Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Apache: Spirtuality but No Jewels

My trading post acquisitions have recently been very limited; but no problem, half the fun is in the research. Last weekend I spent in Santa Fe at the annual Native American Treaures Show. I didn't buy any new stock, but I did meet some of the current top jewelry artists. This weekend I decided to retreat to the high elevations of the tall Ponderosa Pines to explore the White River Apache reservation, but once again I came back rather empty handed. I met the owner of one of the trading posts of Pinedale, AZ who claimed to have come from a line of Indian traders going all the way back to namesake of the famous Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, Arizona. I noticed he had a limited supply of Zuni, Navajo, and Hopi jewelry in his shop which is located in town just few minutes from the White River Apache reservation. I told him that in all my explorations of the day I had seen precious little that was Apache derived: some buckskin clothing, beadwork, and a few baskets. As he talked he also worked without hesitation attaching ceremonial bells to straps of leather for his Apache clients. He explained, "The Apache do not care about crafts or jewelry, they are into Spiritual expressions." I left grateful for the information and the fact that he directed me to a place for a beautiful evening hike overlooking the famed Mongolian rim. But before my sunset hike I continued exploring and discovered the sign shown here. So for all my market research which included a trip to old Fort Apache, I returned with no jewels, no beads or buckskin, but I can proudly point to my one image of the trip: someone's manifestation of Apache spirituality.