Navajo Silversmith

James Sieger
Production Date: 
ACI Productions, New York
Douglas Rapp
Run Time: 

Sound and Editing: Hoyt Griffith
Cinematography / Photography: Jack Breed
Establishing shot: Extreme long shot of a canyon region of the Navajo reservation
Named locations: Kin Teel Trading Post, Wide Ruins, Arizona.

The Wide Ruins and Pine Springs trading post records are archived at Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library in the Special Collections and Archives Department; collection number: NAU.MS.260.

From Arizona Archives Online: “This collection consists of accounting records of Wide Ruins (Kin Teel) and Pine Springs Trading Posts, both located in the southeastern part of the Navajo Indian Reservation.”  Descriptive Summary, Scope and Content Note online at:;query=;brand=default

Major themes covered: The techniques of silversmithing
Native activities shown
Individuals Named: Tom Burnsides (1910-1957).
Native language spoken: No native languages spoken
Audible: Good quality English narration
Noteworthy elements: Good description of the process of making the belt buckle
Other notes:

Tom Burnsides rose to fame after appearing in anthropologist John Adair’s 1944 book, The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths.  Burnsides was known for his work in traditional silver sandcast as well as hand-wrought stamp work. His work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY (1941) and the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Santa Fe, NM (2002); Burnsides' work can be found in the Elkus Collection at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California (, and at the Taylor Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado (


Dockstader, F. J. (N.d.). "Burnsides, Tom." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 14 Oct. 2012. Retrieved from

Schaff, G. (2003). “Tom Burnsides.” American Indian Art Series: American Indian Jewlery. Santa Fe, New Mexico: CIAC. (v. 5), pp. 98-99. Retrieved from North American Indian Thought and Culture,

Cross-reference to other AIFG films:

See also:  Arts and Crafts of the Southwest Indians Part 1: The Navajos (

--Mikel Stone, 2012