Sehili (Tsaile) Trading and Military Out Post, The Catalyst of Capitalism: Finding the Site  


By William B. Tsosie Jr.


A Thesis Submitted to Anthropology Senior Seminar Research to Complete Graduation Course Study for Graduation,

Colorado Council of Professional Archaeologists: Student Paper Contest Entry and Fort Lewis College Annual NBS Student Symposium for 2007.


March 2006





Data/Image Figures 



1    Project Objective

2    Methodology and Research Schedule

3    Results

4    Local Approval For Archaeological Research Tsalie/Wheatfields Chapter Meeting Minutes.

5    Navajo Nation Cultural Resource Investigation Permit 



-William Sr. and Della Tsosie, my parents.

-Tsaile/Wheatfields Chapter and Farm Board.

-Lucy and Joe Lee of Tsaile, Arizona.

-Fort Lewis College and Professor Mona Charles for equipment usage and supervision.

-Dr. Charles Riggs and Dr. Philip Duke for support and technical assistance.

-Navajo Nation Archaeology Department and Ron Maldonado.

-Fort Lewis College Anthropology Faculty and Dr. John Ninnemann.

-Student Volunteers Assistance in Remote Sensing:

            Patrick Cruz

            Eric Kneebone

            Gerry Swickard

-Computer Consultant Mr. Adam Smith

-And finally (of course) My Wife Janice Toya-Tsosie




The Navajo Reservation was established on June 1, 1868 with the signing of the Navajo Treaty of 1868 with the federal government of the United States. Regional agencies were designated to administrate the provisions of the treaty to settle in the Navajo people after their internment at Fort Sumner on the eastern plains of New Mexico territory. Along with the building of regional governmental agency facilities, there were military outpost campsites located for military patrols. Shortly after the resettling of the reservation, trading post licenses were available to capitalist entrepreneurs. The capitalistic system was being introduced. The system was an enslaving introduction of consumerism promoted at the trading posts. The trading post system on the Navajo reservation has had a long history of being an agent of economic and social changes.


This research has two focuses. First, documentary research was conducted to locate history references on the licensing of Tsaile Trading Post to Archibald Sweetland in the 1880 to try to locate the trading post site. Navajo oral history was also consulted. Archival data was located and reviewed to document the activities leading to and in identification of where and when the trading post was established and built. Second, an archaeological surface survey was conduced using geoscan remote sensing with a Fluxgate gradiometer (a magnetometer) and electrical resistivity meter. No data has been identified of any archaeological survey of the site. Fort Lewis College (FLC) Anthropology Department provided equipment and technical assistance for the geophysical remote sensing. A survey was conducted to record and collect data that was later analyzed at the FLC anthropology laboratory to write up this report.