Shopping locally on the rez

By Krista Allen and Cindy Yurth
Navajo Times

CHINLE and TO' NANEES DIZI, Dec. 12, 2013

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(Times photos - Cindy Yurth)

TOP: How about this camouflage Santa hat for the veteran on your list, or his offspring? Just $4 at the Chinle flea market.

BOTTOM: Handmade fleece jackets in Pendleton designs, seen here at the Chinle flea market, are both warm and a Native American fashion statement.

One of the best, not to mention funnest, things you can do for your community is to shop locally.

Window Rock is getting some nice options, with the cute boutiques in the Enterprise Center, and those Diné located near tourist attractions like Canyon de Chelly are lucky to have a variety of motel gift shops to peruse.

And there's always the Navajo Arts and Crafts Enterprise.

But for many in the hinterlands of the rez, shopping locally means the local flea market.

Strictly speaking, the flea markets aren't all that local.

It's amazing how far people travel to tap the not-exactly-lucrative market of Chinle, for example.

But at least you're putting your money directly into the hands of an entrepreneur who is willing to brave mud, dust and extremes of temperature instead of a multinational corporation known for treating its workers poorly and stealing business from mom-and-pop stores on Main Street.

For your lack of effort (it's much easier to negotiate the potholes at the flea market than to drive all the way to Gallup or Flagstaff), you will be rewarded with deals even better than those at the box stores.

And you haven't spent $30 on gas and $10 on lunch to grab yourself a bargain.

This past weekend, two Navajo Times reporters challenged themselves to cruise their respective flea markets for Christmas gifts.

Flea markets abound in Krista Allen's remote area of the rez, but she chose to drive to the large one in Tuba City, which has the best selection.

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