Biography, Memoir, Historical Fiction, Nonfiction: Cultural History
John D Kennedy is a native of New Mexico. He spent most of his life in the Indian trading business, a family tradition spanning three generations for over 100 years. He developed a company with extensive sales and inventory management capabilities that provided enviable status as exclusive distributor with several Fortune 500 companies including Disney, Yellowstone, and most other western national park operations. He also owned businesses in retail, service, publishing, and distribution. John founded an industry trade organization that still functions after forty years. It was an extension of his knowledge of and appreciation for Native American culture. He served on the Advisory Board of the National Park Service for seven years. Thirty-five years after graduating from the University of Arizona, he left his family profession and returned to college. He obtained an MBA in 2002. He lives with his wife, Sheila, in Albuquerque. They have six children and fourteen grandchildren.
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In 2013 he spoke to a meeting of the University of Arizona Alumni. He mentioned that he was uniquely qualified to be a writer because he flunked Freshman English at the U of A four times! He decided to major in English – Grammar & Composition. He is presently working on several books in anticipation that each will come to fruition at the right time. Two of his books took over ten years; but, he didn’t have to feed them or water them so he was deliberate and disciplined in his process. He writes from personal experience and knowledge.
Sub-title: The Life & Times of Visionary Navajo Artist, David Chethlahe Paladin (2012)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Societies throughout the world are populated with people who never overcome economic or social obstacles, while other people in the same societies are able to meet their challenges and seek resolution. Those people survive by their response to events and challenges as they enhance their personality, character, and spirituality. David Chethlahe Paladin’s incredible life and experiences sum up a reflection of one such person. This is not a story of down-and-out life on a reservation, it is a life of struggles, triumphs, endurance and spiritualism that surpasses normal comprehension and experiences. Upon his death in 1984, Newsweek called him the greatest American Indian artist of his time.
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Title: A Good Trade
Sub-title: Three Generations of Life & Trading around the Indian Capital, Gallup, New Mexico (2009)
Genre: Nonfiction: Biography
A first-person generational account as told by each of three successive generations. In 1898 George E Kennedy came West in search of adventure. That took him to the Zuni Mountains, west of Gallup, where he managed the general store for a limber company. Many of the workers were Navajos that he came to understand and appreciate. In 1912 he set out from Gallup to build and stock a trading post on the Navajo reservation. He hauled his building supplies and merchandise so that he could trade while he was building a trading post and home for his family. After several years at Salina Springs, he sold the post and moved to Canyon de Chelly (Shay) where he continued to trade. John W Kennedy is the second generation. He was raised in Navajo country with livestock and trading during years prior to and including the Depression. His own trading career began at Zuni Pueblo in 1944. John D Kennedy is the third generation. He began trading with his dad at the age of nine years.
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Title: Shalako Ceremony at Zuni Pueblo
Sub-title: Events & Protocol (2014)
The most majestic and religiously-significant ceremony of the Zuni Tribe in New Mexico is the Shalako Ceremony. This book is relevant for people with interests in Native Americans, culture, and southwestern US. The ceremony occurs at the beginning of each winter solstice with Shalako deities that are nine-feet tall and adorned with costume and jewelry. It is both solemn and joyful. The understanding of this complex event is compounded with a language barrier in that few people speak or understand the Zuni language. This book interprets the activities.
John D Kennedy lived in Zuni as a child and grew up in the trading business with the Zuni people. He has attended about thirty-five of these ceremonies and maintains reverence, appreciation, and knowledge of the ceremony.