Category Archives: Navajo

Navajos to Mark Chaco Canyon Centennial

Cibola County Beacon – News
Navajos to mark Chaco Canyon Centennial, By Diane Fowler, Beacon staff writer

CHACO CANYON – The Navajos of northwest New Mexico will observe the centennial anniversary of Chaco Canyon National Heritage Park Saturday by reminding the Dine of their historical place in that mystic canyon.

The gathering is not connected to the park or the National Park Service in any way, according to a spokeswoman for the event. She asked to remain anonymous, but was willing to share some of the details of the observance.

“We will focus on the history of the Navajo people in Chaco Canyon. It’s not a part of our history that is emphasized, but our people were forced to leave Chaco Canyon 100 years ago when it was made a national park,” she said.

“We lost our land and it was a tragic time for us,” she added.

The spokeswoman observed that currently most people think of Chaco Canyon as a national park and not as a place where people live, “The Navajo people still exist in the Chaco Canyon area,” she remarked.

The observance will include an address by San Juan County Commissioner Irving Chavez in support of the local community. Navajo Nation Vice-President Ben Shelly and other tribal leaders will also speak.

Tribal elders, who are familiar with the history of the canyon, will make a special appearance, along with Miss Indian Farmington. Traditional singing will provide entertainment and a potluck dinner will be served.

The event will be held on tribal land rather than the actual park site. Everyone is welcome to attend.

From highway 550, take county road 7800 to state route 57, then take a left on county road 7980 and look for a large tent.

The observance will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2007.

[hat tip to walkingraven]

Navajo in Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

A Navajo Tale: Canyon de Chelly is home to stone-age history By LAURIE KAVENAUGH – Style Editor

The Thunderbird Lodge is the only motel within Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Navajo people own and operate the Thunderbird, its cafeteria and gift shop. The quaint adobe buildings spread out at the mouth of the canyon among cottonwoods planted in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The complex sits just about where the first trading post was established in the 1880s. It was followed by a succession of trading post operators until the government hired a custodian in 1903 to keep an eye on the cliff dwellings down in the canyon.

By the end of the 19th century, tourists were paying to visit the dozens of cliff-house ruins left behind by the Anasazi, a Navajo word for “ancient enemies.” In the 20th century, archaeologists found evidence the canyon was probably a technology center for weaving. Today, the Navajo and the National Park Service work together to maintain the canyon. …

Canyon de Chelly is one of the few Anasazi sites in the Southwest that is still lived in by the Navajo. Although the Navajo arrived fairly late on the scene — sometime in the mid-to-late 1700s — they have had a rough time holding onto what they consider an ancestral home.

Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

The canyon of many spirits by Mary Kirk-Anderson

First occupied by humans thousands of years ago, Canyon de Chelly is one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes in North America…

Canyon de Chelly’s sheer walls, spectacular rock monoliths and fascinating connection with the native communities who have called it home, create a sense of a living place with more than simple geography to recommend it.

De Chelly (pronounced de Shay, from a corruption of tsegi, or rock canyon, the Navajo name for the area) is in Arizona’s north- eastern corner, in the Four Corners region, and lies within the great lands of the Navajo Nation. In 1931 it became a National Monument site and it is unique among National Park Service units in that it remains home to the canyon community and the NPS works in partnership with the Navajo Nation to manage the park resources. It is essentially private land. With the exception of one walking trail, the only way to enter the canyon is with a Navajo guide.

Made up of several gorges, the canyon is one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes in North America, first occupied by the ancestral puebloans about 2000 years ago. Today, the steep walls preserve in remarkable condition easily viewed ancient ruins and rock paintings from as far back as the 12th century, tracing occupation of the canyon by the ancient Anasazi people, the Hopi tribe and latterly the Navajo, who arrived in the 1700s. …

Canyon de Chelly is about 115km north of the I40 Interstate between Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Flagstaff, Arizona. …

Two excellent rim drives, north and south, offer a series of spectacular overlooks.

Canyon De Chelly National Monument (National Park Service)