It is testimony to the resiliency of Navajo culture that a period of internment could produce a robust period of change and continuity in weaving.In 1868, the Navajo were allowed to return to their beloved mesas and canyons.Navajo weaving has captured the imagination of many not only because they are beautiful, well-woven textiles but also because they so accurately mirror the social and economic history of Navajo people.
These blankets were longer-than-wide and were patterned in brown, blue and white stripes and terraced lines.
The sale of weavings in the next thirty years would provide an essential vehicle for economic change from barter to cash.
Annuity goods included yarns, wool cards, indigo dye, aniline dyes, and various kinds of factory woven cloth.
By the 1700s Navajo weaving was an important trade item to the Pueblos and Plains Indian people.
In 1844, Santa Fe Trail traveler Josiah Gregg reported, "a singular species of blanket, known as the Serape Navajo which is of so close and dense a texture that it will frequently hold water almost equal to gum-elastic cloth.
For more than a century, the products of Navajo looms were probably identical to those of their Pueblo teachers, but by the end of the 1700s Navajo weaving began its divergence.