Friday, July 06, 2012

The Kokopelli Story by

The Kokopelli, Man, Myth and Legend

Kokopelli was one of the first American Indian travelling merchants, he was said to be a handsome, good natured man, in great physical shape, which may be attributed to his endurance, travelling hundreds, possibly thousands of miles on foot.
The Kokopelli has become a well known and commonly used symbol and representation of the American Southwest. Today, wearing Kokopelli jewelry is a great way to share the Kokopelli legend.

Legend has it that over a thousand years ago an Indian traveler moved throughout the Southwest and Central America, trading goods with all the different inhabitants. This Indian traveler was known as Kokopelli, he travelled with his goods thrown across his back and when he approached a village he would pull out his flute to announce his arrival and played a variety of songs he had learned. The children of the villages would rush to greet their well liked visitor, most of the children loved to hear him playing his music. Kokopelli was a good natured man, he loved to make the children laugh and he sang and played his flute to entertain the entire village. He would stay a while in each village, trade the goods he had received from previous villages and then travel on to the next village.

Over the years, many villagers noticed that soon after Kokopelli had left their village, many of the village women had become pregnant. The Kokopelli legend had begun, as Kokopelli travelled all around the American Southwest and Central America, he had become quite well known. Not only was Kokopelli liked for his music, fun spirit and good nature, he was also liked for the high occurrence of village pregnancies when he was near a local village. Now it isn’t known if the pregnancies were caused by Kokopelli or just a coincidence, Kokopelli had become both revered and reviled in some villages, as many women wanting children enjoyed the visits of Kokopelli in hope of getting pregnant. While some young girls feared Kokopelli because of the superstition surrounding his visits to the village and the many pregnancies, the young Indian girls went so far as to say he carried babies in his back pack and that is why he is portrayed as being a humpback figure.

For many, the logical reason for Kokopelli's humpback image is due to him carrying large amounts of trade goods on his back. Over the centuries, Kokopelli has become the symbol of fun, frolic and fertility. His likeness has been etched into cave dwelling and now in modern times his likeness can be found crafted into jewelry and American Indian art with items including paintings, statues and yard art.

So for those who enjoy fun, laughter and music you may enjoy the Kokopelli, men have been known to wear Kokopelli jewelry to show their virility and for women who wish to become pregnant or have a healthy pregnancy, many of them keep a likeness of Kokopelli somewhere close by, in a jewelry pendant or piece of art.
The Kokopelli has become a well known and commonly used symbol and representation of the American Southwest. Today, wearing Kokopelli jewelry is a great way to share the Kokopelli legend.

Author, Tarl Michael
written 2-2-12
posted 7-6-12
updated 7-15-13

Thursday, May 10, 2012

American Indian Jewelry & The American Southwest

   I have enjoyed the Southwest for the past 54 years and I would like to bring a part of that experience to you. The American Southwest has some of the most unusual and beautiful sites in America. You will find awe in the weather worn walls of the Grand Canyon, (Arizona) and beautiful red sandstone in Zion (Utah). Since earth’s creation, the wind and the water have carved beauty in the landscape, the likes of which no man could duplicate. Valleys so deep, you could fit the tallest skyscraper. With just about every color imaginable, blues, reds, greens, browns and purples scattered though the sides of the cliff walls. You see trees (scrub pine) growing out the side of the canyon walls, hanging on by only 1/2-inch roots. One could question how or why they exist there. There is water running through many of the canyons year round. With paths and trails to be hiked by all ages.

 For a rock collector, you could fill your pockets until your pants fell down. Or until your back grew so tired from the weight of the backpack filled with magnificent little treasures. No doubt the national park service does not condon filling your pockets or backpack with rocks. But the west is vast and there are many little jagged treasures to be found.
The Mogillion rim is located roughly half way between Phoenix and Flagstaff and is every bit as inspiring as the Grand Canyon. Located near Strawberry (Arizona), overlooking the Mogillion, the rich, thick forest resembles a beautiful dark green carpet. Using your imagination, you can picture many places a cowboy could hide from hostile Indians. Better yet, picture the beauty of vast plateau's and deep gorge's where Indians, Soldiers and Cowboys alike, of the 1700, 1800 and early1900's traveled and made camp. When thinking of the southwest many only picture desert and scorching heat. Not so in this beautiful high country. No doubt the temperature never reaches the low 80's.

When you hear the word Arizona or American southwest, you no longer need to imagine desert, tumble weeds, snakes and unbearable heat. Now picture rich green forests, cool weather and the skies at night filled with so many stars it would take a lifetime to count them all. While watching the stars, you will still hear the howls of the coyote calling to the night sky. In the southwest and Arizona you will still find American Indians, not with bow and arrow in hand, but selling their handcrafted goods at road side rest stops. The American Indians have been crafting jewelry, pottery, dreamcatchers and carved items for centuries, an art that has been passed down from generation to generation.

