Located just outside the town of Ganado, 26 miles west of Window Rock, the Hubbell Trading Post is the oldest continuously operating trading post on the Navajo Nation, established in 1876 by Lorenzo Hubbell, who did more to popularize the arts and crafts of the Navajo people than any other person. Hubbell was in large part responsible for the revival of Navajo weaving in the late 19th century.
On the reservations, trading posts are much more than just a place to trade crafts for imported goods—for many years they were the main gathering spot for meeting people from other parts of the reservation, serving as a sort of gossip fence and newsroom. In Hubbell Trading Post’s general store, you’ll still see basic foodstuffs for sale (not much variety here) and bolts of the cloth Navajo women use for sewing their traditional skirts and blouses. However, today this trading post is more of a living museum. Visitors can explore the grounds on their own or take a guided tour ($5), and can often watch Navajo weavers in the slow process of creating a rug.
The rug room is filled with a variety of traditional and contemporary Navajo pieces. And although it’s possible to buy a small 12x18-inch rug for around $100, most cost thousands of dollars, especially anything done in the famed Ganado Red style that is a hallmark of the area. In another room are baskets, kachinas, and jewelry by Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni artisans.
Twice a year, usually in May and September or October, there are auctions of Native American crafts, sometimes at the trading post but now more often in Gallup, New Mexico, an hour’s drive away. For more information, visit https://friendsofhubbell.org or call tel. 602/571-1122.