Thanks on nasty trading

Richard L. Warms (RW04@SWT.EDU)
Thu, 7 Mar 1996 09:13:52 -0600

Thanks to all those who answered my question on nasty trading. Several people
identified the source as Kluckhohn via Sahlins. Lee Bradley pointed me to page
200 of Sahlins' _Stone Age Economics_ wherein is found the following quote:

Navaho morality is...contextual rather than absolute... Lying is not always and
everywhere wrong. The rules vary with the situation. To deceive when trading
with foreign tribes is a morally accepted practice. Acts are not in themselves
bad or good. Incest [by its nature, a contextual sin] is perhaps the only
conduct that is condemned without qualification. It is quite correct to use
witchcraft techniques in trading with members of foreign tribes...

The reference is to Kluckhohn, Clyde 1959 "the Philosophy of the Navajo
Indians" in M.H. Fried (ed) _Readings in Anthropology_ vol 2. New York:

Now the next question two questions are 1) are there any more recent references
than this...or even contemporary corraborating references. 2) how does this
square (or does it) with James Downs' observations on the importance of trust
in recent Navaho trading (Downs, _The Navajo_ 1972, Waveland. pg 120-121).

Thanks much,

Rich Warms