Pilot Getaways magazine is for the aviator who is looking for adventure travel. This gorgeous publication does an excellent job of finding places of interest across the Country and promoting area attractions. Crista Worthy is the Technical Editor of the magazine and did a feature on Gallup, New Mexico. She is also a Native American art enthusiast and a big fan of the Four Corners area. We have put some of the images from the article and text for your enjoyment. If you are looking for a wonderful travel magazine that is full of pictures contact www.pilotgetaways.com for subscription information and to order the November/December 2010 publication for the complete Gallup article. It tells you where to stay, eat, and places to visit in Gallup that include Perry Null Trading Company.
From November/December 2010 Pilot Getaways magazine "Gallup, New Mexico The Real Old West":
The early trading posts were founded as a way for the Indians to trade their wool, maize, and hand-woven blankets and rugs, for staples they were unable to obtain on the reservations, such as cloth, groceries, and hardware. Men like Hubbell learned the Navajo language and understood that in the matrilineal Native American cultures, sheep, saddles, and silver jewelry took the place of money, and were bartered instead of sold for cash. Trading posts became interfaces between Indian and Anglo societies. You can watch this interface today if you visit a Gallup trading post to shop for Native American art and jewelry—two of the best are Perry Null’s and Richardson’s. Perry Null is also a pilot and flies a turbocharged Cessna 210. Over the years he’s used it to visit his kids in college, for Colorado ski trips, Phoenix winter ball games, and Telluride’s July 4th celebration. He and his family often fly to Monument Valley or Sedona for breakfast or Winslow for lunch on Route 66.
The Perry Null Trading Company has been doing business in Gallup since the 1930s, when it opened as Tobe Turpen’s Trading Post (don’t miss the mural outside). Step into Perry Null’s and be astounded at the quantity of turquoise—more than I thought existed in the whole world—with racks of necklaces made from beads, hand-drilled by Santo Domingo puebloans. The vast majority of “turquoise” sold in department stores or online is fake, but not here. The expert staff can usually tell you exactly which mine a particular stone came from.
Perry started trading in the 1970s, developing personal relationships with most of the finest Zuni, Hopi, and Navajo artists. A superb Zuni inlayer like Harlan Coonsis will step in quietly, package under his arm. When Perry sees him across the room, his eyes light up and he beckons the artist over. The latest masterpieces are unveiled: a bighorn sheep bolo tie beautifully rendered from mother-of-pearl, and a dozen different colorful birds, each feather individually etched. Perry knows when a particular piece is a design the artist has never tried before, and he frequently gives unique stones to the best artists, commissioning them to create something special.
If you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, ask: you may have missed it, or perhaps they can have it made for you. You’ll also find stunning pottery and kachina dolls—check out Gene Autry’s priceless silver saddle! The “Rug Room” overflows with hundreds of the finest hand-woven rugs. Like jazz, this is all-original, American art, and its creation and sale brings dignity to its creators.
In the last few decades, the quality and diversity of design of Indian jewelry has increased exponentially, with certain artist’s works becoming highly collectable. High-end Santa Fe galleries charge thousands of dollars for some pieces, but why shop there when you can buy from the trading post where the artists originally chose to bring their works? Gallup prices are more competitive, and you can often get the inside story behind the particular piece you hold in your hand. Ask—you’ll be amazed at the expertise of this staff.
Aside from being the conduit where original art makes its way from the reservation to the world at large, authentic trading posts like Perry Null also serve as banks and giant vaults, safely storing ceremonial jewelry used only once a year, or rifles for hunting season; ask for a tour. Indian families often bring prized possessions like heirloom jewelry or saddles in when they need cash, returning a few months later to pick up their valuables. On the rare occasions when an item has not been claimed or paid for over a year, it becomes “dead pawn”. Once a month, Perry pulls dead pawn items and puts them out for sale, some with unique historical value.