Jim arranged for us to park for two nights at the Navajo Museum Library & Visitors Center in Window Rock, Arizona, not far from Arizona’s border with New Mexico. Here is located the seat of government for the Navajo Nation on the largest reservation in the United States, at 27,000 square miles.
This “woman’s” hogan was removed to the center and is preserved here. It is a very solid building. The area is surrounded by huge rocks typical of those we have seen all over New Mexico. Somehow, we never get tired of these monolithic giants plopped down from some ancient cataclysmic event, that we might enjoy their beauty.
A great view out our dinette window. I’d love to be a kid again and climb these rocks and if I didn’t have a bum hip I would have. We watched young boys go up in minutes. On the grounds is a zoo populated by animals that have been injured and rescued to stay or be returned to the wild if they can be rehabilitated.
One of the main attractions in town is the window rock for which the town is named. A tribal park, a monument to the Navajo Code Talkers, a Veterans Memorial, and the Navajo Nation Council Chambers, are a stones throw of each other. We decided to walk the mile or so into town.
Window Rock may have significance to the Navajo more than its simple beauty. In the film from the Gallup Cultural Center we saw a Navajo woman singing the Marines Hymn, in Navajo, in front of Window Rock. It is a fitting place for their Code Talkers and Veterans Memorial.
The first building we approached was the office of the President, Ben Shelly. It is similar to our White House. He was not available and we couldn’t meet him.
Next we visited their Council Chambers with the help of Law And Order Chairperson, Edmond Yazzie , (right) and Eldridge Anderson, Legislative District Assistant to Delegate Rosco Smith. This building is where all the real action of government takes place, similar to our House of Representatives.
The stone government buildings fit into the surrounding monolithic rocks. Assistant Anderson gave us a VIP tour.
The view from Speaker of the Council, Johnny Naize’s seat.
The great seal behind his chair.
Council members desks face the Chair and are set up much like our National Houses of Government.
Assistant Anderson gave us a poster of their members serving a four-year term 2011-2015. They have a true democracy where each district delegate is voted in by his constituents in his district without an electoral college between the voters and the final result. Council members represent their districts by population, just as our House of Representatives. Assistant Anderson was so accommodating, he gave us a ride back to the motor home so we didn’t have to carry our paper posters in what was then a fierce wind, and then drove us back to town to finish our tour.
In town there is a daily flea market and a food court with about five small restaurants featuring Navajo foods.
I enjoyed a delicious sweet corn and lamb stew with Indian fry bread. Jim had a Navajo Taco on fry bread.
Genevieve Hardy invited us to join her for lunch and we learned a lot about the Navajo people, their schooling, languages and jobs in the community. She wears a neon vest because she bikes from home at Fort Defiance to work. Besides her government day job, she weaves custom native dresses, skirts,tops, and saddle blankets of wool. Her website is: Jus.firstname.lastname@example.org. A delightful woman. Her daughter works at Canyon De Chelly and we hope to connect with her.
We poked around town, a flea market, a Native Arts and Crafts store, with quality jewelry and prices to match. ($6,000 and up for a necklace.) No pictures.
We walked back to the motor home and visited the Nearby Museum and Library. I was expecting a Navajo language library. It was both. The museum was a history of the Navajo in paintings and photos with a some artifacts and a film.
This picture is about having to get your hair cut to go to the boarding schools.
The old ways.
A woman and her baby survived the long forced walk under Kit Carson where the Navajo were imprisoned at Bosque Redondo.
Window Rock should be a definite on your travel agenda.