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Toadlena Trading Post

We’re pretty busy here at Toadlena Trading Post.
That’s because we really are the economic and social center for the local Navajo community.

A typical day here may see visits from several of the 175 weavers of Two Grey Hills. Clara Sherman and her weaving daughters or weaving granddaughters may stop by to sell us their latest rugs. Others might come in to purchase wool, carding tools, a loom, maybe groceries.

The weavers keep credit accounts as advances in the form of money, goods or services, which they pay with their rugs. This arrangement allows them to create without the every day financial pressures that would prohibit them from doing their work. In fact, it encourages them to weave more and better.
Other locals stop by to shop, get propane, use the phone, pick up messages from family members or just chat with each other. They also do their banking and mailing here. The pot-bellied stove has warmed more than a few fannies!

And, can we diagnose a car problem for someone? Sure, why not.

An adventurous tourist or two will usually find us and stop in to buy local goods, handicrafts or a Two Grey Hills textile. If the weaver happens to be in the post, the lucky buyer will get to meet her.

The mundane details of life are suspended when a weaver has a rug to show. Regardless of her age, there is always the anticipation of the unknown. How good will the piece be? How beautiful, how finely woven and will it be better than her last?
The hopeful tension is especially high when a Shima, or grandmother, known to be a master weaver, brings in her latest work. The first words out of Mark Winter's mouth are usually “Nizhoni Shima!” or “Grandma, that is beautiful!”

The day-to-day rhythm keeps its time but the tune never changes. Toadlena lives for rugs.

Toadlena Trading Post is a busy place that offers a glimpse into the past, maintaining a lifestyle that the Navajo and the traders have played out for over 100 years—nurturing a centuries-old weaving tradition to continue into the future.