Along Navajo Trails -...
A piece of Navajo history otherwise forgotten: the first-hand observations of a Mormon trader on the culture and art of his Navajo contemporariesThe overwhelming interest of Will Evans, proprietor of the Shiprock Trading Company, in Navajo culture spanned a half century. He shared his enthusiasm through frequent publication of portraits, vignettes, and essays; he also compiled much of his writing into a book manuscript. His subjects were his customers, friends, and neighbors, their stories of historic events such as the Long Walk, and their life as he understood it. Evans’s writings were colored by his uncommon friendship and familiarity with Navajo people but also by who he was: a trader, folk artist, and Mormon. Inspired by sand paintings, Evans appropriated their sacred images for his own paintings of murals and everyday objects. In his writing, he preserved unique records of Navajo history and of individuals about whom little biographical information otherwise remains. Much of that was based on what he heard from his Navajo acquaintances, but it also drew on his direct observations and particular beliefs about the people, their culture, and their history. Evans’s granddaughter Susan E. Woods collaborated with historian Robert S. McPherson, author of numerous books on Navajo and Four Corners history, to prepare and publish Will Evans’s manuscript, which is illustrated with a remarkable and rare selection of photos from the collections of Evans and his colleagues.