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Kayenta and the Monument Valley

image1kayenta

The road (US-163) leading to the Monument Valley in Utah not too far from Arizona state border is dotted with little wood stands selling jewelry and pottery by Narajo Indians. I have little interest in crafts but surprisingly, at a nearby trading post, I found a copy of Kayenta and the Monument Valley by Carolyn O’Bagy Davis and Harvey Leake. It’s devoted to the history of the Navajo tribe and how the town of Kayenta became the center of the tribe gatherings. The serendipitous thing is that the very trading post where I bought is book is exactly the one established by Indian traders John and Louisa Wetherill in 1910.

Monument Valley is not like a national park. There aren’t signs and rangers all around explaining the landscape and wildlife. Service isn’t always snap-snap, and many visitors will have to adjust to the slower, quieter pace of many Navajo. I’m glad I have stumbled upon this book and read up on it before getting there. The area known as the Monument Valley is sacred land for the Navajo and understanding why will enhance one’s appreciation of it.