Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sadness in a Beautiful Setting

When we first visited Santa Fe, we took a drive north of the city on the way to Ghost Ranch. Along this route, we photographed what we thought at the time were the bluest sky and reddest rocks we had ever seen.

Since then, we have spent time around Sedona, AZ, and found equally striking skies and rocks.

And now with our tour of Canyon de Chelly near Chinle, AZ, we will add a third area with the bluest and reddest....

And to these two colors in the Canyon, we have added brilliant greens of the trees that are found in the canyon floor.

Around each bend as we toured the Canyon, we found groupings of these three colors in different combinations with different highlights.

Many times, we each thought that we had taken enough pictures to represent the Canyon, but then another scene would present another beautiful arrangement of colors.

From the Park Service's brochure: "To the Diné (Din-eh), the Navajo people, the canyon means more than a summer home or a place to raise sheep and corn.

"The Diné culture emerged from this land. Our language refers to the landscape, and the people identify themselves by this.

"Diné are connected with the landscape of (the Canyon), deriving meaning, culture, and spirituality from the natural features that surround them.

"The land nourishes our people, and it is intrinsic to the activities of daily life.

"Our elders are especially close to the land. From their sterwardship comes a set of ethics based on experience and tradition....

"Maintaining balance with Mother Earth is key to harmonious life. Each person's well-being contributes to the health of the family and community.

"This perspective has helped the Navajo people recover from the trauma of the Long Walk.

"In 1846, a U.S. military force under Stephtn Watts Kearny subdued Mexican forces, claiming what is now Arizona and New Mexico as U.S. territory.

"Kearny offered the Navajo peace in order to end decades of mutual raiding between tribes.

After 17 years of continued conflict, "Col. Kit Carson began a brutal campaign against the Navajo. In the winter of 1864, Carson's troops entered the eastern end of the Canyon and pushed the Navajo toward the canyon mouth.

"Resistance proved futile; most Navajo were captured or killed. Carson's forces returned in the spring to complete their devastating campaign....

"A bitter, humiliating trial awaited those Navajo who survived the ordeal. Forced to march over 300 miles, called the Long Walk, to Fort Sumner in New Mexico territory, scores perished....

"Their internment at Fort Sumner were no kinder. Poor food and shelter and disease brutalized the survivors. In 1868, the Navajo were finally allowed to return home to rebuild their lives."

A sad story carried out in a beautiful setting.

No comments: