National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15- October 15) traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans. The vibrant colors of the Folkloric dance, the exuberance of the mariachi music, the fiery foods, meaningful artwork in tin and wood, and the calm of the hundreds of years old adobe missions that still stand throughout the American Southwest.
The lives of Native Americans and the Spanish were forever changed and intertwined by the mission system that stretched across what is today the American Southwest. The Spanish taught Native Americans many trades, including ranching, farming and silversmithing. It was the Spanish who brought the naja symbol to the American Southwest as an adornment on their horses’ bridles. The Native Americans gave the naja its name, which is Navajo for “crescent”, and embraced it as a symbol of beauty.
With the introduction of Christianity and the building of missions came the importance of the cross to Native Americans, who incorporated Christianity into their native beliefs and traditions. The cross is an important adornment to the Hispanic culture as well as Native American. It is also a symbol of faith throughout the world.
This month, we celebrate the contribution the Hispanic culture has made in shaping our Southwestern lifestyle. And we are so proud of, and thankful for the many Hispanic associates who work here at American West Jewelry, continuing to keep the art of meaningful jewelry alive and evolving.