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The land of the Navajo and the Hopi.

The land of the Navajo and the Hopi

Two ancient cultures are changing fact. Here's how to pay thema visit

A visit to the land of the Hopis and the Navajos requires neitherpassport nor foreign coin, but in many ways exploring here can be as exotic as any trip across the seas.

Partly it's the other visitors. You're as likely to camp or dinenext to French, Germans, or Japanese as other Americans. What draws them and us are the land, the people, and two cultures that are both ancient and changing fast.

Hopi and Navajo country is a study incontrasts between traditions vastly different from our own--and from each other. Visitors who come with a sensitivity and a wish to learn will not be disappointed. A little time and effort breaking through initial reserve will reveal hospitable people with a disarming sense of humor and cultures that are both rich and puzzling.

The Navajo Reservation is the nation'sbiggest and most powerful. Twice the size of Israel, it is home to some 170,000 Navajos. (Quizzed about the significance of their legendary large families--an average six to eight children--one tribal leader quipped, "It means we're going to be here a long time.')

Surrounded by Navajos is the much smaller Hopi Reservation.Its 8,000 residents live in 12 villages strung along Arizona Highway 264--nine of them perched atop 600-foot-tall mesas. They are caught in a struggle between those who believe Hopis will survive only if they keep devout to the old ways, and those who believe Hopis too must adapt to a modern world.

The Hopis are also involved in a centurylongland dispute with the Navajos. Our maps reflect the reservation boundaries drawn in 1979 by a U.S. District Court. This is a sore subject with both tribes, and relocation of families off each other's land will continue for years.

Crown jewels of this land that takes up about a fifth of Arizonaand spills over into Utah and New Mexico are three world-class parks: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly, known for their stunning red rock beauty, archeology, and rural Navajo life; and Navajo National Monument, site of Betatakin and Keet Seel, two of the most beautiful ancient Anasazi village ruins--homes to ancestors of today's Hopis.

While none of these are to be missed, they form only a portionof the adventures one can pursue here.

Even the weather is dramatic. May and June are predictablysunny, with highs in the 80s and 90s, lows to the mid-30s to 40s. July brings two months of monsoons--the most exciting time to visit. Campers and hikers can get very wet, trails can be muddy, dirt roads may wash out--but it's worth it for the sky theatrics and the delicious smells. September through November is also wonderful--crowds gone, weather often perfect.

Our report takes you through the reservations following thehighway circuit shown on the map at left. We begin in the west and move clockwise--but you can pick up the loop anywhere.

There's enough to see and do to fill a good week or two. If timeis short, choose what suits you best from the following pages.


The Western Reservation: cliff dwellings and dinosaur tracks

"There was no much sky, more than atsea, more than anywhere else in the world,' is how Willa Cather's Father LaTour describes Navajoland in her Death Comes for the Archbishop. "Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky.'

This is Colorado Plateau country, that5,000- to 8,000-foot-elevation, 130,000-square-mile province where nature's forces also created such masterpieces as Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Canyonlands, Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon. It's simple, complex, dramatic, open; there's timeless feel to this land.

Yet much is changing for the Dine, "thepeople,' as the Navajos call themselves.

As early as the 1400s, these Athapascan-speakingpioneers had arrived in the Southwest, along with Apaches of the same language group. Heavily influenced by the Pueblo people and the Spanish, the Navajos by the 17th century had become distinct from other Apache groups, matrilineal, living as many still do today in extended families.

This last decade, running water and electricityreached half the people on the 25,000-square-mile reservation. Schools and chapter houses are new and handsome. Modern shopping centers in Tuba City, Kayenta, Chinle, Shiprock, and Window Rock have brought better shopping closer to home. Frame houses with yards are replacing hogans. Traditional ceremonies are supplemented by Christian and other religious rituals. Pickups and vans have replaced horses; younger Navajos wear contemporary clothing.

"But our culture is still very much intact,'says Peter McDonald, now in his fourth term as tribal chairman. "Our language is still very strong. And our attitude --the way we do things, how we look at things--is the same.'

Mr. McDonald sees tourism as one hopefor chronic unemployment--the tribe's biggest crisis. In the nation's richest tribe, despite its agricultural, coal, uranium, and timber resources, some 40 percent of job seekers can't find work. And 3,000 Navajos a year graduate from high schools and colleges with little hope of finding work at home.

Meanwhile, he says: "We're a proud people.We love for visitors from all over the world to see our beautiful country. Come be reunited with nature. Come see us.'

The Western Reservation: gateway to dinosaur tracks, ancient dwellings

Coming from the west, you might beginyour exploring at Cameron Trading Post, overlooking the Little Colorado, 55 miles from Flagstaff or Grand Canyon Village.

Since 1978, Joe Atkinson, grandnephewof original owners C.D. and Hubert Richardson, has spent $1.5 million to refurbish the post's 45 motel rooms, restore and Italian garden begun in 1916 by Mrs. Hubert Richardson, and give the reservation its handsomest pressed-tin-ceilinged, artfilled restaurant.

Amiably busy, the post (open 6 A.M. to 9or 10 P.M. daily) is often a jumble of tourists and Navajos--some of the latter still in their velveteens and long skirts, coming to buy groceries, sell crafts, or just watch from a shaded porch.

You'll find plenty of arts and crafts tobuy. Serious collectors can ask to see a gallery in the old hotel: five rooms lovingly restored, filled with museum-quality Indian entiques and blue-ribbon contemporary crafts, most of them for sale.

