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Thomas Varker Keam: Indian Trader

Laura Graves, David M. Brugge

Thomas Varker Keam owned and operated a trading post in Keams Canyon, Arizona Territory, from 1874 to 1902. He was the first trader to develop American Indian arts and crafts as part of his business and the first to suggest that Native artists modify their techniques to increase sales.

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Book Information

Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Publish Date: 07/15/2015
Pages: 366
ISBN-13: 9780806148595
ISBN-10: 0806148594
Language: English

Full Description

Thomas Varker Keam owned and operated a trading post in Keams Canyon, Arizona Territory, from 1874 to 1902. He was the first trader to develop American Indian arts and crafts as part of his business and the first to suggest that Native artists modify their techniques to increase sales. Keam had a major impact on the evolution of Hopi pottery. Involved in early archaeological work in the Southwest, Keam was the first trader to develop lucrative contacts with museum curators and anthropologists. He sold enormous collections to the Smithsonian Institution, the Field Museum, and the Peabody Museum, as well as several European institutions. An advocate for the Indians, Keam represented the Hopis and Navajos in confrontations with the U.S. government over "civilizing" programs between 1869 and 1902, when the Indians tried to maintain their political and cultural independence. Thomas Varker Keam revised Indian trading so that he and American Indian artists profited.

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