Corporate Pawn(ee)

Corporate Pawn(ee)
acrylic on canvas
36 x 30 inches
Jim Sweazy, 2007
As proud as this Navajo gentleman appears, posing in front of the Santa Fe Super Chief in 1953, he was another Corporate Pawn. In order to promote a bit more profit from running travelers across the top of New Mexico to and from Los Angeles, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe hired local Navajo to ride in the observation cars and answer questions about the vista of the reservation. They got on and off the trains at the eastern and western borders of New Mexico. Bonus money was paid for selling time at a dude ranch near Gallup, which was built on the railroad's right-of-way. Most of the right-of-way extended 100 feet from the center of the main line, but where a station (or handy dude ranch) was needed this right-of-way extended out 300 feet from the center of the line, for a distance of 3000 feet. That is a pretty big chunk of free land!