Navajo

Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly

Navajo Nation is a destination where the discovery of the ancient Anasazi people begins. The geographic area is massive, stretching from Utah to Arizona to New Mexico and covering more than 26,000 square miles of unmatched beauty. Inside the Navajo Nation there are myriad unique attractions to be explored, many created naturally over time; historical sites, scenic tribal parks, dozens of lakes, and national monuments paying tribute to the Navajo people, their ancestors, and their land.

History

History
History

Navajo people are the largest native group within the Southwestern United States numbering nearly half a million with most speaking both Navajo and English. The autonomous governmental body, the Navajo Nation, manages the reservation of the people in what is known as the Four Corners in the United States. The tribe began as simple hunters and gatherers, gaining knowledge from the Pueblos of farming and eventually trading with the Spanish. Pueblans were the biggest influence on their language and way of life. In 1846 they had first contact with Americans via the invasion of Santa Fe where they were settled and where they continued retaliation against into New Mexican territory. The Navajo were exiled from their land during a period known as the Long Walk. 

Navajo People & Navajo Culture

Navajo People & Navajo Culture
Navajo People & Navajo Culture

"Navajo" derives from a term coined in the later 18th century by the Spanish; “Apaches of Navajo." The Navajo refer to themselves as “the people” or “Diné.” From about the 16th through to the 20th centuries, Navajo people lived semi-nomadically with family and other tribal members often in separate geographic areas to accommodate their gathering practices, agriculture, and livestock needs. The society is traditionally matrilineal, with most land and livestock owned by the women. A system called exogamy is practiced within the clan; the Navajo Nation people marry outside their own social group or clan.

The Navajo Codetalkers brought the nation much pride and fame during WWII. Special tactical conversations between the codetalkers allowed Americans to plan special operations without their codes being deciphered. The codes were based on the Navajo language and used pre-determined words in the language to replace words in English. From some 45,000 Navajo, almost 500 worked as code talkers by the end of the war. There were translations of more than 200 words in English most often used in military communications.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park comprises part of the Colorado Plateau. It is a vast area filled with formations literally created by the sands of time. The steep buttes, near the state lines of Utah-Arizona, comprise three distinct layers of silt, sandstone and sediment that blew into the once flat basin. These layers were pressurized from underneath, lifted up, and eventually formed the mesmerizing towers. The plateau was eroded by water and wind uncovering the red sand and siltstone, forming the beloved valley we see today.

Attractions

Attractions
Attractions

Navajo Nation attractions include Shiprock located in New Mexico near Shiprock (the city for the rock formation) on the Navajo Nation reserve. It rises abruptly from the plain to more than 1500 feet and appears to have wings. The winged rock plays a major role in mythology, tradition, and religion of the people. Antelope Canyon near Lake Powell and beautiful Canyon de Chelly are places where natural wildlife flourish in the cornfields and orchards found between sandstone walls in America’s Southwest. Guides are available for touring the red rock canyons. Chaco Canyon National Historic Park is a testament to the Pueblo people. The huge buildings created and left by their ancestors are a landmark, marking history between 850 and 1250AD, This architectural anomaly be explored via guided hiking and biking tours with night sky talks and campfire talks available.

Hotels & Lodging

Hotels & Lodging
Hotels & Lodging

There are several hotels throughout the Navajo Nation to choose between for vacations. The four main areas offering accommodation include Tuba City, Canyon de Chelly at Chinle, Kayenta at Monument Valley, and Window Rock.  Hotels include well known chains such as Holiday Inn and Best Western, most owned and operated by Navajo. For an authentic and traditional experience, stay in a Navajo Hogan, a one-room sacred dwelling. These are available for use in Spider Rock Campground at Canyon de Chelly National Monument and at Monument Valley with prior arrangements.

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