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Title: Turquoise in the History of the Southwest

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Turquoise in the ancient Southwest

Throughout history, peoples around the world have revered turquoise for its beauty. Turquoise comes from the earth but is the color of the sky. Indians of the American Southwest associate the semi-precious stone with early tribal stories and prayer. ...

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Title: Early Accounts of Turquoise Use by Native Americans

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Spanish explorers on the use of turquoise among the Pueblos

“In this pueblo they were all bedecked with turquoises, which hung from their noses and ears and which they call cacona.…The three days being over, many people gathered to go with me. I selected thirty prominent men, all very well dressed, wearin...

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Title: Turquoise Mining in the Southwest

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Turquoise mining among the Pueblos, Spanish, and Americans

Archaeologists have also found turquoise mines throughout Mesoamerica. One of the largest mines is in a mountain south of Santa Fe called Cuwimi Kai or Chalchihuitel—“a house inside which turquoise is found.” The Zuni often obtained...

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Title: Keneshde Tells His Story

Source(s): The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths

Author(s): Keneshde (Author); John Adair (Author)

A Zuni silversmith tells how he got the first piece of turquoise when he was fifteen from a mine east of Santo Domingo.

When I was a boy about fifteen years old, I used to help Kwaisedemon, who was my grandfather, make silver. He was my father's father, and at that time he was an old man. It was hard work for him to pound out silver, so I used to do that for him. In r...

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Title: Turquoise Trail

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Turquoise trade and Zuni jewelry.

The Zuni traded for turquoise stones for hundreds of years. They traded with the Santo Domingo and Cochiti Indians who had access to the turquoise mines. Later on the Spanish seized control of the mines. In the late 1800s Anglo mining interests took ...

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Title: Zuni Silver

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Introduction of silversmithing to the Southwest and Zunis.

The introduction of silver and silversmithing among the Indians in the Southwest dates from the middle of the 1800s. Mexican traders first introduced the Navajo to silver. Like pottery, migrations and trade among peoples spread jewelry-making designs...

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Title: Lanyade

Source(s): The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths

Author(s): John Adair (Author)

The first Zuni silversmith was a man named Lanyade. He tells this story at the age of 95.

When I was a young man about thirty years old [1872], a Navajo came to Zuni who knew how to make silver. This man’s Navajo name was Atsidi Chon. I had traveled through the Navajo country a good many times, on my way to the Hopi villages, and I knew ...

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Title: Hopi Silver

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

How the Hopis came to be silversmiths.

Silversmithing in the American Southwest tells a story of creative encounters among peoples. The Navajos probably learned the art of silversmithing from Mexican artisans. Oral tradition recalls that a Navajo taught silversmithing to a Zuni man named ...

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Title: The Legend of Swift Wind

Source(s): Apache Legends: Songs of the Wind Dancer

Author(s): Lou Cuevas (Author); Lou Cuevas (Author)

The tale of a boy who, transformed into a roadrunner, saves his people from wolves.

Many ages ago, when the land belonged to the ancient Ndee, later known as the Apache, the Swift Wind story came into being. Since then, some have forgotten the tale, some do not understand it. Even today, among many clans, there are few who know of i...

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Title: Navajo

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Navajo history: early migration from Alaska and Canada to encounters with the Spanish and war with the United States; concludes with an account of contemporary Navajo life.

Traditional Navajo, or Diné, stories tell that First Man, First Woman, the Holy People, and all the animals had to pass through three different worlds before emerging into the Fourth or Glittering World. Here, the People saw four rivers bounded by f...

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