I recently watched a show directed by Robert Redford entitled "Skinwalker" based on the
famous detective series by Tony Hillerman featuring the Navajo detective named Joe Leaphorn. The opening sequence made my scalp prickle with recognition. There it was. The rim of of a pueblo site shot in Navajo Nation. It sure looked like the White House.
Canyon de Chelly National Monument Park is 339 square kilometers and they say there are 2,700 sites her. It is entirely owned by the Navajo Tribal Trust. Approximately 40 families live here eking out a living with farming and tourism. The famous peach trees that flourish with the sediment run-off were introduced with contact with the Spanish in the 1600's.
I walked past some Navajo men who were sitting around the remains of a fire and looked up to see the famous "White House" with its stark pictographs. Built into the cliff in an under-hang of rock and quite protected is an astonishingly haunting and beautiful place that used to house a large village. The Anasazi gave way to the Hopi who then gave away to the Navajo over the last 5,000 years. The White House is the longest occupied site that we know of in North America. Here rooms connected to one another like a honeycomb and where specialized kivas were used to connect with spirit, the Kachinas or "Shining Ones". It was certainly a power place and I could feel it.
I slowly put the history together. Colonel Kit Carson led a campaign in 1846. He placed his men around the top lip of the chasm. Here it was easy to pick off the peoples who lived here. Hogans were burned, thousands of peach trees destroyed, as well as crops and livestock. Much like the helpless buffalo, the brutal slaughter was unrestrained. Years later the people were allowed to return. The autonomy they have today has helped to heal the past but there are still deep wounds. I was to encounter something of that in what happened to me next.