On Friday, November 14th, my friends and I headed to Window Rock, Arizona, which lies in the heart of Navajo nation. We visited the Navajo National Museum which contained information about the different Native American code breakers, as well as paintings, copies of Navajo treaties with the U.S. government, and information and images from the Navajo Long Walk.
On Saturday, we visited the Window Rock itself which is located at the Navajo Nation Tribal Park. Window Rock is a sacred Diné site and the origin of one of the Creation stories in Diné culture. After that, we traveled to Canyon de Chelley, which is another sacred Diné site. It was amazing to see the Anasazi ruins lodged deep in the canyon. The Diné and Laguna peoples believe that the Anasazi were their ancestors.
The following day we made the trek to Monument Valley. This area is riddled with amazing views and rock formations; the sediments in the ground giving the earth a reddish color. Monument Valley is home to many Diné people, and there were several jewelry makers there making a living.
On Monday, we headed to Tuba City and to the Hopi reservation. We got to visit all three Mesas, as well as the Hopi Cultural Center which had a great collection of pictures of Hopi land and people over the years. We also visited Old Oraibi, which is a Hopi village in the Navajo Nation, and the oldest city in the United States.
On a separate trip, we traveled to New Mexico to attend the Sante Fé Winter Indian Market, which is held at the Sante Fé Community Convention Center. The convention is for Native American artists to display their artwork. This was a great opportunity to converse with people from so many different tribes across the United States. I also got to interview Laguna artist Marla Allison and meet Lee Marmon, a famous Laguna photographer. Lee is the father of Laguna writer Leslie Marmon Silko on whom I’m writing my thesis. We visited Lee in his house at Laguna, and he talked about his experiences as a Native American photographer.
Dalia Abdel Maboud Ebeid is an Egyptian Fulbright student who is performing thesis research on American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona.