005; SCA has a file of Arizona Daily Sun Clippings on the code talkers. Professional photographers Josef Muench, Bob Fronske, John Running, and Sue Bennett also photographed code talkers; Running documented Peter McDonald's inauguration in 1979, where several code talkers were gathered. Catherine Fehr-Elston also took some pictures of code talkers. 

NAU President Clara Lovett was president when the university installed the Code Talkers monument on north campus in 1995.

 

The Long Walk

Access any digitized materials related to the Long Walk in the digital archives.

Check out published resources about the Long Walk that are also available at the library.

Considering the significance of the event, Special Collections and Archives has very little in its holdings directly related to the 1864-1866 forced movement of Navajo people to Fort Sumner. Then-Chairman of the Navajo Nation Raymond Nakai (1963-1971) wrote speeches and kept files during his time in office. Traders with the United Indian Traders Association discussed some aspects of the Long Walk (as learned from the Navajo themselves) in oral histories. There is a physical vertical file: "Navajo--Long Walk "Bosque Redondo" that is available on-site. Other related vertical files include "Navajo Treaty 1868" (2 files) and "Navajo Treaty Day."

 

Other

NAU math professor Harvey Butchart corresponded with P.T. Reilly about various historical Navajo raids. Special Collections and Archives maintains a physical vertical file "Navajo--Military" on-site. 

 

 

Special Collections and Archives houses a modest selection of primary-source materials that focus on Diné and non-Indigenous perspectives on education, both in a traditional and more contemporary context. While many resources in SCA highlight physical structures (such as boarding schools), others address more philosophical issues about the intellectual structures within which teaching and learning happens.

  • View relevant publications available at Cline Library
  • Search the SCA digital archives for digitized information
  • Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:
    • Navajo Community College
    • Navajo Curriculum Center
    • Navajo--Education
    • Navajo--Libraries
    • Navajo--Newspapers
    • Navajo--Tribal Museum       
           

Diné Perspectives

During his tenure as Navajo Chairman (1963-1971), Raymond Nakai advocated strongly for self-determination in Navajo education. In the early 1970s, James Biglin of the Southwestern Behavioral Institute recorded interviews with Native American parents (including Navajo) on their perspectives on education. As part of their suit against the United States government for mineral/coal rights, the Navajo Tribal Court complied a report related to schools in Utah but on the Reservation (1929-1937). The Northern Arizona University Indian Education Oral History Project was conducted in the late 1970s and early 1980s in an effort to understand (from multiple perspectives, several of whom are Navajo) the history and effectiveness of Indigenous education at that time. The Southwestern Navajo Reservation Trade Relationships: the Navajo Perspective Oral History Collection is an assemblage of Diné speakers, many of whom describe their American and traditional education experiences; these were recorded in 1994. In 2011, Gary Emanuel recorded an interview with NAU graduate Tommy Yazzie about his past educational experiences.

 

Other Perspectives

Special Collections and Archives maintains a general photographs collection, in which there are images of boarding school students in Fort Defiance in 1910, as well as some Navajo school pictures ca. 1940. Newspaperman Frank Staplin photographed students at the San Juan School in Shiprock, New Mexico. Marie Olson was an assistant nurse at the Western Navajo Indian Agency in Tuba City from 1918-1920, and during this time photographed the agency and the boarding school (including students and teachers). Born into a family of traders, Billie Yost kept a 1923 picture of students at the Leupp Boarding School. A pioneering family, the Greenhaws also photographed the Leupp Boarding School in the 1920s. Nurse Florence Barker photographed students on the Reservation (including Shiprock) in the mid-1920s. Part of a family of traders, Mary May Bailey and her family took pictures of the Tuba City Indian School in 1927. Indian Agent Leo Crane photographed Navajo students at schools on the reservation in the 1920s-1930s. Psychiatrists Dorothea C. and Alexander H. Leighton took pictures and corresponded about schools on the Navajo Reservation in the 1940s. Journalist Harold F. Osborne researched and wrote about Navajo education in 1947. Trader Claude Dick Richardson was interviewed by George Babbitt in 1950, and revealed tensions that existed between a parent and the BIA with sending his son to boarding school. Photographer Josef Muench documented various buildings on the Navajo Reservation, including schools, from the 1950s-1970s. Trader Elijah Blair took pictures of the Aneth Boarding School ca. 1955. The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce collected a file of information on Navajo education from 1958-1968. River runner (and friend of Georgie Clark) L.C.B. McCullough photographed the boarding school at Navajo Mountain in 1966. Nurses Virginia Brown and Lillian Watson worked as nurses on the Navajo Reservation in the 1960s and 1970s; during this time they collected many research materials related to childrens' well-being at boarding schools. Their fellow nurse, Ida Bahl, took pictures of students at a trailer school in the 1950s. Arizona Congressman Sam Steiger (serving 1967-1977) did research on considerations for a Navajo curriculum, in addition to specific exploration of the Navajo Rough Rock Demonstration School and the Black Mountain Trailer School in Kitsillie in the early 1970s. Lawyer Sandra Massetto collected a 1986 report on the dropout rate of Navajo students. Serving from 1992-1994, Representative Karan English legislated on issues related to Diné education. Starting in 2009, Gary Emanuel began interviewing graduates of Arizona State College and Northern Arizona University, including a number of individuals who spoke about working as educators on the Navajo Reservation for a period of time in their lives.

Local photographer Bob Fronske regularly took student pictures for Flagstaff High School and Coconino High School from the 1940s-1980s. Other photographers picked up his business afterwards, including Silver Fox Studio/Silver Images (1985-2000 ca.). A significant of Navajo students attended these two schools.

 

The Diné and Higher Education

Nurses Virginia Brown and Lillian Watson collected materials related to Navajo Community College in the 1960s and 1970s. Arizona Congressman Sam Steiger (serving 1967-1977) maintained several files related to the Navajo Community College and the Navajo Antioch Law School in the early 1970s. The Arizona Daily Sun has a clippings file pertaining to the college.

Former Arizona State College/Northern Arizona University presidents were actively interested in understanding how the institution could work more closely with the nation and other Diné-based educational institutions, including J. Lawrence Walkup (serving 1953-1977); Eugene Hughes (serving 1977-1993); and Clara Lovett (serving 1993-2001). The Northern Arizona University Photographs Collection (the majority of which is unprocessed) documents the activiites of the university's past Navajo students.

Local photographer Bob Fronske regularly took pictures for the Arizona State College and Northern Arizona University yearbooks and other publications, from the 1940s-1980s. Other photographers picked up his business afterwards, including Silver Fox Studio/Silver Images (1985-2000 ca.). A significant number of Navajo students were photographed at ASC/NAU as part of these photography businesses.

Special Collections and Archives provides access to documents and research generated by predominantly non-Diné people that focuses on traditional religious practices or places that have religious significance. Other records pertain to the presence of missions and churches either located on the reservation or designed to support the Diné.

Special Collections and Archives will not provide online access to anything deemed culturally sensitive by the Navajo through its digital archives. The resources below are available for viewing on-site in SCA, and in some cases may require advance approval prior to access.

  • View relevant publications available at Cline Library
  • Search the SCA digital archives for digitized information
  • Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:
    • Flagstaff Mission to the Navajo
    • Navajo--Christian Reading
    • Navajo--Religion
    • Navajo--Religion and Mythology 
    • Navajo--Sandpaintings
    • Navajo--Social Life and Customs

Diné Religion

The Day Family were traders in the 1880s through until the 1970s. A number of the members of the family were very interested in Navajo culture, in particular ceremonial songs, chants, and sandpaintings. Indian Agent Leo Crane documented a Yeibichai dance/gathering from the early 1920s. Anthropologist A.F. Whiting gathered materials related to Navajo religion between the 1920s and 1970s. In 1947, journalist Harold F. Osborne wrote about the curative nature of sandpaintings. Trader and pioneer George Babbitt interviewed a medicine man as part of a local oral history project he was doing in the 1940s and 1950s. Between the 1940s and 1960s, Anthropologist Robert C. Euler collected research files on Navajo witchcraft and dances. Psychiatrists Dorothea C. and Alexander H. Leighton researched and wrote on article on Navajo religion and health in 1967. Between 1968-1972, the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce kept a file on Navajo religion. In 1972, range scientist and environmentalist Don Lyngholm photographed a ceremony at Canyon de Chelley. In the 1990s and 2000s, Librarian Bob Coody collected research files related to New Age topics focused on Navajo religion and witchcraft.

Chairman of the Navajo Nation, Raymond Nakai (served 1963-1971), was supportive of religious freedom of the Native American Church, and kept research files and made a speech on the issue during his tenure.

 

Protection of Religious Diné Sites

Landowners Richard and Jean Wilson joined many other advocacy groups (including the Grand Canyon chapter of the Sierra Club; the Coconino Citizens Association and its members Dr. Walter and Nancy Taylor) in the 1970s and 1980s to fight development and to "Save the Peaks" from desecration to sacred sites for many nations, including the Navajo. Around the same time, geographer and activist John Duncklee researched and wrote his dissertation on the San Francisco Peaks and brought in the Indigenous perspective as part of his research.

The Rainbow Bridge National Monument Collection contains Indigenous religions perspectives on Rainbow Bridge between the 1940s and 1960s.

 

Colonial Influence

Civil engineer Philip Johnston's family built the Mission at Tolchaco; Philip collected a photograph of this mission ca. 1903. The Arizona Lumber and Timber Company kept files on Navajo missions ca. 1912. Florence Barker and Clara Holcomb worked as Plymouth Brethren Missionaries on the Navajo Reservation in the 1920s and 1930s and took many pictures. Photographer and filmmaker Tad Nichols photographed missions across the Southwest between the 1930s and 1990s. In 1950 (ca.), traders Troy and Edith Kennedy photographed the Christian Reform Church at Red Rock. Flagstaff photographer Bob Fronske took pictures of staff with the Mission to the Navajos, the Navajo Gospel Mission, and the First Navajo Baptist Church in the 1950s-1960s. In 1966, boatman and engineer L.C.B. McCullough photographed at the Navajo Mountain Mission. Collector and researcher Bruce Hooper retained research files on The Flagstaff Mission to the Navajos and the Navajo Gospel Mission buildings as part of the Flagstaff Building Timeline Collection. In 1999, United Indian Traders Association member Anthony Polvere photographed the Catholic Mission Church in Lukachukai, AZ.

 

Other Cultures

H.R. Voth was a missionary on the Hopi Reservation in the late 1800s. During his time there, he witnessed and photographed Navajo Katsinas at a Hopi dance.

Special Collections and Archives maintains a small selection of documents and recordings that focus on analyses of the Navajo language (Diné bizaad), which are found in a variety of unique collections.

  • Check out a selection of digitized items from our collections
  • View relevant publications available at Cline Library, including several titles written for primary school education
  • Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:
    • Native Americans--Language    

The Day Family were traders who, as part of their trading with the Navajo, gathered documentation about the Diné language in the late 1800s. Southwest author Zane Grey kept a 1908 journal containing a list of Navajo words with English translations. Conservationist and boatman P.T. Reilly collected publications related to Navajo culture, including language (Diné Bizad, published in 1910). Civil engineer A.H. Jones kept a file related to a Navajo lexicon (1920 ca.). Ethnobotanist A.F. Whiting researched Navajo language and its use in ethnobotany and linguistics (1930s-1970s). Civil engineer Philip Johnston, a fluent Diné speaker, worked alongside the Navajo to create a secret linguistic code based on the Diné language during World War II. Journalist Harold F. Osborne kept a file on Navajo language and pronunciation (1947). Psychiatrists Dorothea C. and Alexander H. Leighton kept files on Navajo language (and indigenous languages of North America more broadly), as well as an audio recordings of Navajo language learning (1940s-1950s). Nurses Virginia Brown, Ida Bahl, and Lillian Watson collected a file on Navajo words and phrases (1950 ca.). Linguistics professor P. David Seaman made recordings of Navajo speakers in the 1950s-1970s. Range scientist Don Lyngholm kept a file on Navajo language (1980 ca.). Arizona politician Karan English was involved with legislation related to the use of the Navajo language in elections. Alwin Girdner was interviewed by Special Collections and Archives in 2005 about his missionary family and their work among the Navajo in the 1920s-1930s; he was a fluent Navajo speaker.

Access any digitized materials related to the Navajo health at SCA's digital archives.

Check out published resources about Navajo health that are also available at the library.

Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:

  • Navajo--Alcohol Use
  • Navajo--Food
  • Navajo--Health

Navajo health issues were discussed by Navajo participants in the Southwestern Navajo Reservation Trade Relationships: the Navajo Perspective Oral Histories Collection. While serving as Chairman of the Navajo Nation (1963-1971), Raymond Nakai researched and spoke about issues facing the Navajo. In the 1970s, Southwestern Behavioral Institute's James Biglin talked with a number of Navajo people about their perspective on education, which oftentimes touched on issues of health.

