I was not impressed with shopping in Gallup. The websites make it sound as if it were a shopping paradise for Native American arts boasting over 100 trading posts. What they don't tell you, is an underlying sadness that you can feel on some of the Natives faces.
My mother is a Six Nations Iroqouis/Mohawk and I am a Metis. I was saddened to see the American Indians taking their heirlooms into pawn shops for quick cash, then watching as older, predomintately white tourists gobbled up the goods. I felt disgusted and ill.
I tried to justify the need for such pawn shops, thinking that obviously the Natives needed the money to survive, but like many reserves I quickly came to realize alcoholism is a large problem here.
Their beautiful mural on the posts downtown even had a shadow move over it as one local told me I shouldn't sit in this area, as at night it is where the Natives get drunk and pass out there.
The other upsetting thing is the high-frequency of goods in shops that come across with an American Indian flair - only to turn the product around with a big ol' "Made in China" sticker slapped on the back.
Know the laws when buying goods labelled Native American Indian arts and don't get scammed for an imitation!