Easter through June, Navajos bring infine wool and mohair for cash or to swap; in the fall, they bring pinon nuts.

Tuba City: one of five regional agencies

The Navajo reservation is divided into109 chapters, each with its own chapter house, which operates like the early New England town halls; and into five regions, each with a town serving as sort of county seat with schools, stores, and regional Bureau of Indian Affairs and other offices.

Tuba City serves the Western Reservation.Other centers are Shiprock, Chinle, Fort Defiance, and Crownpoint. Window Rock is the Navajo capital.

Tuba City's main street, lined with cottonwoodsand early 1900s homes and buildings of sandstone blocks, is a puzzle until you learn it was settled by Mormon pioneers before the government bought it for the Indians. A good stopping spot is the tin-roofed, hogan-shaped 1880 Tuba Trading Post, open daily 7 to 10; (602) 283-5441. Managers Jerry and Dolores Norris can answer questions about the area. Next door are Pancho's, a good place for Mexican food, and the Tuba City Motel.

Short detour to dinosaur tracks

Just 1/8 mile up a dirt road turnoff 5 mileswest of Tuba City on U.S. 160, roadside crafts stands also announce "Dinosaur tracks.' If some lively Navajo youngsters in sneakers offer to show you where dilo-phosaurus, a bipedal carnivorous dinosaur, left marks some 200 million years ago, jump at the chance. Sometimes trailed by a brother or sister in diapers, dragging a blanket, they're imaginative sources of local as well as prehistoric lore. Their efforts surely deserve a tip.

Hike or ride horseback to two of the Southwest's most beautifulcave pueblos, at Navajo National Monument

Grandmother and grandfather are whatNavajos call the pinon and juniper trees; they abound, some of them hundreds of years old, growing in red earth around 6,000 feet. You'll see fine stands as you drive the paved 9-mile road that leads off U.S. 160 to Navajo National Monument, 360-acre home to a trio of exquisite Anasazi ruins. (The Anasazi, Navajo for "ancient ones,' were ancestors of today's Hopi and Rio Grande Pueblo people.)

Inscription House Ruin is so unstable it isclosed, but Betatakin and Keet Seel, both in red sandstone canyons, are worth the effort to see for their magnificent settings and excellent state of preservation.

Inhabitants of both were what archeologistscall Kayenta Anasazi. With Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon, they comprised core areas where the prehistoric Pueblo villagers flourished--successful farmers, builders, and craftsmen. Built in the 1260s and 1270s and occupied for only 50 years, the dwellings were abandoned around 1300 for unknown reasons-- drought? erosion? invasions by other tribes?

Betatakin. Navajo for "ledge house,'Betatakin looks tiny, even through binoculars, from the overlook, an easy mile round-trip walk from the visitor center.

But it is dramatic and idyllic whenapproached on foot through an aspen grove. Daily at 8, noon, and 4 from Memorial Day to Labor Day (and weekends mid-April through September), park rangers lead free guided 4-hour hikes to this 135-room ruin sheltered in a 500-foot vaulted alcove. On summer days, when canyon temperatures can soar above 100|, the early or late trips are wise choices. Sign up at the visitor center on arrival (trip limit is 24). Bring water and a snack.

The 3-mile round trip involves a fairly steep700-foot climb out. Our tour had four- and five-year-olds who made it fine with some help--and clearly enjoyed it. Along the way, pause on a terraced sandstone ledge to hear the silence and drink in the beauty. The Hopis believe their fire clan lived here.

Keet Seel. Largest cliff dwelling in Arizona(160 rooms) and one of the best preserved, more remote Keet Seel (Navajo for "broken pottery') is open only Memorial Day to Labor Day. It's a 16-mile round trip by foot or horse--but for the brief time you're there, you feel it's yours.

On horseback, you can make it comfortablyin a day; hikers usually spend a night at the ruins. Daily limit is 25 people. To reserve Keet Seel hiking permits (free) or horses ($40; bring own water, food), book with the monument as early as possible: HC 71, Box 3, Tonalea, Ariz. 86044; (602) 672-2366. No luck? Try for last-minute cancellations.

The monument's visitor center, open 8 to6 daily, has cultural exhibits plus a film, slide show, and arts and crafts for sale; also picnic areas and a campground. Campfire talks on local archeology, history, and natural history are held Wednesday through Sunday evenings.

Monument Valley--seeing a land of red rock monuments and Navajorural life by car, van, or horseback

No single scene says Southwest fasterthan Monument Valley, a vision in red, pink, and purple. The boldly spaced, fantastically eroded bluffs, thousand-foot-tall monoliths, natural caves and arches filling this 98,000-acre tribal park have time and again made their statements on television and movie screens and filled thousands of visitors with awe.

When Kit Carson was rounding up Navajosin Canyon de Chelly in the mid 1800s, many Navajos led by Headman Hoskinini brought their flocks here and avoided the infamous "long walk' (page 101). Some folks you see here are their descendants.

TV antennas now sprout from baked-earthhogans, and Navajo youngsters ride horseback in blue jeans and tennis shoes, but still there's a sort of Navajo Williamsburg quality about the life of the hundred or so Indians living here.

Elegant grandmothers in velveteenblouses and long skirts sit by the road selling cedar bead necklaces for $3 to $5--one of the cheapest, most charming Indian-country souvenirs.