While traveling I have purchased handcrafted, Native American Indian jewelry as gifts for my family and friends. I have been intrigued by the fact that Native American Indians have handcrafted jewelry for centuries and are still making their jewelry by hand. In the 1800's a Mexican Silversmith taught the Indians of the southwest how to use silver in their jewelry work. I realized that not everyone could visit and enjoy the Southwest or afford much of the Indian jewelry and handcrafted goods. As many know, handcrafted Indian jewelry can range in price from $2 to as much as $10,000 and more. Fortunately, I have found a wonderful source to supply beautifully handcrafted Indian jewelry from the Southwest, at prices most all of us can afford.

American Indian jewelry is crafted with just about every gemstone imaginable, including everything from Amber, Amethyst, Jasper, Opal, Tiger Eye and of course Turquoise. Turquoise has been mined and used as far back as 5000 B.C. Turquoise jewelry is as popular today as it has been for centuries. Turquoise is said to have many healing properties, which is one of the reasons for its popularity and use in so many cultures, for so many centuries. All gemstones are said to have spiritual and medicinal healing properties. At Bearlanders Trading we carry a large selection of authentic American Indian jewelry and Dream Catchers, most of our Indian jewelry consist of many gemstones listed in this article.

About the Author:

My name is Tarl Michael, my parents and grandparents moved to the small desert town of Las Vegas NV in the 1940's. I was born and have lived in the American Southwest all of my life. I purchase jewelry directly from many American Indians and American Indian Trading posts, in an attempt to support myself and them. This article was first posted on May 5, 2005 it is being re-posted by me as of May 10, 2012, updated July 15, 2013.

I spent a large amount of time and energy writing the above blog post, yet for some reason, people with no talent, (okay that is the reason) feel they should copy my work, insert their own webpage links or cut it up and claim it for themselves. For those of you untalented, lazy folks, you are infringing on my work and my copyright! So please, if you wish to copy this article or any of my writing, then have the courtesy to use it without adding any other website than or better yet, Write your own personal story. 
Best regards.
To purchase American Indian jewelry and Gifts visit us at:


Bearlanders Trading co Adds Membership

Why Membership?

The reason we have added a membership program to our website is to offer our customers special savings without the need to join an e-mail newsletter. Over the past 10 years Bearlanders Trading co has been sending out e-mail newsletters to those customers who sign up. In the newsletter we offer the e-mail subscriber promotions and/or discount coupons. Yet our e-mails were blocked by many subscribers who either forgot they had subscribed or didn't want to take 10 seconds to unsubscribe.

Why Now?
Over the past 2 years, we have had more customers and more site visitors responding, that, while they want discounts, they do not wish to receive e-mails flooding their inbox. So we at Bearlanders Trading co ended our newsletter e-mails. And happy to do so! It took as many as 4 hours just to create and send 1 newsletter. Out of the 8,217 e-mail subscribers who we sent the newsletter, only 2 or 3 customers came to shop. Out of the 8,217 e-mail subscribers as many as 500 subscribers would mark the e-mail as spam and the e-mail would bounce back to us.

It was no longer a good business practice for Bearlanders Trading co to pay $900 a year for the software program to send out e-mails which most subscribers didnt open/read and don't want, as well as all the lost man hours spent creating each newsletter.

Now last, and most important, at Bearlanders Trading co we buy our merchandise directly from American Indian craftsmen/women. We purposely over buy and over stock products to help keep these Americans working. Over the past 2 years a large amount of craftsmen/women have struggled to find buyers for their jewelry, artwork and crafts. Bearlanders Trading co believes that a membership program will lead to more purchasing power and the opportunity to purchase more merchandise from these talented American Indian craftsmen & women. The more we are able to purchase from these talented artists, the more these Americans work, creating a larger selection of merchandise which we are able to offer you our valued customers!

At Bearlanders Trading co we are offering large discounts of 25% to 50% off, to our members, without the need to check e-mails for discounts! We look forward to a large and growing membership, the opportunity to help Americans find and keep work with Our ongoing commitment to Buy American made products. Thank You.

Village of Walpi

Below Village

Thursday, February 09, 2012 Offers 30% Off in February

At we are offering a 30% discount on purchases of $60 or more. This is a great way for new customers to shop Bearlanders Trading Co and find out all the great products we sell. This is also a perfect time for Bearlanders Trading co repeat customers to purchase items they have been looking at in the past. At BearlandersTradingco we still have a large selection of the popular team color inspired dream catchers, these are dream catchers with 2 different colors, colors of team uniforms. Dream catchers have been around the American southwest for well over 100 years, our dream catchers are made in America, come with a certificate of authenticity and are affordably priced. Now dream catchers are readily welcomed into American society as a way to capture good dreams of any kind.
We hope you will stop by, look at all the fine jewelry and gifts we sell, then take advantage of the 30% OFF discount we are offering.

Friday, January 07, 2011

30% Off Jewelry & gifts made in the USA

January 2011

It is that time of year again, time to wish you all a "Happy New Year" and time for our annual end of year SALE! Here at we are offering our customers 30% OFF orders over $60. We already have most of our merchandise on sale, "Now" you can save an additional 30%. Our merchandise is made in America, we believe if you buy American, you build a strong America for all of us to enjoy.

