Exhibit showcases, honors Dinnebito Trading Post rug collection
In 1948, Charles and Grace Herring, the old Toadlena Trading Post owners, decided that they wanted to take a week’s vacation. They left Elijah Blair in command of their store.
The Herrings had been gone for a few days, when a Navajo woman came into the store to trade.
“She had a rug, a Two Grey Hills, and I had seen another one of these rugs to know that some of them were really outstanding,” Blair wrote in his recent book entitled “From Hoot Owl Holler to Indian Country.”
They were genuine rugs. The woman brought it in.
“I remember this rug was probably not much bigger than 3 feet by 4 feet, something like that,” he wrote.
Blair paid the woman $600 eventually.
“I thought at the time, ‘Man, that is some price to pay for a 3 feet by 4 feet rug.’ I’m sure it wasn’t much bigger than that. I had seen Charles buy these. I went ahead and paid the (woman) $600 for the rug. All that time Charles and Grace were gone, I was worried that I paid too much.”
For more than 60 years as a trader, Blair, also known as Jaa’yáázh and 87, collected and bought rugs from Diné weavers who in all likelihood have traded thousands of dollars worth of textiles.
And for the past two years, the rugs have been displayed at the John Wesley Powell Museum, honoring and providing an exhibit entitled, “Weaver’s Trail: Honoring Navajo Weaving at Dinnebito Trading Post” for 17 rugs from Blair’s Family Collection.