Guests on a guided van tour stoop to entera hogan as another woman in traditional dress shows how a classic hogan was arranged --doorway to the east, loom and women's things to the north. She also shows how all phases of weaving are done. Elsewhere, another gives visitors a sampling of hot fry bread as it should be eaten--with a bowl of mutton stew, served under a juniper tree.

Hogan visits and cookouts are optionsonly if you join a van tour (see page 109).

On your own, for a fee ($1 last year), youcan drive a 14-mile loop road (unpaved, sometimes rutted) through the only part of the park open to visitors without a guide. A self-guiding brochure names and gives lore of each monument; pullouts allow for leisurely viewing. The park is open daily; if time permits, spend an early evening here watching the colors change as billowy clouds cast enormous purple shadows across the land.

Monument Valley is at the very geographicheart of the Colorado Plateau. "The banded rocks standing up' is how some Navajos call the eroded shapes. Volcanic action and dramatic uplifts have thrust into a dome a deep layer of red De Chelly sandstone and a cap of newer stone dating to the age of dinosaurs. Erosion did the rest. One May day, hiding in a cave from a sandstorm, a group of us on horseback saw and felt for ourselves the forces of nature still blasting away.

Tourism to this oldest and largest of ninetribally owned parks has tripled in recent years, so that sometimes there isn't enough hot water for showers at the campground and the visitor center is a congestion of buses, cars, and bodies. Don't be put off. The park is a jewel, worth any inconvenience.

Closest lodging is at Goulding's Lodge, 6miles west of the park's visitor center. There are also two motels in Kayenta and several even cheaper ones in Mexican Hat; try San Juan Inn on the river.

Navajos operate a hundred-space campgroundnear the visitor center, and Goulding's KOA runs another.

Shopping notes. Arts and crafts are sold atthe predictable places (motels, park visitor center), but one you might otherwise overlook is Oljato Trading Post, an old-style store 9 miles northwest from Goulding's. Ask to see a museum-like room filled with rugs, baskets, and antiques--some for sale.

And in Kayenta, look for the new BlackMesa Indian Arts and Crafts shop, owned by two long-time traders.

Canyon de Chelly: rural Navajo life, entrancing beauty, the "long walk'

Just 66 miles southeast of Kayenta, Navajoland'sthird park jewel--Canyon de Chelly (say d'shay)--is as filled with drama and history as it is with beauty. From a dozen canyon overlooks, you can peek down on idyllic pastoral vignettes-- bird's-eye views of tidy farms and orchards sprouting around red-roofed hogans, horses running free, perhaps a shepherd stepping out on a precarious rock to gather up a stray lamb.

This trio of canyons--the two main ones27- and 34-mile-long gorges cut into the 250-million-year-old red sandstone of the Defiance Plateau--has been a Navajo fortress for at least three centuries. Here too were the Navajos' most traumatic encounters with Spanish, Mexican, and American foes.

You'll hear the stories on any guided tour.At Massacre Cave, bullet holes remain from the day in 1805 when Spaniard Antonio Narbona and his men shot 115 trapped Navajos. It was one of many efforts to subdue a people who for centuries had helped themselves to the larders of Pueblo Indians and pioneers. "We used them as our 7-11 stores,' quipped one guide.

But usually this canyon remained so impenetrableit was a synonym for frustration and defeat--until 1863-64, when Colonel Kit Carson of the U.S. Army and his men ended the Navajos' raiding days. Carson starved them out by destroying their cornfields.

That and a cold winter finally did what noother invading force had been able to do.

On a mission through northernmostCanyon del Muerto, Carson's Captain Albert Pfeiffer wrote: "All Indian prisoners taken thus far were half-starved . . . At some places the canon spreads out like a beautiful savanna, where the corn-fields of the savages are laid out with farmer-like taste . . . (From above us, they jumped) about on the ledges of the rocks like mountain cats, halloing at me, swearing and cursing and threatening vengeance on my command . . . A couple of shots from my soldiers caused the redskins to disperse instantly and gave me safe passage through this celebrated Gibraltar of Navajodom.'

So the Navajos surrendered. For severalmonths in early 1864, some 8,500 were herded in groups across 400 miles of mountain and desert to confinement near Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Many died on this "long walk'; more died soon after. Finally, on June 1, 1868, the survivors signed a treaty that let them return home. Barboncito, a headman from Canyon de Chelly and the first to sign, lived 97 days after returning home.

Since 1931, the National Park Service hasadministered 130 square miles of this land for the Navajos who still farm the canyon. Hardly anyone lives in the canyon year-round, but come spring some 40 families return--mostly on weekends--to plant crops, tend orchards, graze sheep and horses.

Touring a red, red canyon by jeep, on horseback, on foot

You'll want to see Canyon de Chelly (theword's a Spanish corruption of the Navajo word for canyon--tsegi) from above and within. If time or budget are limited, plan to drive the north or south rim--17 miles one way for each--stopping a while with binoculars at the overlooks. And try the 2 1/2-mile round-trip hike to White House Ruins--the only canyon access permitted without a guide. All that is free.

Navajos consider this part of their ancestralhomeland, but for 1,500 years before they came the Anasazi lived here, as thousands of sites in the park attest. Best known of 369 cliff dwellings is White House, named for white plaster on the cliffs above the dwellings, occupied from 1050 to 1300. The trail descends sweeping sandstone walls--the views are breathtaking, particularly on late-summer afternoons. Allow several hours; bring water. Some months you'll have to slosh across Chinle Wash.

