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October:December 2016

Volume 13, Issue 4

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Trading Post Times

R i v e r T r a d i n g P o s t

N EARLY E XTINCT , THE C HURRO S HEEP S URVIVES FOR N AVAJO W EAVERS

Fred Harvey was a classic entrepreneur who developed the Harvey House lunch rooms, restaurants, souvenir shops, and hotels, which served rail passengers on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, the Gulf Coast and Santa Fe Railway, the Kansas Pacific Railway, the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway, and the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis. As an innovative restaura- teur and marketer, Fred Harvey is credited with cre- ating the first restaurant chain in the United States. He was also a leader in pro- moting tourism in the Navajo-Churro sheep are descended from the Churra, an ancient Iberian breed. The Churra was the very first breed of domesticat- ed sheep in the New World. It was imported to New Spain by the Spanish in the 16th century and was used to feed and clothe the armies of the conquistadors and Spanish settlers. It was par- ticularly valued for its hardiness, it’s silky wool and it’s fecundity. Due to the excessive drought in the 1930’s, the U.S. government co duct d a stock reduction of the Native-owned Churro and other livestock. Sheep, goats, cows and horses were slaughtered or thrown into arroyos and burned, making the unique breed nearly extinct.

Navajo weavers are among the very finest in the world. They are not only known for their exceptionally fine weaving, but for the cultural traditions that are reflect- ed in each rug or blanket.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE:

What is an American Indian? A Dilemma.

2

Creation of these fine Navajo textiles has a simple beginning, with the four horned Churro Sheep.

Old Tails from an Old Friend

3

Great Gift Ideas for You 4

SPECIAL POINTS OF INTEREST:

• 22nd Annual Native American Harvest

Pow Wow. September 24 & 25. Naper Settlement, Naperville, Il.

• Pueblo Seasonal Dances. Please check Pueblos for dates and times.

Today the Navajo Churro Sheep Association strives to pre- serve the “old type sheep.” And, the association been suc- cessful as the Churro population grows, and no longer is on the endangered species list. Today the long, shaggy wool from the sheep is carefully carded and hand spun into a virtual rainbow of colors, which today is sold to Navajo weavers at a few Southwest trading posts such as Burnham’s in Sanders, Arizona.

The Navajo weaving tradition continues today. From the wool of this four-horned Churro sheep to the exquisite weavings produced by the Navajo weavers.

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