About Kelly Kilgore

Navajo Trading Post

War Girl Image

My parents (Margaret & Leonard Kilgore) were living in Sedona when they purchased a trading post on the Navajo reservation in Tuba City in the late 1950’s. The roads were still dirt and it was quite primitive.

Youth

I spent a lot of time at my baby sitters in the Hopi village of Moenkopi and was fortunate to experience the Hopi ways. I started working in the store at the age of 10 at the candy counter and subsequently learned to speak a lot of Navajo. I remember a time when I first saw the Yei-bi-chais (Navajo Spirits) encircling the store in their masks and loincloths. I was scared but Dad said “Don’t worry they come every year”. He proceeded to bring coffee, flour and meat out for them, as is their custom.

Love for the culture

Being immersed in Navajo and Hopi culture gave me a love for the people and their art. People came from far and wide to buy art from my mother.  Mom and I opened a gallery in Scottsdale in 1981 and began to handle more top artists as well as older collections.  Mom retired a few years ago and the collection can be seen at Kilgore American Indian Art in Mancos, Colorado.