1980's Historical Info

When I lived on the Navajo Reservation in the 1980’s there was prohibition for all alcohol.

We lived in Chinle, AZ. Needed to travel to Gallup, NM to deposit pay checks and receive medical care.

There were many who offered jewelry both outside of the Basha’s Grocery store in Chinle and various locations in Gallup.

Most of those offering items for sale had lower quality items. Nickle Silver marked as Sterling was common.

The entry to Basha’s had an area with an overhang. That was where those selling items set up.
In Gallup, people wanting to sell items often had vehicles in parking lots. They would approach people going to the business with items for sale in hand.
Some would offer items along the roads by Canyon de Chey.

These pieces usually had no hallmarks. They were often priced at less than $10.00 for rings/pendants/bracelets with 1" pieces of Turquoise.

Sometimes, there would be a piece with excellent craftsmanship. Made from high quality Turquoise and occasional red coral or other stones.

These were usually priced at $20.00.

Some did what they could to get their alcohol. Even offered to trade items for a six pack of beer or a bottle of liquor.

Sometimes trades would be of jewelry findings. Sterling or nickle silver. Turquoise cabs.

I am not trying to bash anyone for their needs or wants.

Just providing a historical perspective of some unmarked items from about 30 years ago.

I have many findings from those purchases. One pendant with a Turquoise cab of 1.5".

I do not want to offend anyone, but am offering some historical perspective.


History is important, weather you like the history or not. Thank you for your perspective.


I agree with AC. The history books leave a lot out.


This is a perfect example. This was given to my husband in exchange for a ride back in 1999. I have always wondered its history


History is truth, for good or bad. Trying to erase or hide history will only result in lost lessons and a tendency to repeat that which was lost.

*The Pale-Faced Lie * by David Crow delves into the uglier side of life on the reservation and the toll alcohol took on Native Americans. He talks a lot about things he saw in Gallup and its bars and parking lots as Fernwood says. Some would sell everything they had for a drink.