Because Navajos live here, and becausethe moist canyon bottom conceals quicksand, guides accompany all other visitors. Rangers lead daily hikes from the visitor center in summer, and give campfire programs in the free 92-unit Cottonwood Campground nearby.

Horse or jeep trips into the canyon carryyou into the reddest world you'll ever see. Red is the color of the slick rock canyon walls, rising from 30 feet at the entrance nearest Chinle to more than 1,000 feet nearer the Chuska and Lukachukai Mountains. The hue and intensity change by the hour, with the reds especially vivid mornings and evenings. After a day or two here, your eyes will be shocked, as you leave, by the sudden change.

Tours. Noisy pea green open-air U.S. Armypersonnel carriers from the Korean War haul up to 24 passengers each through the canyons on half- and all-day tours. Bring a hat, sunglasses, lotion, and maybe a pillow to sit on. Sign up at Thunderbird Lodge. For details on these trips and guided horse trips (or for details on hiring guides if you want to enter on your own by foot, horse, or four-wheel-drive), see page 108.

Del Muerto canyon is the more impressive,its towering walls closer together and at intervals so undercut that the sky is just a ribbon of blue. It also has the two most famous pictographs--one showing mounted Spanish soldiers and priests with crosses, and another showing an enormous cow. De Chelly ends at towering Spider Rock, legendary home of the Spider Woman who taught Navajo women to weave.

To Chinle for a scenic detour through Navajo's Alps; visit Tsaile's museum

Chinle, long a farming center, has sproutedtownhouses and a shopping center. In the 90-room 1920s Thunderbird Lodge, meals are served cafeteria-style in rooms that double as sales galleries for fine Navajo crafts, including local weavings.

From here a scenic route--Indian highways64 and 12--to Window Rock traverses forests and skirts lakes amid the Chuska and Lukachukai Mountains-- made famous in Tony Hillerman's mystery novels. (These star Navajo Sergeant Jim Chee, who is forever outsmarting the FBI or dogging criminals in these mountains. Bring one on your visit--fun, and full of contemporary Navajo lore.)

Rising to 9,500-foot heights, these stunningNavajo Alps are also considered "magic mountains' in weaving circles-- so many superb weavers live here.

Just 24 miles east of Chinle, stop at alpineNavajo Community College--the nation's first Indian college--in Tsaile. Head for the free Ned A. Hatathli Museum, on two floors of the six-story Navajo Culture Building. It will soon have new dioramas depicting Navajo legends, 8- by 8-foot sand paintings, and reproductions of Navajo rock art. Ask ahead, and curator Harry Walters can stage a 1-hour slide show on Navajo history. Also ask about Navajo culture classes open to non-Indians. Museum hours: 1 to 5 Sundays, 8 to 5 other days; (602) 724-3311, ext. 206. Continuing along Indian 12, you'll climb past Wheatfield Lake (camping) and red rock cliffs. For additional striking scenery, try State 134 over the mountains to U.S. 666. It passes the old Crystal Trading Post, Washington Pass picnic grounds, and a turnoff to Asaayi Lake, one of the reservation's prettiest mountain camping-fishing-picnicking spots (no running water, no rest rooms).

Window Rock, the Navajo capital

Since 1935, Window Rock--so named forthe hole in the sacred sandstone bluff above it--has been the Navajo Nation's capital. Three sites to visit:

Council Chambers. Near Window Rocktribal park, the hogan-shaped Tribal Council Chambers are open 8 to 5 on many weekdays. Look inside at murals depicting Navajo history, painted in 1936 by Navajo Gerald Nailor. If the building is locked, look for Harold Morgan in the council delegates office just north. During sessions, you'll hear the 88 elected councilmen deliberating in both Navajo and English.

Navajo Arts and Crafts Enterprise, west ofWindow Rock Motor Inn (best lodging and dining in town) is the biggest Navajo-operated crafts shop on the reservation, open 8 to 5 weekdays, 9 to 2 summer Saturdays. In it the Navajo Tribal Museum traces tribal history from the 1600s on. An adjoining gallery features Indian artists. East of the Motor Inn, the tribal zoo (8 to 5 daily) has plants and animals native to the reservation. It is in Tse Bonito Park, open to primitive camping ($2 a night). The museum and zoo are free; donations welcome.

Cemetery. Near the turnoff to FortDefiance, the Navajo Veterans Cemetery, with its hand-lettered Abe Lincoln quotes, is a touching tribute. The Navajos remain proud of all veterans, but particularly their "code talkers,' who baffled the Japanese throughout World War II by communicating U.S. military messages in a code based on the Navajo language.


Life at the center of the universe. You can watch a dance, shop for crafts

How could the Hopis possibly believe theylive at the center of the universe, as their ancient legends state? Hardly a tree shades their stone villages strewn along three arid, crumbly mesas.

Perhaps one July day you will perch atopa Hopi house, sharing the view with a tethered eagle and several dozen Indian and non-Indian visitors. Spellbound, you'll watch as kachina dancers, immaculately adorned in masks, fir boughs, and leather moccasins, their skin painted with crushed minerals, enter the plaza and begin a long series of chants, songs, and dances of hypnotizing beauty.

Clouds, enormous and threatening, beginto crowd a sky that was a sea of unmarked blue when you arrived. Thunder rolls, lightning flashes, rain pounds.

Then suddenly you will understand.

Some view Hopi country as an Indianholy of holies. Few tribes have kept to their ancient ways with more dedication than these people, whose centuries of migrations brought them here--to their fourth universe--about A.D. 1100.

But the paving of highways, governmenthousing, electricity and television, and children being sent off-reservation to school have undermined this ancient culture. Once agrarian, this is now a cash economy, with agriculture largely ceremonial. Jobs are scarce, unemployment high. For some, junk foods have replaced healthy traditional foods, resulting in diabetes and other health problems. Alcoholism continues as an acute problem for Hopis, as for Navajos.

"Change is happening so fast,' poet andartist Mike Kabotie told us, "that we don't have time to know what it all means, to figure out how to adjust to two worlds.'

Traditionally ruled by religious priests,the Hopis were forced to adopt a democratic tribal council by the Indian Reorganization Act of 1936. Since then, some Hopis are sure adaptation to the white man's world is a must, while others fear that that will complete the destruction of Hopi life as it has been practiced for at least 1,800 years.

All this may make you uncertain whetheryou're welcome or not. The answer depends on your attitude and the particular Hopis you chance to meet. Remember, too, that a great many Hopis depend on sales of their arts and crafts for their livelihood, so visitors supporting these crafts are important.

The key is to approach a Hopi village as ifyou are going into a home. If you treat it like just another tourist attraction, you'll get to see little and learn nothing. If you go with respect (signs at each village dictate the rules), you'll be welcomed.

Attending a dance. You're in luck if you'rethere when a dance is held. Kachina dances, observed in all the Hopi villages, go on from February into August, when the kachinas, representatives from the spirit world, return to their home in the San Francisco Mountains near Flagstaff. The dances generally are open to visitors. Be as unobtrusive as possible as you join the Hopis watching from rooftops. (Chairs around the plaza are for village families and their guests.) This is church, so dress modestly. Do what the Hopis do: if they aren't wearing hats, don't wear a hat. Don't photograph, record, or sketch. Don't ask a lot of questions--just watch.

Finding out dates is a puzzle. Dances areannounced only a few weeks ahead. The Hopi Cultural Center at Second Mesa, the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, and the Heard Museum in Phoenix try to keep track, but often you'll get conflicting dates from these sources. Go with the majority opinion, and good luck!

For bed, board, crafts, history

Two stops on State Highway 264 havetourist facilities.

Second Mesa. Tribally owned and Hopi-operatedis the lively Hopi Cultural Center at Second Mesa, with 33-room motel and an appealing full-service restaurant, where specials include the ceremonial papery-thin gray-blue piki bread, lamb stew, Indian tacos. Also here: a museum, open daily 9 to 5, and crafts shops. Call (602) 734-2401. Adjacent, amid the pinons and junipers, is a campground. Nearby, the Hopi Craftsmen Guild, open daily 8 to 6, has a good selection of most tribal crafts and occasional crafts demonstrations. Five miles east at Secakuku Trading Post are another restaurant and a new gift shop.

Keams Canyon. East 27 miles at KeamsCanyon, Bruce McGee, a third-generation trader here, has superb Hopi and Navajo crafts (open 9 to 5 weekdays, to 2 Saturdays, closed Sundays; 602/738-2295), and a restaurant (7 to 8 weekdays, to about 4 Saturdays). There's also a 30-unit motel; call (602) 738-2297. An Indian-operated campground here has had some complaints.

Where else to shop. A half-dozen shopsowned by Hopi craftsmakers line State 264; they vary widely in quality; some are mainly video rental places.

If you're interested in a particular Hopicraft (see next page), you may wish to visit some makers in their homes. You can arrange this through the guild, or the tribe's cultural office at Kykotsmovi; call (602) 734-2441. Or, armed with a name or two of people whose work you admire, you might look them up in their village and buy direct from them.

For room reservations or questions aboutdances or other tribal matters, call the cultural center at (602) 734-2401.

(Hopi villages are occasionally closed tovisitors for ceremonial or other reasons. Please respect these closures graciously.)

Walpi: a must stop in Hopi country

Don't leave without visiting Walpi. At theprow of First Mesa, Walpi has been continuously inhabited since the 1600s.

In the early 1980s, the National Park Servicestabilized the multistory stone buildings. Clan chiefs have dictated that they are to remain in the old way, without electricity. Some of the few families still living there sell arts and crafts from their homes; look for signs in their windows: "Potteries for sale,' "Kachinas,' and so on.

Our favorite time to visit is about dusk.We've been invited to share a cob of corn fresh from the field, we've heard life stories of craftspeople, and we've been given a magical tour by a free-spirited six-year-old. We have never come away untouched.


New "golden age' in crafts? Here's where to look, what you'll pay

"Friendly Indians, low prices,' reads ahandwritten sign next to a roadside stand as visitors enter Navajo country from the Grand Canyon. Some items sold are genuine. Some are made in Mexico. With some, Indians just strung together fetishes stamped out in a Philippines factory.

Then there are the shops and tradingposts where top-quality crafts are guaranteed Indian-made--places like Second Mesa, Keams Canyon, Hubbell's, and Window Rock's arts and crafts enterprise. Not only are traders and collectors heralding a new golden age for Hopi and Navajo crafts, but, they add, many Indians are making the leap from ethnic craftsmakers to true artists who can hold their own in any circle.

