Contributed by Old Trails Museum / Winslow Historical Society
Indigenous Peoples Near Winslow
This collection offers snapshots, some over 100 years old, from Native American life in and around Winslow, AZ, a border town to the Navajo and Hopi Reservations. These two tribes comprise most of the native population near here, but Winslow became a second home to a contingent of Laguna Indians and members of various other tribes. The Navajos are known as weavers and silversmiths, the Hopis as basket makers, kachina carvers, and for the storied ceremonies the latter represents. Both tribes have survived in a land and climate that can be inhospitable and formidable at best. For well over one hundred years their works have been prized collections and are representations of ancient cultures still embedded in the hearts, hands and traditions of artisans of today.
The Laguna Indians are one of the Pueblo Tribes of New Mexico and are known for their artistry in pottery and jewelry making. In the early 20th century some moved to Winslow, among other places along the rail route, to work with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. A close knit group, most lived in a settlement comprised of about fifty converted boxcars called the Laguna Colony.
One of the offshoots of the Lagunas in Winslow was the formation of the Santa Fe Indian Band, which at times contained members from as many as twelve tribes. With both concert and marching bands as well as a hoop and fancy dancing group, the members logged many miles performing at dedications and parades, including the Rose Bowl and President Dwight Eisenhower's inaugural parade in 1953.
By comparison, the span of years the various tribes have inhabited the area makes the town of Winslow founded in 1880, look like a relative newcomer. No matter what the tribe, the Indigenous Peoples are an intrinsic element of the Southwest and Winslow.