Take some time, stop by and look at all the great American made merchandise we sell. We have dream catchers, sandpaintings, kachina dolls, turquoise necklaces, bear jewelry, eagle jewelry, wolf jewelry, horsehair pottery and hundreds of other items made in the USA. With all these items to choose from we are sure you will enjoy the 30% savings.
Since everyone likes to save money, tell your friends that the place to shop is, with
Beautifully crafted merchandise made in the USA.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Donation to Charity - St Judes Ranch for Children

Five years ago one of our jewelry crafters lost her mother in a car accident! She was able to take her brother and sisters in to raise them. She has done a great job! But many children are not so fortunate. With high unemployment and a slow economy charity donations are very low.
Two months ago we donated a large amount of dream catchers to St Judes childrens home in Boulder City Nev. So they can sell them and use the profits for the children. St Judes still requires more assistance, so with your help we are donating $1 for every dream catcher we sell in the month of October. As many of you know, our dream catchers are authentic Navajo crafted, with beautiful quality and a large selection of colors and sizes for you to choose from.

We know finances are tight at this time, if you are not able to purchase a dream catcher at this time, please forward our wibsite to your family and friends who might like to help.
We have lowered our shipping charges, so those of you wishing to order single dreamcatchers only pay $2.95 for 1st class mail with tracking number. Thank you in advance for Your Support!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Navajo Dream catchers actually work

At Bearlanders Trading co we carry a large selection of Dream catchers crafted by Navajo artists here in America. At Bearlanders Trading co we are fortunate to have American Indian Artist and crafter Mae S create our dreamcatchers. Mae sells her dreamcatchers throughout America including the Grand Canyon National park. Bearlanders Trading co sells American Indian jewelry and gifts made in America.
Over the past 10 years or so, many of our customers have commented on how well our dream catchers actually work to allow peaceful sleep to their children. Many children and adults experience bad dreams, creating a poor nights sleep. Many American Indians believe that by hanging an authentic American Indian crafted dreamcatcher over the bed, the dream catcher will capture and burn up their bad dreams. And while we cannot and do not claim that only the  dream catchers we sell, work to burn up bad dreams, we do believe that the reason they may work is because our dreamcatchers are authentic Navajo made.

2 inch dreamcatcher - made in America

Some people buy cheap dreamcatchers made in China, Japan and Mexico, which makes no sense, because dreamcatchers were created by American Indians hundreds of years ago. There is no need to make your own dream catcher unless you are American Indian. Or to purchase a dreamcatcher made in China, Japan and Mexico because they are not authentic. At BearlandersTradingCo we sell a large selection of affordable dreamcatchers in a wide variety of colors.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Kachina Dolls and the Shalako Kachina doll

Kachina - pronounced (kuh CHEE' nah).
For centuries, different tribes have made Kachina Dolls to use in religious ceremonies. The term "Kachina" refers to a masked and costumed dancer representing various spiritual and natural aspects of life. Kachinas are friends, guardians, or messengers to the Gods. They are believed to have supernatural powers, bestow blessings and nurture life. Kachina dolls carved from the cottonwood root were originally presented to the women and children of the tribe but now are made for others to enjoy. All kachina impersonations are performed by males, including the figures representing female Kachinas.

Kachinas have become a part of many cultures and religions. A kachina is simply a spirit that represents animals, characterizations of people, crops, sun, earth, stars and the moon. For the Navajo People, kachina dolls mean more than just representations; they are a way of life, Navajo Tribes have adopted the tradition of crafting and using kachina dolls as their own. Navajo kachina dolls have become as much of a collectible as the fine jewelry, rugs, pottery and the countless other crafts which the Navajo make. The Navajo People are well-known for their outstanding artistic talents, which seem to be present throughout a large number of Navajo families.

The Navajo kachina doll derives from Hopi and Zuni kachinas and being that all of these reservations are very close to one another, especially the Hopi and Navajo which are side by side, it seems that each Tribe has (in some way) adopted each other's traditions whether it be kachina dolls, weavings, pottery, or jewelry. We hope to inform collectors about Navajo kachina dolls, and explain why they are so important to the Navajo People, not only as income for their family, but we know that the artists who make these wonderful dolls hold a great deal of respect for the kachina and what each doll represents.

Each Kachina Doll is initialed and titled by the artisan who created it. Each Kachina Doll is assembled by hand and is hand painted, and has different accessories and clothing, and there may be slight variations and different colors between the dolls pictured and those received when ordering. Some of the components (such as the skirt and shells) of these Kachina Dolls are not made by Indians.

At we have just received a number of Navajo kachina dolls called a Shalako, which refers to a Native American Indian dance ceremony. This kachina doll is hand carved from a cottonwood root, with intricate etching and is hand painted in beautiful, vibrant colors and unique patterns. Our kachina dolls have been hand crafted by the American Indian artist T. Yazzie, well known for her intricate detailing and vibrant colors.

The Shalako dance is performed on a mesa, giving thanks to the gods for an abundant harvest. The artist used the root's natural bends and curves, capturing the dancer holding its robes tightly around itself as it moves in the wind on top of the mesa. These kachina dolls are beautiful, and each doll is unique in its etching and coloring, creating a one of a kind collectable.