Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Road From Kayenta

Window Rock and Gallup: As you must now even more surely recall (seeThe Road To Kayenta and In Kayenta and Monument Valley), Mr & Mrs Abq Jew & Alex just went on a magnificent Road Trip to Monument Valley.

When last heard from, they were just about to leave the Hampton Inn Kayenta. 

But first, a fascinating breakfast shared with about a thousand cordial folks who were travelling America By Rail. And who had invited the youngest surviving Navajo Code Talker (who volunteered right after Pearl Harbor at the age of 15) to speak to them.

If you've never heard of the Navajo Code Talkers (and even if you have) - it's one of the great stories of World War II in the Pacific.

Philip Johnston, a civil engineer for the city of Los Angeles, proposed the use of Navajo to the United States Marine Corps at the beginning of World War II. Johnston, a World War I veteran, was raised on the Navajo reservation as the son of a missionary to the Navajo. He was one of the few non-Navajo who spoke the language fluently.  
Because Navajo has a complex grammar, it is not nearly mutually intelligible enough with even its closest relatives within the Na-Dene family to provide meaningful information. It was still an unwritten language, and Johnston thought Navajo could satisfy the military requirement for an undecipherable code.  
Navajo was spoken only on the Navajo lands of the American Southwest. Its syntax and tonal qualities, not to mention dialects, made it unintelligible to anyone without extensive exposure and training. One estimate indicates that at the outbreak of World War II, fewer than 30 non-Navajo could understand the language.
Once the idea was approved -
A codebook was developed to teach the many relevant words and concepts to new initiates. The text was for classroom purposes only, and was never to be taken into the field.  
The code talkers memorized all these variations and practiced their rapid use under stressful conditions during training. Uninitiated Navajo speakers would have no idea what the code talkers' messages meant; they would hear only truncated and disjointed strings of individual, unrelated nouns and verbs.  
The Navajo code talkers were commended for their skill, speed, and accuracy demonstrated throughout the war. At the Battle of Iwo Jima, Major Howard Connor, 5th Marine Division signal officer, had six Navajo code talkers working around the clock during the first two days of the battle.  
These six sent and received over 800 messages, all without error. Connor later stated, "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima."


Our first goal was to visit the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site and see what was available for purchase. (This was an All-American vacation.)

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is a historic site on Highway 191, north of Chambers, with an exhibit center in Ganado, Arizona. It is considered a meeting ground of two cultures between the Navajo and the settlers who came to the area to trade.

The best part about driving to Hubbell's was that we didn't have to keep driving and driving and driving east on US Highway 160.

Instead, we turned off Highway 160 after a few miles and headed south on US Highway 191. Which opened up whole new vistas, miles and miles of gorgeous countryside. We passed through Rough Rock (population 414)

and Chinle (population 4,518), and kept going until we reached

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, one of the most beautiful and historically important places along our route.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument (/dəˈʃeɪ/ də-SHAY) was established on April 1, 1931 as a unit of the National Park Service.  
It is located in northeastern Arizona within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation. Reflecting one of the longest continuously inhabited landscapes of North America, it preserves ruins of the early indigenous tribes that lived in the area, including the Ancient Pueblo Peoples (also called Anasazi) and Navajo.  
The monument covers 83,840 acres (131.0 sq mi; 339.3 km2) and encompasses the floors and rims of the three major canyons: de Chelly, del Muerto, and Monument. These canyons were cut by streams with headwaters in the Chuska mountains just to the east of the monument. None of the land is federally owned.  
In 2009 Canyon de Chelly National Monument was recognized as one of the most-visited national monuments in the United States.

But Mr & Mrs Abq Jew & Alex kept driving.
While mumbling something about promises to keep and miles to go ....
הדרן עלך קניון דעישׁעי

All the way to Ganado (population 1,210), the turnoff for Arizona State Route 264, and, after a bit of searching, researching, guessing, and backtracking (Route 264 is under construction), the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site.
Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is a historic site on Highway 191, north of Chambers, with an exhibit center in Ganado, Arizona. It is considered a meeting ground of two cultures between the Navajo and the settlers who came to the area to trade. 
In 1878, John Lorenzo Hubbell purchased this trading post, ten years after Navajos were allowed to return to the Ganado region from their U.S.-imposed exile in Bosque Redondo, Fort Sumner, New Mexico. 
This ended what is known in Navajo history as the "Long Walk of the Navajo." It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.

A small bit of shopping, and then on to Window Rock!
Window Rock (Navajo: Tségháhoodzání) is a small city that serves as the seat of government and capital of the Navajo Nation, the largest territory of a sovereign Native American nation in North America. 
Window Rock's population was 2,712 at the 2010 census, but is estimated to reach around 20,000 during weekdays when tribal offices are open. Window Rock's main attraction is the window formation of sandstone the community is named after. 
The Navajo Nation Museum, the Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park, and the Navajo Nation Code Talkers World War II memorial are located in Window Rock.

