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Navajo Trading: The End of an Era
Published in Hardcover by University of New Mexico Press (2001)
Author: Willow Roberts Powers
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Caught between a plethora of beautiful picture books written by visitors who rush undigested material into print and scholarly tomes too pithy and densely packed with jargon to be understood by anyone, sometimes even the author, it is rare to find a book that is written by an academic thoroughly versed in her subject yet so enjoyable to read that it may as well be a novel. You will find Professor Willow Roberts Powers' "Navajo Trading the end of an era" a joy to read for its lively style, and you will gain an introduction to and an understanding of a complex period in our national history.
The text is enlivened with quotes from oral histories of Navajo Indians and traders who lived together through friendship and animosity, trust and fear, hardship and wealth. It is evident that Powers understands her subject from decades of contact and is able to outline the intricate social and political interactions that changed the lives of people in the Southwest in fundamental ways.
I know some of the people in the book, many are still alive, and even after years of contact I feel I know them better now that I have read their story as Powers writes it, casting light in the cobwebby corners of memory and bringing a time past into clear view. The era may have ended but the story and its people still live today in its aftermath.

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