Hubbell Trading Post
Administrative History
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A re-dedication of Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site occurred April 4, 1992. Some of the original participants attended the ceremony. Unlike the first dedication held on September 7, 1967, which was punctuated by an uninvited cloudburst that drove all of the distinguished guests into the bullpen, the 1992 dedication activities featured blue sky.

Dedication ceremony

Figure 42. Dedication Ceremony, September 7, 1967. Secretary of the Interior, Stewart L. Udall, talking in the bullpen. LaCharles Eckel is to his left, Dorothy Hubbell to the left of Mrs. Eckel. Rain drove everybody under cover. NPS photo.

Dedication Ceremony, September 7, 1967

The invitations read: "The National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Southwest Monuments Association request the honor of your presence at the dedication of Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site, Ganado, Arizona, on Thursday, the seventh of September, nineteen hundred and sixty-seven at four o'clock in the afternoon; The dedicatory address will be given by the Hon. Stewart L. Udall, Secretary of the Interior."

Master of Ceremonies for the event was John E. Cook, then Superintendent of both Canyon de Chelly National Monument and Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. Cook had been living at Hubbell Trading Post during most of the past year. ("I went down there intentionally to get a feeling for the place.... I wanted to start Hubbell Trading Post right. I wanted it to be a special place in the National Park System." [1]

Invocation was by Reverend Glen Williamson of the Presbyterian Church, Ganado Mission.

Welcome to Hubbell Trading Post was by Wescoat S. Wolfe, Supervisory Historian at Hubbell Trading Post, the trading post's first resident historian. (Wolfe himself had not been in Ganado for long. John Cook had asked for him to be assigned to the trading post because Wolfe had a reputation for outstanding work. The historian and his family had come from Washington, D.C. They were put up in a mobile home that had been brought in for them and parked out by HB-5 The Wolfe's first evening in Ganado, after dinner with John Cook and his family, their daughter ran into the Manager's Residence all out of breath and exclaimed: "Mommy, Daddy, Indians, Indians! " Cook's daughter went out to take a look. When she returned she said: "There aren't any Indians out there, just Navajo." [2] Wescoat Wolfe was later Superintendent of Hubbell Trading Post, from 12 January, 1969 to 9 February, 1969, less than a month.)

Blessing Ceremony was performed by Friday Kinlicheenie, the longtime employee of the trading post, who is also a medicine man.

Remarks were made by the Honorable Raymond Nakaai, Chairman, Navajo Tribal Council.

Address was of course by the Honorable Stewart L. Udall, who was also one of the first people to start working to bring the trading post into the National Park System. At the time, Udall was the Secretary of the Interior.

Benediction was by the Reverend Emanuel Trockur, O.F.M.

Conducted tours of the Hubbell home and the trading post were staged between 1:00 and 3:45 P.M., and there were other tours, as well as refreshments, after the dedication. In spite of the rain---or because of it?---the dedication was considered a success; with all those people crowded into the bullpen, surely some of them must have gotten to know each other.

The Blessing Way After Lightning Struck a Tree at Hubbell Trading Post [3]

Bill Young and Friday Kinlicheenie dropped by to see Superintendent Tom Vaughan not long after lightning struck a tree at the trading post. This was in the days when Friday was riding his horse to work; he fear that he would no longer be able to allow his horse to graze at the trading post, that the lightning could have caused impurities in the grass. Furthermore, the lightning might have polluted food in the houses, it might just spoil the goods on the shelves in the trading post, and the evil could possible reach as far as Washington, D.C. Bill Young translated for Friday.

Tom had never before had any experience with the kind of lightning that Friday was describing through Bill Young, but he did ask what might be done to clear up the matter. The place could need a Blessing Way ceremony, Friday explained. Tom told them he would consider it. Friday went on to say that all the local Navajo were truly concerned, that the situation would have to be put to rest with a Blessing Way.

