Moenkopi, AZ. May 30
Where am I? What time is it?
Well I am in Arizona, a state in the Mountain Time Zone. BUT, Arizona does not observe daylight savings time as do the other states in the Mountain Time Zone. BUT I visited a National Park Service site in Arizona and the National Parks in Arizona are on daylight savings time. BUT I am staying at the Moenkopi Legacy Inn on Hopi reservation property which does not observe daylight savings time. BUT I had dinner at the Hogan restaurant in Tuba City, right across the highway from the Moenkopi Legacy Inn, and Tuba City is in the Navajo Nation, which does observe daylight savings time. Huh?
We said good-bye to Lou and Joyce in Flagstaff and headed up to Navajo National Monument, about 150 miles northeast of Flagstaff. About an hour into our journey, we stopped at Cameron’s Trading Post. Cameron’s dates back to 1916 when a bridge was built over the Little Colorado River gorge. Like the Hubbell Trading Post we visited earlier on this trip, Cameron’s was a place for trading and bartering among whites, Navajo, and Hopi. Unlike Hubbell, Cameron’s is but one mile from a turnoff to the Grand Canyon and has re-made itself into a modern-day tourist stop for bus groups and families on their way to the Grand Canyon or Lake Powell. Cameron’s is an employee owned company, so congrats to them.
The Little Colorado River was completely dry underneath the bridge. I do not know if that is due to drought, normal seasonal variation or the taking of river water for irrigation and other human uses prior to the bridge. The gorge is deep and one can visualize why it would be a barrier for white settlement.
We bought nothing here and kept on moving. Navajo National Monument was established in 1909 to protect pueblo dwellings established by the Anasazi, or Ancestral Puebloans. The dwellings here are built into alcoves in the cliffs and are protected from the elements. We were not timely to take a tour down to the actual dwellings, but hiked out to an overlook to view Betatakin, one of three dwelling sites in the monument.
The valley here had been occupied with villages of farmers for hundreds of years. Valley dwellers built Betatakin and two other cliff dwellings. Betatakin was only inhabited for 50 years; speculation is because of drought or enemies but no one knows for sure. They only inhabited them for 50 years, from 1250 to 1300. The inhabitants moved on, speculation is that they intermingled with Hopi, Zuni, and other Pueblo groups. Betatakin is smaller than Chaco and other sites we visited but the dwellings are well preserved. (The word pueblo can mean both the architectural style of building and also can mean the cultures that have built and lived in villages of this style.)
After the hikes, we retraced our steps to Tuba City and visited the Navajo Interactive Museum. This museum shows Navajo, who prefer to be called Dine, history, culture, creation stories, etc.
A short history, my summary so you might wish to explore further on your own, about the conflict between Hopi and Navajo. First, the Hopi are a peaceful, farming people. They did not fight the US Army when whites came out to settle the West. The Navajo did, and were forced from this area on “The Long Walk of the Navajo” to New Mexico in the 1860s where they were imprisoned for four years. They suffered terribly on the walk, during imprisonment, and after being released.
The Hopi, since they did not fight, do not have a treaty with the US. The Navajo, after 1860s, returned to this area and settled in many cases on what had been considered Hopi land. US treaties with the Navajo gave them land which had been considered Hopi. Over the years, the Navajo have been successful, whether right or wrong, in having court opinions and Congressional actions solidify their hold over previous Hopi land. Now, the Hopi live on a reservation surrounded by the Navajo Nation and are vastly outnumbered by the Navajo, about 20,000 Hopi to 300,000 Navajo.
These ongoing land disputes and access to spiritual locations continue to cause rifts between the two tribes. An additional factor seems to be Peabody Coal which has large mining operations on the reservation. Navajo seem more inclined to authorize coal mining, Hopi do not.
Tomorrow we go to a Hopi cultural center.
Ed and Chris May 30