Looking for the crafts, studying them,meeting the artisans, and even buying provide one of the best common grounds for getting to know the Hopis and Navajos as you visit their homelands.

A Navajo family in a Chuska Mountainscampground invited us to "just take a look' at the two sand paintings in their car's trunk. They were beauties. Bargains. We bought them, and shared a watermelon in the piney woods. A small Ganado rug was too simple and perfect to ignore for $125 at Rough Rock Trading Post, where trader Al Grieve also told us about life there, in the middle of nowhere.

Stop and visit awhile, even with roadsidesellers and their children. A little humor and some genuine friendly interest on your part will go far to get past impassive facades to rich sources of information.

The biggest danger: the more you learn,the more likely you too will become an Indian crafts addict.

Books abound, tracing history and nuancesof each craft. Here we'll settle for updating views from the reservations.

Hopi crafts: baskets, jewelry, kachinas

As in the Navajo column at right, pricesare ballpark. Off-reservation shops may be competitive in prices, but few offer the variety you'll find on the "res.'

Baskets. Great numbers of baskets are partof Hopi weddings and other ceremonies, so many Hopi women still have this skill. Look for Third Mesa wicker plaques of rabbit brush and sumac, colored with natural or aniline dyes, for $50 to $300. Second Mesa weavers produce coiled yucca plaques and baskets, $70 for very small to $4,000 for fine large ones. First and Second Mesa villages make sifters or trays of plaited yucca over a willow ring; $12 to $60.

Jewelry. Overlay remains the main Hopijewelry form--designs are cut out of a flat sheet of silver, which is then soldered onto a second piece of silver. The recesses of the design are oxidized to turn them black. You'll find earrings starting at $12, bracelets from $50, bolos, money clips, pendants, and so on. Some are using gold now as the overlay. Master artists like Charles Loloma command thousands of dollars for contemporary pieces set with gemstones.

Kachinas. Carved kachinas are mainly instyles that became popular in the 1950s: caught in characteristic dancers' poses and dressed or painted in vivid acrylics (about $75 to $500).

A new trend: figures elaborately carvedfrom one piece of cottonwood root and colored in stains ($250 to $5,000). And a few carvers have returned to the simple 1800s arms-on-stomach style, in soft natural colors ($165 to $600). Navajos also are turning out copies of kachinas; ask dealers.

Pottery. The revival in yellow-to-orangeware launched 90 years ago by local Nampeyo, a First Mesa woman inspired by ancient pottery, continues today. First Mesa is the major Hopi-Tewa producer. The best, delicate and bold, feature sweeping curvilinear motifs. Prices range up to hundreds of dollars for pots by Helen Naha, by Frogwoman, and by Nampeyo's descendants.

Weaving. It's still Hopi men who weave,mostly for ceremonial use. Some belts ($30 to $165), rugs (up to $1,200), and traditional clothing items can be found for sale.

Navajo (and Paiute) crafts . . . where to look and what to lookfor

Baskets. Most trading posts carry a fewwedding baskets with a bold red zigzag mountain design centered around a coil. Some are Paiute made; meant for Navajos to use and reuse for ceremonies, they cost only $30 to $60. Supersize baskets like the one pictured opposite are made by Navajos and Paiutes who share Navajo land.

(For a fuller report, see the October 1985Sunset, page 76.)

Jewelry. Atsidi Sani (Old Smith) was thefirst known Navajo silversmith in the 1860s. Now silversmiths number in the hundreds. The Navajos place importance on natural shapes, contouring silver to the stone. Stoneless silver rings, bracelets, pendants, belt buckles, bolos, earrings, and necklaces are made in the sand-cast or handwrought methods. For a big selection of jewelry, traditional and contemporary, stop by the Navajo Arts and Crafts Enterprise in Window Rock.

Pottery. A few Navajos, particularly in theShonto area, make a brown "glazed' pottery in a hot pitch that ranges from clunky to handsome ($3 to $500). Sacred Mountain Trading Post on U.S. 89 has a good supply; so has Shonto Trading Post.

Sand paintings. Navajo healing ceremoniesinvolve a medicine man singing curing songs while he or an assistant makes an elaborate picture on the floor using sands and crushed minerals. Similar designs are glued onto wood and sold as sand paintings. We found the best choice ($10 to several hundred dollars) at trading posts in the Shiprock area.

A revival in Navajo weaving

"There are more rug weavers today doingsuperb work than ever before,' says Bill Malone of Hubbell Trading Post, which sells some 4,000 weavings a year.

As many as 12,000 women and maybe 25men weave today, at least occasionally, says Arizona State University's Ann Lane Hedlund. About 7 percent are masters-- experimenting with colors and designs, working daily, steadily at upright looms.

Time-consuming carding and spinningare giving way to the use of commercially spun and dyed one-ply yarns, so rugs are finer and more even in texture than ever.

The cost? Up to many thousands of dollars.Some say they're overpriced, but each is unique and the best have moved from curio shops to art galleries.

Cheaper ones still exist: $150 for a saddleblanket, or $125 for a nice 1-by-3 in one of at least 10 regional styles begun around the turn of the century--each named for a trading post that inspired the design. There are also twills, two-faced, pictorials. Today's weavers feel freer than ever to weave what they like or think will sell.