That night one of the trading post employees drove a car into a horse, killing the horse and seriously injuring the rider. The next day, while a restoration crew was at work in the barn, a roof beam broke. Nobody in the barn was injured, but it was a close run thing. Tom Vaughan could take a hint, and by that time everybody at the trading post---not only the Navajo---was ready for a Blessing Way. The office was closed at ten o'clock the next morning. The trading post closed its doors. Visitors were told that no business would be conducted until after the ceremony. If the visitors cared to do so, however, they could participate in or watch the ceremony.

The participants went into the compound and sat in a circle on the ground. While chanting his prayers, the singer buried bits of turquoise at the base of the contaminated tree. Friday and one of the trading post weavers acted as the singer's assistants. A wedding basket with a potion; consisting of blossoms, leaves, and other plant parts was passed around. The wedding basket went the rounds again and this time everybody dipped their fingers in the potion. After the finger dunking, the participants trooped off through the buildings, following the chanting singer as he and his assistants put their fingers in the wedding basket and flicked the potion around the rooms. Hoping that the menace had been dispelled by the ceremony, Tom had the office and the trading post reopened and everybody went back to work. Tom heard a tourist from the East saying, "They'll never believe this back home." Maybe not, but if you're going to live and work in Ganado, you'd better maintain an open mind. Indeed, most of the people who have served at Hubbell Trading Post insist that while you're there you should keep your mind open and ready to sample some notions that are going to be brand new to you. The ways of the traditional Navajo will be more "foreign" to a mainstream American that is the lifestyle of say, a citizen of Germany or Denmark.

As Tom Vaughan recalls the incident, Bill Young contributed the wedding basket and also paid $100.00 to the singer for his services. Tom put in a requisition for the money, hoping to repay Bill, but he was never able to recover it. Who knows, that particular requisition may still be floating around, looking for a place to come to rest.

Friday Kinlicheenie

Figure 43. Friday Kinlicheenie doing a Blessing Way ceremony in the bullpen in May, 1972. A niece is assisting him. NPS photo.

It has been fairly common for a Navajo singer [4] to perform a Blessing Way ceremony at one or another of the buildings at the trading post. Friday Kinlicheenie performed such Blessing Way rites while he was there. For example, on Establishment Day he went through the trading post chanting prayers while his assistant, in this case a niece of his, sprinkled cornmeal on the walls, thereby ensuring the safety of everyone and everything within those walls.

Daughters of the American Colonists

In 1965 Mrs. Emry Kopta was working with the Arizona State Society of the Daughters of the American Colonists. She was the author of a resolution by the Arizona chapter of that society to make the acquisition of Hubbell Trading Post its "National Project for 1965." The Arizona chapter of the society wrote all of the chapters in the other states to ask them to write their congressional delegations so that they might support the Hubbell bill. Nobody will ever know how many of the chapters did comply with the request, but the Arizona chapter did receive some replies indicating that the request had been at least a partial success. Nobody will ever know what effect the Society of the Daughters of the American Colonists had on the eventual passing of the Hubbell Trading Post bill. [5] However, lest their effort be forgotten, let part of their story be recorded here.

A program to dedicate a plaque at Hubbell Trading Post was held by them at the trading post on the 16th of May, 1969. Ned Danson was invited to speak. He replied to their request that he would be there, that he would be driving down from Canyon de Chelly in the morning. He promised to make his talk short, and, "because everybody knows about Hubbell Trading Post," he would explain how the work to get Hubbell Trading Post into the Park Service was started and "about some of the funny things that happened in the Park Service while we were working on the problem." He would give enough of the historic background of the trading post to make it all "worthwhile." [6]

Because most of the members of the society were from Phoenix and Tucson, and it would be a long drive back for them, the program was held at 9:30 A.M. Mrs. Walter R. Stokes read a prayer, and the pledge of allegiance was led by Mrs. Roy V. Shrewder. Dorothy Hubbell made the welcoming address. A response to the welcoming address was given by Mrs. Roland M. James. Mrs. Fredrick J. Gwinner introduced John Cook, who was then Superintendent of the Navajo Lands Group. Ned Danson gave his address and then the plaque was unveiled by Mrs. LeRoy Garrigus. Introductions were by Mrs. James P. Lanehart, a prayer by the chaplain. [7]

On the Road: Shows, Fairs, Exhibits, Galleries

The traders at Hubbell Trading Post have never been bashful about putting their wares on the road so that interested citizens in other parts of the country can get a chance to admire them. Rugs and other arts and crafts from the trading post have been as far afield as Chicago.

