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This is the first of John D Kennedy Southwest Indian Trading Books. They thrived in the world of trading -- three generations spanning over one hundred years in a unique profession. George E. Kennedy came west seeking adventure in 1898. He began the family saga; first managing the company store of a lumber company in the mountains southeast of Gallup, New Mexico. Many of the store customers were Navajo from whom he learned their language and customs. In 1912 he loaded two freight wagons with building supplies and inventory and set out for the Navajo reservation where he built a trading post at Salina Springs, ninety-eight miles northwest of Gallup. At the time the reservation was the size of West Virginia with about ten Indian traders in the entire region. He became known as Hosteen Tselani (Mr. Salina).
Later he owned the trading post at Canyon de Chelly (Shay) in Chinle, Arizona and finally,
Rock Springs twelve miles northwest of Gallup. His generation is presented in the first person by the author's grandmother. He is also protrayed in the book, Coyote. The early years were among Navajo people who spoke no English and had no money. Livestock, wool, hides, and rugs were used for trading essentials such as food. Until traders came to the reservation, there was no opportunity of the Navajos to obtain groceries and such. They lived from their land and trading with other tribes. Trading, based upon trust, was the means of mutual survival. GE Kennedy laid the cornerstone for his family's trading legacy.
The second generation, John W. Kennedy, began with his life among the Navajos and extended to the Zuni people, south of Gallup. Having been raised with livestock and trading, he became a prominent figure in the American Indian arts and crafts business. He introduced many business and marketing activities that enhanced the livelihood for thousands of craftspeople. He set the family standard for serving both community and industry. He remained active in trading until the age of 98. He passed away in 2015 at the age of 102.
John D. Kennedy, the third generation, learned trading and livestock business while his dad was a trader in Zuni Pueblo. At the age of nine years he become an active participant in the family trading enterprise. He continued his family legacy of protecting and enhancing the Indian arts and crafts business. In 1972 he founded the only trade association in the business, the Indian Arts and Crafts Association. Later he served on the Advisory Board of the National Park Service.
This book tells of the Kennedy family's journey in the world of trading in reflecting that who they are is who they were.