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L

EGEND

A

ND

A

FTERMATH

O

F

T

HE

W

HIRLING

L

OG

Trading Post Times

Page 2

The ancient swastika was used

as a symbol of happiness, pleas-

ure and good luck by many

cultures dating back to 4000 BC

or so.

It continues to be a primary

symbol among the Buddhists

and the Hindus.

The symbol that we call the

Whirling Log was a rich part of

the Navajo culture, used in

sand painting and in weaving

designs.

In the Navajo language, the

symbol literally means “that

which revolves.”

It comes from a Navajo legend

concerning an outcast that de-

cides to crawl into a hollow log

and float down the river to a

place where he might find

peace.

His trip is interrupted by four

sacred deities who seal him into

the log and cast him into the

river. After four days he falls

into a whirlpool where he spins

round and round (hence the

whirling log).

Finally emissaries of the four

deities haul him out of the wa-

ter and he is joined by his pet

turkey who is carrying a bean

and three grains of corn.

They are planted and in four

days he enjoys abundant crops,

and in four more days they are

harvested.

Finally the outcast man is

taught how to prepare sand

paintings, celebrating these

miracles when he returns home.

In 1940, the Navajo, Papago,

Apache and Hopi signed a

proclamation reading:

“Because the above ornament,

which has been a symbol of friend-

ship among our forefathers for

many centuries, has been descre-

cated recently by another nation of

peoples, therefore is is resolved that

henceforth from this date on and

forever more our tribes renounce the

use of the emblem commonly

known today as the swastika...on

our blankets, baskets, art objects,

sand paintings and objects of cloth-

ing.”

Today the pre-1940 whirling

log weavings and jewelry are

highly collectable.

entertaining.

We look at it as more than a

place to sell things. We hope

that you will visit our

Tips and

Tidbits

page...and send us sug-

gestions on how to make it

even better.

We get scads of mail from col-

lectors at River Trading

Post...and thankfully most of it

is positive.

Quite a few of our website visi-

tors have discovered that the

site is loaded with information

and entertainment relevant to

collecting Native American art.

People seem to love our Pod-

casts, where we feature inter-

views and music by top Native

American artists. And they

constantly use our archives to

research back issues of

Trading

Post Times.

We appreciate the kind feed-

back about our site, and we’re

always working to make it even

more informative and

T

IPS

AND

T

IDBITS

A W

EBSITE

H

IT

“Your website is full

of useful information,

and I appreciate it

very much. It is much

more than the usual .“

The Whirling Log, a sacred symbol to the

Navajos, was used in weavings and jewelry-

from the late 1800s through the 1930’s.

Use of the whirling log design is now forbid-

den by proclamation of various tribes.

The weaving above is displayed at River

Trading Post, Dundee, Illinois.

the store, we saw

the shirt

.

The owner told us how he trav-

eled from powwow to powwow

many years ago, and picked up

this old Sioux dance shirt while

he was on the road. He then

took it back with him to Santo

Domingo Pueblo where he

wore it proudly at many a cere-

monial dance.

Not long ago, we were tootling

through Santo Domingo Pueblo

looking for some of our favorite

jewelers, when we discovered

an old trading post.

When we opened the door, we

found racks and racks of the

greatest junk food we’ve ever

seen. But then, hung high amid

the dusty rafters in the back of

Since the owner is getting on in

years and doesn’t dance as

much as he used to, he let us

buy that “killer’ old shirt on the

spot.

See this old Sioux dance shirt

and many other pieces of terri-

fic beadwork at RTP in Santa

Fe and on our website.

A C

ROSS

C

ULTURE

D

ANCE

S

HIRT

Great dance shirt finds its way from the

Sioux Country to Santo Domingo Pueblo

to River Trading Post.