Hank and Marilyn Coast to Coast 2017 travel blog

For the previous days we had explored the Ancients, the Puebloan settlers throughout the Colorado-Utah-Arizona area (the Four Corners area). There was much to learn and we were on information overload.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday we learned about modern Native Americans. We began on Saturday visiting the Navajo Museum in Window Rock AZ. The Navajo reservation covers nearly 20% of Arizona. Thanks to a Treaty ratified by Congress in 1867 the land is theirs 'forever.' They are the Navajo Nation. An influential chief advocated for Western-style education so that the Navajo might live in the 'white man's land.' There is a full education system in Navajo Nation, including technical schools and community colleges. Due to large numbers they have been very successful while maintaining many of their tribal values. Our guide was Ben Sorrell, a Navajo who works in the museum. Since we were there when it opened, he gave us a personal 20-minute presentation. He was very helpful.

From the Museum we went to the Hubbell Trading Post Natl Historic Site. Mr Hubbell used his trading post to advance the life of the Navajo living in his area. He and his wife are dearly remembered and the trading post is still active today.

Turning north we stopped at the Canyon de Chelly. Navajo trace their roots to the Puebloan Ancestors who lived there. Navajo today farm the canyon floor and graze their animals. From there we went to Monument Valley where we camped the night. A major Navajo Tribal Park is nearby. Monument Valley was the location of many Western movies (think Fort Apache with John Wayne). The stereotyped Indians are a contrast to both historical and contemporary Indian cultures.

The Piute Indians were not as fortunate as the Navajo. Piute culture in Utah clashed with Mormon settlements. The persecuted Mormons moved to Utah territory hoping to set up their theocratic state with Salt Lake City as its capital. They envisioned settling and incorporating the whole of Utah, Arizona, and into Mexico into their kingdom. They clashed with the Piute, who lost big time. By the time the US government got involved the Piute were decimated. Only 10% of their population still exists on a protected reservation. The Pipe Spring National Monument recalls this sad history.

For us this journey has had its ups and downs. We've learned a lot and saw a lot. But the traveling and camping was wearing on us. Not good for our relationship (no space for 'go to your own room'). We have made some adjustments, and stayed in some motels, and are feeling so much better.

Sunday night began our visits to the great canyons -Grand, Bryce, Cedar Breaks, and Zion. We will cover them in a separate post.

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