A swing to pastels and soft vegetal colorscontinues, especially in Wide Ruins (banded, no border) and Burntwater (geometric, bordered) designs. Amidst great secrecy, weaving families are creating new vegetal shades--mauves, blues, soft tones. Also popular: reproductions of late 1800s Chiefs Blankets. Unless you know rugs, better deal with reputable traders. Many of the trading posts on page 108 carry rugs made locally. Big supplies are at Hubbell's, Shiprock area trading posts, at J.B. Tanner's in Yah-Ta-Hey and R.B. Burnham in Sanders.


A map-guide to horse rides, tours, hikes, museums, shops

Reservation lodging, modest and scarce,can sell out in summer; it's wise to book ahead. Campgrounds are mostly first-come. For a listing of motels and campgrounds, for fishing information, and for a calendar of events, write to Navajoland Tourism Office, Box 308 DOR Bldg., Window Rock 86515 (include a stamped, self-addressed business-size envelope) or call (602) 871-6659.

The AAA's Guide to Indian Country isthe most detailed road map available; it's free to AAA members.

In 1985, the tribe copublished--with authorsBonnie Brown and Carol Bracken-- The Complete Family Guide to Navajo-Hopi Land. Send $9.95 to Navajo Tribal Museum, Box 308, Window Rock 86515.

Tune in to the Navajo's Station KTNN--660 AM--for weather news (in English), and an earful of the Navajo language.

Remember that both Navajo and Hopireservations are dry--no liquor is sold.

Telephones and time differences

Most reservation telephones are part ofthe Navajo Communications System, which has had problems, so be forgiving if phones are out of order, or if someone hangs up when you call: the party may not be able to hear you.

Watch the clock! The entire Navajo reservationobserves daylight-saving time with New Mexico, while the Hopis observe Arizona's Mountain Standard Time. So when it's noon at Second Mesa, it's 1 in Window Rock.

Jeep and van tours

Reservations a month or more ahead areadvised for most tours. Unless otherwise noted, addresses are in Arizona and telephone numbers are area code 602.

Chinle/Canyon de Chelly. ThunderbirdTours runs half-day jeep trips (9 to 12:30; 2 to 5:30) to Canyon del Muerto and Canyon de Chelly: $24.15, $17.85 ages 12 and under. All-day tours (9 to 5:30) to both canyons: $40.95 all ages; Box 548, Chinle 86503; 674-5443.

Visitors with their own 4WD can explorethe park with a Navajo guide: $6 an hour for one vehicle, $6.50 for up to five. Ask about overnights. Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Box 588, Chinle 86503; 674-5436.

Monument Valley/Kayenta. Benally'sMonument Valley Tours. From part visitor center, 2 1/2-hour van tours include hogan visit: $15, $6 ages 12 and under. Box 1171, Kayenta 86033; 697-3230.

Crawley's Navajo Land Tours. For 3 to 50guests daily: half-day (4-hour) tours to Monument or Mystery Valley, including hogan visit, cost $24; all-day $36; including an Indian cookout, $42. Box 187, Kayenta 86033; 697-3463.

Goulding's Tours. Frequent 2 1/2-hour toursdepart 9 and 1:30 from Goulding's Lodge to Monument or Mystery Valleys, with hogan visit: $21, $11 under age 12. All-day tours with Navajo cookout lunch: $41 and $21. Box 1, Monument Valley, Utah 84536; (801) 727-3231.

Navajo Guided Tours. From park visitorcenter, 2 1/2-hour tours daily year-round; $15, $6 ages 12 and under. Photography tours with "unlimited access to park areas,' $25 an hour for guide and vehicle holding up to 10. Write: 450 E. Pinion Ridge Rd., No. 7, Blanding, Utah 84511; (801) 678-2360.

Second Mesa. Hopi Village Tours hopes tobegin half-day or several-hour tours to one or two Hopi villages. Box 668, Second Mesa 86043; 737-2633.

Hiking and horseback tours

Most hiking and horse riding tours withyour own horse require a permit and/or Navajo guide.

Chinle/Canyon de Chelly. Mid-Maythrough mid-October, Twin Trail Tours offers one- to five-day trips into the canyons (no hourly rides). All require reservations; many days already sold out. One-day trip: $45. Five-day trip: $450 (minimum three people; less per person if more go; includes horses, food, tents). Ron Izzo has reservation-wide permit, can design trips elsewhere, too. Box 1706, Window Rock 86515; 871-4663.

Adventure Trails of the West, Inc., runstwo deluxe guided horse tours through Canyon de Chelly for adults and older teenagers, with lots of Indian involvement. Price is for all meals; if you need a horse, add $185. June 8 to 12 for 30 riders, $525; June 15 to 19 for 68 riders, $495. Box 1494, Wickenburg 85358; (602) 684-3106.

Two Navajo wranglers with stables nearcanyon entrance offer hourly and longer rides. See visitor center for directions to Justin Tso, Box 881, Chinle 86503, 674-5678; or David Wilson, Box 1174, Chinle.

Navajo guides. Hikers or visitors with ownhorses can explore park with trained guides: $6 per hour for up to 10 horses, $6.50 per hour for up to 10 hikers. Ask about overnight outings. Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Box 588, Chinle 86503; 674-5436.

Monument Valley. Ed Black HorsebackTours, a hang-loose outfit, has 10 horses 1/2 mile north of the visitor center. First 1 1/2 hours, $12, then $8 per hour, first-come. Overnight rides by arrangement (you provide food; "I don't know how to cook,' says Black.) Box 155, Mexican Hat, Utah 84531; (801) 739-4285, or leave a message with the part at (801) 727-3287.

