Today, we got up early and took the 54 mile trip to Chinle, Arizona for a half day tour of Canyon de Chelly. We left Thunderbird Lodge, which is part of the trading post founded by Cozy McSparron, and traveled about nine miles down the northern part of the Canyon, Canyon del Muerto and about four miles down the south canyon. The canyon has been the home of several groups of Native American people including the Anasazi, Hopi and Navajo. All of these people have left their pictographs on the walls of the canyon and the ruins of the dwellings of the Anasazi stand high on the southern walls of the canyon in perfect passive solar alignment. There are two stops during the tour and at each of them, Native American vendors show jewelry, rugs and rock art reproductions. Below, you can see noted Navajo flutist Travis Terry showing one of his flutes to class participant Jennifer Thistel.
The canyon is the summer home to many Navajo families in the Chinle area and a few of the homes incorporate portions of the older Anasazi dwellings. The picture below shows a hogan constructed from the round walls of an Anasazi building. Note the weaving loom at the right of the picture. You can also see a Navajo pictograph called the Standing Cow at the left and some earlier Anasazi rock art which is thought to show the sun and moon can be seen at the right.
The Navajos also recorded the activities of the Spaniards in the canyon, and the picture below shows a close detail of one of the paintings.
We drove back to Window Rock via Tsaile, AZ and Navajo, NM and had a great evening of weaving with a lot of vistors, including D.Y. Begay’s aunt Eileen Tracy. A few of us were weaving at 9:30, but now we need to close this post and dream of the canyon of today and the designs we’ll see tomorrow at Two Grey Hills. I’ll also post some progress pictures tomorrow.
I’ll leave you with this picture of class participant Laurie Rosen with Jennie Slick taken during our tour of the canyon.