During the fall of 1991, some rugs from Hubbell Trading Post NHS were displayed in the museum in Kent Hall at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces. The exhibit was called "Contemporary Navajo Weaving---Hubbell Trading Post, Ganado, Arizona," and was sponsored by the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibit was part of the Traveling Exhibition Program. Twenty-six examples of weaving from the trading post's rug room were included, mostly rugs, but a few saddle blankets were included. It was an attractive selection. The rugs were from Ganado, Klagetoh, Two Grey Hills, and Chinle, and were good examples of the fine weaving to be found in Hubbell Trading Post's Rug Room. The rugs were for sale, and some of them did sell. The exhibit was a good advertisement, although there was no indication that the trading post is part of our National Park System. [8]

Hubbell Trading Post's arts and crafts have been going on the road almost from the very moment that the NPS and SPMA took over. Hubbell Trading Post's crafts are represented at the Navajo Tribal Fair, the Intertribal Gallup Ceremonial, and at many other regional fairs and shows. If there is going to be an arts and crafts exhibit at a fair or show, Hubbell Trading Post will be there. As well as being good public relations for the trading post, Hubbell always comes away with its share of prizes.

All of this off-site activity is in the best tradition of Hubbell Trading Post; J.L. Hubbell himself wasn't shy about advertising his rugs, and, like C.N. Cotton in Gallup, he had a catalog produced. Lorenzo Hubbell, the nonstop businessman, was always on the alert for dealers and other outlets for his blankets and rugs. He did business with the Hyde Exploring Expedition (the Wetherill brothers, who were in the trading business for many years after they gave up exploring for Anasazi ruins) and the Fred Harvey Company. The Fred Harvey Company, with its outlets along the railroads, let very few train travelers get across the continent without seeing an Indian rug. The Fred Harvey Alvarado Hotel, in Albuquerque, bought $25,000 worth of rugs when they were selling for $20.00 to $150.00. Hubbell was able to establish market outlets as far away as Chicago and New York. It is interesting to note that sales in those distant places would eventually influence what the Navajo weaver was producing; the styles that sold were the styles the traders encouraged their weavers to make. The modern Navajo rug is the result of Anglo finagling and business acumen, and Navajo whimsy and creativity.

Newspaper clippings on file at the site give some indication of past activities: Rugs from Hubbell have been on exhibit at the Wheelwright Museum, Santa Fe; the Kaibab Shop, Tucson. In 1976, Sadie Curtis wove an American flag rug; an Arizona flag rug was woven by Mary Lee Begay. Both flag rugs were auctioned off on December 12, 1976, at the Arizona Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona. The Arizona flag went for $3,750, the U.S. flag for $4,000, and the money was donated to the scholarship fund at the Navajo Community College, at Tsaile. [9] This sampling should suffice to indicate the extent of off-site activities for the trading post. However, it should be noted, too, that Hubbell Trading Post's Trader/Managers have often volunteered their time to be judges at arts and crafts shows.


The Trader/Managers have been doing their share to advertise the existence of Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. Some of these trips are expensive, and money earned has not always justified the cost in time and money spent. [10] It's difficult to gauge to what extent such activities help to bring in new customers, but in the long run the trips are probably a good investment.

It is evident that the general public, even citizens of the Southwest, do not know of Hubbell Trading Post. The magnificent collection of art and artifacts goes largely unappreciated, unnoticed. However, if the present curator at the historic site has his way, the museum collection should get more coverage---and possibly cover some ground (see Cultural Resources II, the Museum Collection).

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Last Updated: 28-Aug-2006