By Will Evans
Will Evans's writings should still discover a precise area of interest within the small yet major physique of literature from and approximately investors to the Navajos. Evans used to be the owner of the Shiprock buying and selling corporation. most likely greater than so much of his fellow investors, he had a robust curiosity in Navajo tradition. the hassle he made to list and proportion what he discovered definitely was once strange. He released within the Farmington and New Mexico newspapers and different periodicals, compiling lots of his items right into a e-book manuscript. His topics have been Navajos he knew and traded with, their tales of ancient occasions akin to the lengthy stroll, and outlines in their tradition as he, an interloper with out educational education, understood it. Evans's writings have been coloured by way of his fondness for, unusual entry to, and friendships with Navajos, and by way of who he used to be: a dealer, people artist, and Mormon. He competently portrayed the operations of a buying and selling submit and knew either the cloth and inventive worth of Navajo crafts. His paintings used to be commonly encouraged by means of Navajo sandpainting. He appropriated and, without doubt, occasionally misappropriated that sacred artwork to color surfaces and items of every kind. As a Mormon, he had specific perspectives of who the Navajos have been and what they believed and used to be consultant of a giant classification of often-overlooked investors. a lot of the Navajo exchange within the 4 Corners zone and farther west was once operated by way of Mormons. that they had an important ancient position as intermediaries, or agents, among local and eu American peoples during this a part of the West. good attached on the heart of that global, Evans used to be a superb spokesperson.
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Additional resources for Along Navajo Trails: Recollections of a Trader 1898-1948
Introduction Today, Evans would be considered an apologist. He was deeply entrenched in Latter-day Saint theology, and so his main goal was to show how Navajo beliefs connected to church dogma. He superimposed his scriptural knowledge over what he encountered in Navajo ceremonies and oral tradition to provide proof of his own beliefs and justiﬁcation for theirs. This is not to suggest that he intentionally distorted what he found but only that he was primed to interpret his ﬁndings in a particular vein.
19 Missionaries Will Evans, Lucy Bloomﬁeld, Ralph Evans, Clyde Beyal (interpreter), and George Bloomﬁeld of the Young Stake Lamanite Mission, preparing to baptize Navajo converts at Crystal, New Mexico. 34 Although he continued to work in the store, Evans served diligently and traveled constantly as the ﬁrst person to hold this position. 35 The drawings also may have assisted in overcoming limitations of his “trader Navajo” language, which did not have the capacity to translate deeper religious beliefs.
As author and friend John Stewart MacClary wrote of him, “The ‘intellectual storekeeper’ role does not fully portray the character of the man. Yes, he is a storekeeper. His trading post provides home and livelihood. ”59 In a letter dated October 16, 1938, Evans wrote of his very speciﬁc intentions to preserve the culture. A few months before this, he had taken an old loose-leaf ledger lying around his trading post, had covered the worn leather with muslin, then had drawn on the front a picture of Shiprock and an old Indian woman walking with her dog.