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Edged Sword of the Railroad and Its Impact on Southwest Native American Indians Jewelry _____________________________________________________________________________________ By Kelvin - http://kotahbearjewelry.com/ History indicates that the U.S. policy of "Manifest Destiny" was a double-edged sword to the many Native American Indian nations that inhabited the areas of the southwest. To build the railroad, the U.S government needed to cross many tribal lands and that required treaties to be developed and agreed upon between the Indians and the federal government officials. Unfortunately, many of the treaties were ultimately broken by the U.S. and the many Indian Nations felt betrayed. Learn More About Native American Indian Jewelry At the same time, the building of the transcontinental railroad open the door for many adventurous tourists to "Go West" and become more intimately exposed to the culture of Native Americans and their art. Prior to the railroad, only the most courageous visitors were able to take stage coaches to the western United States...an experience that could take many weeks and was subject to the possibility of robbery and even death from either hostile Indians or outlaws. The train was faster and more secure...and eventually led to the exposure of many more visitors to the multitude of art forms that were traditionally practiced by the southwest Indian tribes. And the tribes realized that their previously isolated existence had now become more accessible and that the market for their art was expanding rapidly.

At first, it was the somewhat primitive and more utilitarian artifacts that were cherised by the inquisitive tourists. As the demand grew, the Native American artists realized that there was more potential profit in more interesting art forms that required more time and dedication to detail. What was once drab blankets to keep themselves warm


during the winter months now became woven rugs with exquisite designs and colors. Utilitarian naturally-colored clay pots became artistic works of art with beautiful tones of black, white and red with intricate detailing and eventually even horse hair highlights. Simple yucca leaf baskets used for storage now became multi-colored works of art. Turquoise and silver jewelry, which had become a special art developed after the Spaniards brought mined silver to the tribes, was now a way of making more valuable art for trading.

The trading posts located along strategic stage coach lines were now becoming important showcases of Native American Indian art. Trading posts were developed to meet a need in the Native American communities. The Native American culture is a matrilineal culture, meaning that heritage and valuables are passed through the women's families. Many women on the reservations own the sheep and the homes. Valuables are in the form of saddles, jewelry and animals. This was unfamiliar to banks but completely acceptable to the traders who understood the Native American culture. When times were lean, especially during the winter months, the tribes on nearby reservations would trade their valuables for the essential staples of life that were available at the trading posts.

So‌ What’s Next ? To Learn More About Native American Indian Jewelry, Click Here: http://kotahbearjewelry.com/


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