Weaving in Beauty August Day 2: The Trip to Hubbell

Geno Bahe talks about the history of the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site

Window Rock, AZ Today was a beautiful summer day, just right for a trip to Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, about 30 miles west of here.  We headed for a shady spot in the parking lot and managed to park right next to Geno Bahe.  Geno now works part time in the trading post, but worked as a ranger at Hubbell for 19 years.  He is a wealth of knowledge on the history of Hubbell Trading Post and on the community of Ganado.   Geno kindly took time from his break to talk to the class and you can see him in the picture above.

Juan Lorenzo Hubbell came to the Ganado area in the mid-1870’s, about eight years after the Long Walk, and in addition to his trading business, he homesteaded 160 acres just south of the boundary of the Navajo Nation.  When the boundary was extended, the Hubbell site was left as an island of private land surrounded by the reservation, a status that it retains today.  Juan Lorenzo grew corn and alfalfa and also herded sheep and cattle.  Current park superintendent Ann Worthington has restored irrigation to the fields and the site once again grows crops and supports a small flock of sheep, as you can see in the picture below.

Churro sheep and a guard llama graze at Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site.

We were treated to a tour of the Hubbell home by ranger Ailema Benally, whose obvious love of the site and it’s place in the history of the community of Ganado added to the wealth of information that she gave us on Juan Lorenzo Hubbell and his family.  To paraphrase Ailema’s words, this is a special place where people worked hard to try to make life bettereveryone in the area.  The site is still a focal point of the community of Ganado and Hubbell will be holding a Mini Sheep is Life Celebration next Sunday, August 9.   This event will feature weaving demonstrations and celebrations of the traditional Navajo lifeway.

We will be off to help Rose Dedman gather wild carrots in the morning, and since it’s nearly, make that past,  midnight, I’ll go ahead and close this and write more tomorrow.  All of the students are making great progress on their work, and we’re having a good time.

Hagoshíí (so long for now)

Mary Walker

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