WHIRLING LOG: THE SWASTIKA SYMBOL IN NAVAJO TEXTILES

J. Lorenzo Hubbell established the trading post at Ganado, Arizona, in 1879. The trading post and Hubbell's home still exist. The site is operated by the U. S. National Park Service.

Hubbell marketed most of his blankets and rugs through the Fred Harvey Co., which had the commercial franchise for the Santa Fe Railroad. His weavers incorporated the swastika in their designs frequently, but Hubbell was mainly known for the use of the "hollow cross", as seen in the rug to the left. He favored yarns of natural white, black or brown, and carded (blended) grey, along with a brilliant red created from aniline dyes or synthetically dyed yarns raveled from commercial wool cloth. The rugs woven at Ganado were often of large size, as Hubbell had an oversize loom built that could produce floor rugs up to 12' wide.

Whirling Log: Page 3

Being a sacred symbol, the whirling log was not woven into Navajo wearing blankets and rugs until actual reproductions of sand paintings appeared in the early 1900s. The swastika symbol itself appeared only rarely in weavings during the so-called Transitional Period (1868-90). Its promotion was due to two influential traders who appeared on the reservation in the late 1800s, J. Lorenzo Hubbell and J. B. Moore. At that time, through the 1920s and into the early 1930s, until the symbol was appropriated by Adolph Hitler and the Nazis, the swastika was very popular in America. For example, an orange swastika on a red field was the shoulder patch of the U. S. 45th Division during WWI. It was a common decoration on buildings, drawer handles, poker chips, gas valves, playing cards, commemorative coins, pendants, belt buckles, and no end of other household objects. It was a brand of fruit in California and a highly-regarded name in surfboards. It has been one of the primary marks of Freemasonry since its beginnings.