Saturday, July 7, 2018

Hopi Kachina Art

Kachinas a part of a complex religious system among the Hopi and Zuni, puebloan people of New Mexico. This system includes a belief in spiritual beings who live in the mountains, men who dance in ceremonies, and small objects given to children for religious instruction. At certain times of the year the spirits visit villages, bringing rain for the crops. Ceremonies are conducted to honor the spirits; religious society members receive instructions, create dance outfits, and perform for the community. Small images carved from cottonwood and painted are given to children to help them learn about the hundreds of spiritual beings. Contemporary Kachina figurines are more elaborate and often recreated as non-secular art and tourist items, sold throughout the southwest

generic New Mexico

Traded for an envelope of cards, mostly all Native themed. Several featured ancient ruins but these 2 do not identify their location. There are several possible reasons for this: they are stock photos that generically symbolize ancient peoples; the sites are protected; or the sites are on private lands. The text provides few details, suggesting that either the publisher or the consumer is not particularly interested in specifics.

"The first people to inhabit New Mexico were the members of the Clovis culture of Paleo-Indians. These inhabitants were followed by Native Americans as the Mogollon cultures."

"The natural sandstone of New Mexico made great building blocks for the Native American Indians that called N.M. home. some of those structures still stand today."

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Charity Card

I received a postcrossing card from a member in the Netherlands who supports an organization: Wilde Ganzen. They support small projects in the developing world including education, women's rights, water and agriculture. Likely the postcrosser received some cards as part of his membership and he kindly sent this one to me. There is no information on the card so I am guessing the Indigenous children are in Mexico; the skirt style should provide some clues so I've asked friends who work in Latin America to help me.

Update: other scholars have identified these children as Mayans of Central America based upon the skirt fabric.

Saturday, March 3, 2018


A bonanza of 3 cards came in today's mail, a wonderful gift from Chris (a Natl Park Service employee based in New Mexico).
This wonderful card has good information in the text: located near Los Alamos, Frijoles Canyon is 17 miles long and the creek runs year round with snow melt and summer rains, enabling ancestral Pueblo peoples to grow crops. They built rooms for shelter and storage, occupying the site 1100-1600AD. The area also has kivas and rock paintings.

Bandelier was designated as a National Monument in 1916 by President Wilson and named for the southwestern archaeologist Adolph Bandelier. Hopefully this (and all ancient sites) will continue to be protected!

Thursday, March 1, 2018


Had a good trade for cards including this one of a pre-Puebloan ruin located near Flagstaff, Arizona. The area has many ruins dating to the regional migrations that occurred around 1100AD. It has a multistory dwelling, ballcourt, kivas constructed from local red sandstone. Residents farmed land that had been improved by a volcano eruption, made pottery and participated in trade. The sites were in decline by the late 1100s and abandoned in the early 1200s. Today it is a National Monument with limited access.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Chaco (ancient Puebloans)

How exciting! A former student got a job with the Park Service and is now based at Aztec Ruins in New Mexico. He travels to other parks in the SW and is sending me cards with messages about his adventures, training activities etc.

The Chaco culture was developed by ancestors of today's Pueblo who hunted and farmed a thousand years ago, transporting stone from great distances to build their towns. They managed local water supplies but long drought periods led to economic and social instability. Eventually the people moved and resettled.

This card's text says "This view of Kin Kletso is from the Pueblo Alto Trail. Built in two stages from AD 1125-1130, it is a classic McElmo style pueblo with rooms organized into a compact rectangle with no plaza."

Sunday, May 14, 2017


Occasionally I buy cards from Ebay sellers....this one caught my eye and my NE/Great Lakes collection can always use more cards!

The Wyandot Indians Attending Services at the Wyandot Mission Church 1830
Curteich, published for the Wyandot Museum

They Wyandot, also known as the Wendat or Huron, were a confederation of several communities when Europeans arrived in the 1600s and began to conduct trade. Disease and conflict over resources, including beavers, reduced their numbers and strength. The group dispersed and some moved to Ohio where they supported Americans against the English, although subsequent treaties reduced their territory. In 1819, the Methodist Church established a mission to the Wyandot in Ohio, its first to Native Americans. In the 1840s they were removed to Indian Territory of Kansas and later Oklahoma.

The Curteich Printing Company produced large numbers of postcards, including many with a Native American theme. They closed in 1978 and materials were archived at a Chicago museum; recently it has moved to the Newberry. For more information see: