Wide Ruins: Memories from a Navajo Trading Post
Newlyweds Sallie Wagner and Bill Lippincott came to the Navajo Reservation in 1938. Before they knew it, they owned a trading post at Wide Ruins, Arizona. The years they spent there were the best of their lives, and this lively, honest memoir recalls them in detail. Trading post life combined business with the kinds of experiences generally associated with anthropological field work. Like many traders, Sallie Wagner influenced the weavers whose rugs she purchased. She was one of the traders who persuaded weavers to use vegetal dyes, leaving a permanent legacy in Navajo weaving. Tourists discovered Indian reservations in the 1930s, and the Lippincotts were visited often by friends and strangers alike, many unable to navigate reservation roads.
This story is a must read for those interested in the Navajo people in the early days. Sallie Wagner has managed to catch and retain the essence of what it meant to be white in a Navajo world that was unbelievably different.--Edward T. Hall