A Navajo Nation adventure
This historical gem is a must-see for those heading south this year
Did you know that there are more than twenty different Native tribes just in Arizona alone?
The Navajo Nation (Diné Bikéyah in Navajo) is huge and covers 67,339 square kilometres (27,000 square miles), mostly in Arizona but also extending into New Mexico and Utah. It is surrounded by the four sacred mountains: Mount Taylor, New Mexico (the Turquoise Mountain) to the south, represented by the colour blue; the San Francisco Peaks to the west, (just north of Flagstaff) symbolizing the yellow abalone stone; the Blanca Peak to the east representing the white morning sky with its white shell precious stone; and the Hesperus Peak marking the northern boundary of the Dinetah. Hesperus Peak is associated with the color black, and is said to be impregnated with jet (lignite), a minor gemstone.
The Hopi Reservation sits in the middle and is totally surrounded by Navajolands.
Beginning the journey
We started our Navajo Nation adventure by going north on Arizona Highway 89 towards Tuba City, the largest community on the Navajo Reservation. We hadn’t gone very far when we spotted a hand painted sign on the side of the road. It read “The Dinosaur Tracks.”
A couple of fellows were sitting in a nearby shelter munching on donuts and drinking coffee. One of the fellows, whose name was Henry, told us about the dinosaurs and the fossils. He offered to show us around.
We wandered around with him for over an hour. He wanted to show us all the great fossils they had found. He said that some archaeology-types had taught them about the fossils. He squirted water at various spots to show up the shapes embedded in the rock. He showed us dinosaur tracks, fossilized poop and explained what he knew about the geological history.
When we started touring the Navajo Nation, we thought we could do that in one season; I don’t think so!