Our Corner of the Southwest
“The ceremony was started so women would be able to have children and the human race would be able to multiply.” (Frisbie:1967)
It was late November when my friends and I set out for a Kinaaldá, Navajo coming of age ceremony for girls. We drove in the dark over rutted dirt roads high in the Chuska range and arrived at the family’s Sawmill home near midnight. After parking our car under some tall pines we walked towards the gathering. The sacred corn cake (alkaan) cooked in a large, circular pit east of the hogan and a fragrant fire of pinon and juniper burned nearby. Small groups of darkly clad Navajo stood quietly, illuminated by the light of the fire.
First, you are going to want to learn how to make adobe mud. This is going to be a dirt, clay, straw and water mixture. The important thing here is you want a consistency you can work with. Once you have the mud you are going to need some type of mold to shape the bricks. A wooden brick mold is a popular choice in this area.
Now that we have shared the recipe for delicious Navajo Fry Bread, it is time to make the most famous Navajo dish of all. You will find the Navajo Taco served in local restaurants, sold on the sides of highways here in the Four Corners and a favorite at area carnivals and fairs. Follow this easy Navajo Taco Recipe for dinner tonight.
How to Build a Navajo Hogan
Have you been thinking about getting back to nature? Maybe adding a tree house to your yard? Well, you might want to consider a Navajo hogan. It is just going to take some manual labor, a vision and an admiration of a style of dwelling that has housed inhabitants of the Four Corners for centuries. Follow our easy "How to Build a Navajo Hogan" instructions.
Navajo Fry Bread Recipe
You can't go far in the Four Corners without finding some Navajo fry bread for sale. This legendary Native American bread is found at fairs, rodeos, ceremonials, pageants, graduations and any other reason to celebrate. It can be eaten alone, with honey or as a full meal when served as the Navajo Taco. Below you will find the Navajo Fry Bread Recipe.
Perry Null purchased the Tobe Turpen Trading Post in Gallup, NM from Tobe Turpen Jr. It had been started on the north side of Gallup in the 1920s by his father Tobe Turpen Sr., a family with a rich history of trading, which makes for some great stories and a better understanding of how the business has evolved.
Many of us set out on our life’s journey trying to mold it. We want to end up where we think we should go, and do the things that we believe will get us there. Some of us however take a much different path, letting life happen. Jimmy Turpen let life happen and in return he has lived a full life. I could have spent hours listening to him give me his history, but I could tell his story could not be told in hours. He is a man who has much to share on the history of Gallup trading posts.
New Mexico has a rich history associated with the Wild West, Santa Fe Trail, Billy the Kid, and Native Americans. The state has the misfortune of being the home of the Long Walk and the fortune of having the largest Native American population in the United States. Some families have very close ties with the history of these people and one of those families is the Vanderwagens. Esther Vanderwagen shares some of the history of Zuni trading posts with us.
Gallup, New Mexico has a fascinating history with the Navajo, Zuni, & Hopi peoples. It is a trading center for all three of these Native American Reservations. Many families which were early settlers in this area are still here today. The Kamps family is one of these with a rich local history. This family has done mission work, healed the sick and delivered many new Gallupians, and taught generations of children. Roland Kamps was my teacher for 8th Grade History. He came into the Trading Post to show Perry some rugs his father had owned, and he wanted to sell.
Old photo of Tobe Turpen's trading post
The photo displayed to the left was taken in 1900 at the original sight of Gallup, New Mexico Trading Post: Tobe Turpen's Trading Post and shows John Lorenzo Hubbell, the owner, pictured in the center wearing a dark suit and hat. The counter shown in this photo was moved to the current Tobe Turpen's Trading Post on Second Street in Gallup NM and can be seen there today.
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