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Indian-Made: Navajo Culture in the Marketplace, 1868-1940 (Culture America)

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Indian-Made: Navajo Culture in the Marketplace, 1868-1940 (Culture America) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In works of silver and wool, the Navajos have established a unique brand of American craft. And when their artisans were integrated into the American economy during the late nineteenth century, they became part of a complex cultural and economic framework in which their handmade crafts conveyed meanings beyond simple adornment.

As Anglo tourists discovered these crafts, the Navajo weavings and jewelry gained appeal from the romanticized notion that their producers were part of a primitive group whose traditions were destined to vanish. Erika Bsumek now explores the complex links between Indian identity and the emergence of tourism in the Southwest to reveal how production, distribution, and consumption became interdependent concepts shaped by the forces of consumerism, race relations, and federal policy.

Bsumek unravels the layers of meaning that surround the branding of "Indian made." When Navajo artisans produced their goods, collaborating traders, tourist industry personnel, and even ethnologists created a vision of Navajo culture that had little to do with Navajos themselves. And as Anglos consumed Navajo crafts, they also consumed the romantic notion of Navajos as "primitives" perpetuated by the marketplace. These processes of production and consumption reinforced each other, creating a symbiotic relationship and influencing both mutual Anglo-Navajo perceptions and the ways in which Navajos participated in the modern marketplace.

Examining varied sites of production-artisans' workshops, museums, trading posts, Bsumek shows how the market economy perpetuated "Navaho" stereotypes and cultural assumptions. She takes readers into the hogans where men worked silver and women wove rugs and into the outlets where middlemen dictated what buyers wanted and where Navajos influenced inventory. Exploring this process over seven decades, she describes how artisans' increasing use of modern tools created controversy about authenticity and how the meaning of the "Indian made" label was even challenged in court.

Ultimately, Bsumek shows that the sale of Indian-made goods cannot be explained solely through supply and demand. It must also reckon with the multiple images and narratives that grew up around the goods themselves, integrating consumer culture, tourism, and history to open new perspectives on our understanding of American Indian material culture.

Synopsis:

Breaks new ground in exploring the complex link between Indian identity and the emergence of tourism in the Southwest, the layers of meaning that surrounded the branding process of "Indian-Made" goods, and the connections between a consumer-oriented marketplace and the production of race.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introducation: The Social Construction of the Navajo and the Market for Indian-Made Goods

1. Creating the Navaho

2. Negotiating the Navajo Trading Post, Navigating the National Economy

3. Marketing the Navaho through Fronteir Commerce

4. Dealing and Consuming the Navaho, 1890-1940

5. Authenticating the Navaho

6. Codifying the Navaho: The "Indian-Made" Controversy

Conclusion: Branding, Borders, and Beyond

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780700618903
Subtitle:
Navajo Culture in the Marketplace, 1868-1940
Author:
Bsumek, Erika
Author:
Bsumek, Erika Marie
Publisher:
University Press of Kansas
Subject:
Native American-General Native American Studies
Subject:
Native American Studies
Publication Date:
20081003
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
304

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » General
Arts and Entertainment » Music » General
History and Social Science » Native American » General Native American Studies
Humanities » Philosophy » General

Indian-Made: Navajo Culture in the Marketplace, 1868-1940 (Culture America) New Trade Paper
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Product details 304 pages University Press of Kansas - English 9780700618903 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Breaks new ground in exploring the complex link between Indian identity and the emergence of tourism in the Southwest, the layers of meaning that surrounded the branding process of "Indian-Made" goods, and the connections between a consumer-oriented marketplace and the production of race.
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