But Mr & Mrs Abq Jew & Alex didn't actually see the Window Rock formation until later. First, Mr & Mrs Abq Jew visited the Navajo Nation Museum.
The Navajo Nation Museum has extensive holdings of art, ethnographic, archaeological, and archival materials. [The Museum's] archives collection includes over 40,000 photographs as well as a wide variety of documents, recordings, motion picture film, and videos. The archives are heavily used by authors, researchers, and publishers as a source for historical photographs. 
Current exhibits include an interpretive video and photographs, artwork, jewelry, and textiles relating to the history and culture of the Navajo people. One describes the arduous 1864 ordeal known as the Long Walk of the Navajo, in which the Navajo were removed from tribal lands and marched some 300 miles to a prison camp in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. 
Which is not to mention -
The museum and its director Manuelito Wheeler (Navajo) have a great interest in reviving and preserving the Navajo language, and in making it accessible to a greater number of Navajos. They worked with LucasFilm to create a Navajo-dubbed version of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope; the project was completed in 2013. 
In 2015 they spent a full year collaborating with Pixar on a Navajo-language version of Finding Nemo. Great care was taken in selecting Navajo voice actors and in producing linguistically accurate dubbing. The film, Nemo Hádéést'íí, premiered in Albuquerque in 2016 and played in select cities throughout the southwest. It was very well received by Navajo audiences.

But Alex decided she'd rather take a solo hike than visit a museum with Mr & Mrs Abq Jew. Thus initiating a new chapter in what the two of us like to call

"Adventures with Alex"

Alex saw a lot of beautiful sights along her "half-mile hike" on the fitness trail.

As Mr & Mrs Abq Jew were about to say goodbye to the
Navajo Nation Museum, we got a call from Alex

She wasn't sure where she had ended up - she had hiked way more than half a mile - but could Mr & Mrs Abq Jew drive over and pick her up?

She had just climbed over a fence (with help from Security) and was in a parking lot. Somewhere.

Whereupon ensued a series of phone conversations and text messages among the three of us AND three of the very nice and helpful folks behind the Museum's Information Desk, attempting to determine the precise whereabouts of said Alex.

Mr & Mrs Abq Jew hadn't had so much "fun" since
Alex disappeared at The Mall in Short Hills
Yes, Security quickly found her. That was more than fifteen years ago!

A quick drive-by of the Window Rock formation; a few more miles down Arizona, then New Mexico State Road 264; a right turn onto US Route 491; and on to the Hilton Garden Inn Gallup for an overnight stay.

And the next morning, we did Downtown Gallup, on US Route 66, next to the railroad tracks where zillion-car freight trains mosey on by all day.
Gallup (Navajo: Naʼnízhoozhí) is a city in McKinley County, New Mexico, United States, with a population of 21,678 as of the 2010 census. A substantial percentage of its population is Native American, with residents from the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni tribes. 
Gallup is the county seat of McKinley County and the most populous city between Flagstaff and Albuquerque, along the historic U.S. Route 66. 
The city was founded in 1881 as a railhead for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, and named after David Gallup, a paymaster for the railroad. It is on the Trails of the Ancients Byway, one of the designated New Mexico Scenic Byways
Because of the nearby rugged terrain, it was a popular location in the 1940s and 1950s for Hollywood Westerns.

Mr & Mrs Abq Jew & Alex (all three, together) really enjoyed walking around Downtown Gallup. We met Amy, who owns Jewels & Java, right by the railroad tracks.

And we stopped by Native American Traders, which features work by the world-renowned Calvin Begay - and actually got to meet the artist himself!
Calvin Begay is an award winning artist, jeweler, designer and master craftsman. He was born in Gallup, New Mexico in 1965 and raised in Tohatchi, northwestern New Mexico. 
Calvin designed his first piece of jewelry at age 10, learning from his mother and uncle. In more than 20 years as a jewelry designer and craftsman, he has become a master in every aspect of the design and manufacturing process. 
He has won numerous awards at the Gallup Inter Tribal Ceremonial, including Best of Show in 1989. His jewelry has been featured in Arizona Highways and Southwest Art Magazines. 
Calvin has a unique ability to translate traditional Navajo inlay techniques into jewelry that reflects his Native American heritage, yet have elegant and contemporary flair. Calvin's work is prized by clients and collectors, not only in the Southwest, but throughout the United States and the world. 
In the artistry of Calvin Begay, the stunning beauty of the untamed West is reflected in the combination of color and design that create unforgettable pieces of wearable art.

Yes, Abq Jew really liked that bolo .... and Mr & Mrs Abq Jew & Alex really liked Gallup. But after lunch at the Silver Stallion, we headed east on Interstate 40

past El Malpais National Monument

and Acoma Pueblo, and then


More Road Trip blog posts! Click

Which brings us to Four Strong Winds. None of which were fiercely blowing during the last two days of our Road Trip.
"Four Strong Winds" is a song written by Ian Tyson in the early 1960s and recorded by Canadian folk duo Ian and Sylvia. A significant part of the early 1960s folk revival, the song is a melancholy reflection on a failing romantic relationship. 
The song has a clear Canadian context and subtext, including an explicit mention of the province Alberta as well as references to long, cold winters. In 2005, CBC Radio One listeners chose this song as the greatest Canadian song of all time on the series 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version.
As Abq Jew has noted (see The Road To Kayenta), Jane Ellen (see Arlo and Alice Meet Jane, et al) recently presented a class for OASIS Albuquerque on The Chad Mitchell Trio (see A Song for the Right).

Wherein Abq Jew learned that Johnny Cash (who himself covered Four Strong Winds) always said that the Chad Mitchell Trio's version was the best. So here it is!

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