September 21 to 25, Adventure Trails ofthe West, Inc., runs a deluxe ride for 68 adults and older teen-agers; lots of Indian involvent: $495, plus $185 for a horse. Address: see listing under Chinle.

Navajo National Monument. See hikingand horse-riding details on page 100.

Photography on tribal land

For noncommercial use, there's no problemphotographing natural wonders at the three parks mentioned here. Elsewhere on privately owned Navajo land, you need the owner's permission to take pictures.

On Hopi land, no photography is permittedin any village. Even photography from the roadside is forbidden.

Please ask for individual permission beforephotographing Hopis or Navajos-- especially those in traditional dress or making crafts. A tip ($1 per photographer, more if you're taking a number of photos) is often expected.

Photo: Ganado-born Marie Oskey holds up tightlywoven Navajo tapestry ($25) from old Hubbell Trading Post, where she's a park ranger

Photo: Sharing a chuckle in front of Cameron Trading Postare trader Lenny Mora and long-time patrons Dan and Agnes Bighorse, who still dress traditionally

Photo: Wrangler Ed Black started his horse rides at Monument Valley three years ago with a borrowed horse. Now he has 10. His family has lived in this area since before the 1864 forced "long walk,' which many Navajos in this area avoided

Photo: Navajo lands (white) enclose Hopireservation (light color tone). Loop drive from Tuba City through Chinle and back is about 350 miles. Detailed map, page 109

Photo: As farmer, Bernard Dawahoya showed us his family cornfield;as craftsman, he's soldering a ring at his shop along road to Shongopavi

Photo: Half Hopi and half Navajo, KevinHorace Quanne carves very detailed kachinas at Second Mesa shop

Photo: Piki bread is offeredvisitors to craft show by Kendrick Kewenvoyouma

Photo: Stylist Joanie Takala serves up Indian tacoat Hopi Cultural Center restaurant

Photo: Hiker in knee socks leads the way inside725-year-old Betatakin ruin, once home to 150 people. They're on a rather strenuous 4-hour guided walk from visitor center

Photo: Cameron and TubaCity offer shopping, food, sleep. Fifty miles northeast, visit two great ruins in Navajo monument

Photo: Like a tiny town, restored 50-yead-oldCameron Trading Post attracts Anglo and Navajo visitors daily to pick up mail, dine, shop, sleep. Below, Tuba Trading Post serves up crafts in middle, soda pop along wall

Photo: Kayenta is 25 miles fromMonument Valley-- whose entrance is just across the Utah line

Photo: Birth of a rug can be seen in Susie Black'shogan on Monument Valley van tour. She's one of some 12,000 Navajos who still weave

Photo: Key stops here:Canyon de Chelly, the Navajo capital of Window Rock, and Hubbell's in Ganado. Indian Highway 12 is a scenic option

Photo: Rising sun casts spell on Mitten Buttes for riders near Monument Valley entrance

Photo: Arches of Kayenta's modern shopping center(it even has talking cash registers--but only in English) echo the area's landscape

Photo: Fat sheep's price and othernews deck window at old Oljato Trading Post, 15 miles northwest of Monument Valley, 9 miles from Goulding's

Photo: Pillows crocheted like Navajowedding baskets are for sale from a pickup in view of Window Rock that gave the Navajo capital its name. At right, girls in traditional dress take a ride at Navajo Nation Fair (see page 66)

Photo: Standing cow is title of pictograph in Canyonde Chelly monument; it was painted in white clay, probably in the early 1800s

Photo: Trio pauses to wonder at base ofWhite House Ruins, most famous in Canyon de Chelly. Here sandstone walls rise nearly 600 feet above Chinle Wash

Photo: Spectators watch intently from rooftops of Hopi village as dancers, some impersonating Navajos, perform in the plaza

Photo: Small dots locate 12Hopi villages off State 264-11 of them atop or near three mesas

Photo: Like a great beached ship,Second Mesa is silhouetted against the setting sun

Photo: New style of kachina is carved in greatdetail and stained. This one by Cecil Calnimptewa might sell for $3,500 today

Photo: With practiced precision, Joyce Ann Saufkieshows visitors to her Shongopavi home how she covers grass coils with yucca strips

Photo: Car trunk lifts to reveal sand paintingsfor sale ($35 and $125) on picnic encounter in Chuska Mountains. Creators and sellers are Herbert Ben and family of Shiprock

Photo: Loaded with Navajo jewelry, gracious weaver took time out to pose at Flagstaff Navajo Craftsmen show with samples of contemporary rings ($100 to $700) and bracelets ($150 to $3,000) at left, and traditional rings ($60 to $250) and bracelets ($120 to $375) at right

Photo: Navajo cloth doll ($45) charmsyoung visitors at Museum of Northern Arizona's show in Flagstaff--July 25 to August 2 this year (see page 66)

Photo: Mauves and blues in banded Wide Ruins rug($1,500) reflect hottest trend the past five years: rugs in pastel vegetal colors

Photo: Trader Elijah Blair beams with pride at$4,500 basket, one of an assortment at his Dinnebito Trading Post. It's part of a basketry revival by Navajos and Paiutes

Photo: Broad orange lines show routes reported inpreceding pages. Navajos own alternating square miles in checkerboard land east of the main reservation. Craft symbols on map will help you locate trading posts listed in box at left
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Title Annotation:includes related article on the storied trading posts
Date:May 1, 1987
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