Tips for enjoying Canyon de Chelly
Editor's note: Reporter Hannah Grover and photographer Jon Austria visited Canyon de Chelly on Oct. 18 and 19 as part of The Daily Times' bucket list. The following is written by Hannah.
Adam Teller, the owner of Antelope House Tours, recommends researching the Navajo culture and the area before going into Canyon de Chelly National Monument.
If tourists understand Navajo etiquette, it puts area residents at ease, he said.
Navajo are not very talkative and won't look people in the eye, Teller explained. He said it is a sign of respect to avoid eye contact because only an authority can look at you in they eye.
Teller also suggested different books to give insight into the canyon and Navajo traditions and culture.
- "Into the Canyon: Seven Years in Navajo Country" by Lucy Moore. Moore and her husband moved to Chinle, Ariz., in 1968 from Cambridge, Mass. The book discusses the people and places the couple grew to love while living in Chinle, as well as the lessons they learned from the Navajo.
- "Fallen Man" by Tony Hillerman. Hillerman is probably one of the best known authors who focused on writing from a Navajo perspective. His series of detective novels center on Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, who work as police detectives on Navajo Nation. Teller suggests reading "Fallen Man" to learn about the canyon because the novel tells the story of a Navajo guide who was killed in Canyon de Chelly.
- "Canyon de Chelly" by Wilson Hunter Jr. Teller's uncle, Wilson Hunter, wrote a version of the story of Canyon de Chelly that combines the Navajo oral tradition and archaeological and anthropological research.
- "Tomb of the Weaver" by Earl Morris. This book tells archaeologist Earl Morris' account of the excavation of Mummy Cave in the Canyon del Muerto portion of the national monument.
- If people are interested in cinema, Teller suggested watching the movie "Black Cloud." The film tells the story of a Navajo boxer from Chinle as he struggles to come to terms with his heritage and make the U.S. Olympic team.