Nurses Marie Olson, Florence Barker, and Virginia Brown, Ida Bahl, and Lillian Watson all served on the Navajo reservation in the 20th century. Dr. John Graffin was a physician in Shiprock in the early 1900s. Psychiatrists Dorothea C. and Alexander Leighton did oral histories with a number of Navajo people during this period. Nursing professor Veronica Evaneshko focused her efforts on diabetes and midwifery within the Navajo community.

Researcher and author Catherine Fehr-Elston gathered materials pertaining to Navajo health and nutrition. Willard Walker was an anthropologist interested in health care and medical practices on the Navajo reservation in the middle of the 20th century.

In the mid-1970s, then-President of NAU Eugene H. Hughes gathered materials about a potential affiliation with the American Indian School of Medicine. In the late 1990s, NAU librarian Bob Coody gathered a number of resources related to healthcare in the Southwest as part of a broader New Age Collection.

The Arizona Daily Sun photographs document a 1960 story on Navajo medicine.

Formal archaeological work done on specific sites in the Navajo Nation can generally be found in the following institutions:

Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:

  • Navajo Nation--Cultural Resource Management

The following collections in Special Collections and Archives feature archeological work done at some sites across the Navajo Nation by both professional and amateur anthropologists/archaeologists.

  • In 1909, Stuart M. Young served as the photographer for the Utah Archaeological Expedition to Rainbow Bridge. The expedition, led by Dr. Byron Cummings, documented and explored Betatakin, Batwoman Ruin, Kiet Siel, and Inscription House Ruin; it famously featured the first sighting of Rainbow Bridge by a non-indigenous group. 
  • During his college years, James J. Hanks accompanied Clyde Kluckhohn and companions including Lauriston Sharp, both later to become noted anthropologists and Harvard University faculty, on the 1927 and 1928 expeditions into the Navajo Indian Reservation, which resulted in the discovery of many ancient ruins and artifacts. Both expeditions were later described in 1933, Kluckhohn described the expeditions in his book, Beyond the Rainbow.
  • University of Arizona anthropology student Tad Nichols (taught and influenced by Professors Byron Cummings and Emil Haury), as part of his field school and later employment, took pictures and moving images of archaeological sites in the 1930s.
  • From the 1930s-1970, ethnobotanist A.F. Whiting gathered a file on Navajo archaeology, as did anthropologist Robert C. Euler, who also took pictures of archaeological sites and artifacts.
  • In his professional career, photographer Bill Belknap took pictures of archaeological work around the Navajo Nation.

Appropriation

"The unacknowledged or inappropriate adoption of the customs, practices, ideas, etc. of one people or society by members of another and typically more dominant people or society."

Courtesy the Oxford English Living Dictionary

'Navajo' is a term correlated with 27 unique collections in Special Collections and Archives. In most instances, collections cover topics related to activities within Navajo County, which was created in 1895 when it split from Apache County. Other uses point to the direct geographic proximity to the Navajo Nation where several of these locations are found. 

  • Navajo [Paddlewheel]
  • Navajo County (Will Croft Barnes helped establish the county)
  • Navajo Falls (Havasupai Reservation)
  • Navajo Lake (Utah); not the same as the one associated with Navajo Dam in New Mexico
  • Navajo Trail (Bryce Canyon National Park)
  • Navajo Creek (Glen Canyon National Recreation Area)
  • Navajo Sandstone (geological formation)
  • El Navajo Hotel (Gallup, NM)
  • Hotel Navajo (Winslow, AZ)
  • Navajo-Hopi Trading Post Co. building (Flagstaff, AZ)
  • Navajo and Apache County Bank and Trust Company (Winslow, AZ)

Additional General Resources

Come to Special Collections and Archives and ask for the following vertical/clippings file:

  • Navajo Centennial--1968               
  • Navajo--Acculturation      
  • Navajo--Authors          
  • Navajo--Bibliography       
  • Navajo--Business             
  • Navajo--Civil Rights  
  • Navajo--Culture                    
  • Navajo--Employment             
  • Navajo--Events              
  • Navajo--Gaming          
  • Navajo--History       
  • Navajo--Housing                       
  • Navajo--Marriage              
  • Navajo--Movies          
  • Navajo--Poverty       
  • Navajo--Railroads                  
  • Navajo--Statistics       
  • Navajo--Tourism        
  • Navajo--Tribal Fair

The Navajo/Dine section of this LibGuide was created by Jonathan Pringle in 2018.