Friday, October 19, 2012

Navajo Mountain

by John Aldrich

Navajo Mountain is not only a dominant geologic presence in the northern area of the Navajo Reservation  but also a sacred site to the Navajo people. Known as Naatsis'aan to the Dine', this landmark is readily identifiable due to its prominence on the skyline and its distinctive dome shape.

This is how it appeared at sunset on a recent night of camping on Cedar Mesa roughly 50 miles to the east. From appropriate vantage points across northern Arizona and southern Utah this same shape can be readily identified as it provides a sense of orientation to the landscape.

Although it's actually in Utah, one must drive many miles through Azizona before reentering Utah to get there. Because it is so remote , it was a refuge for a number of Navajo fleeing Kit Carson's troops during the Long Walk era in the 1860's.

Traveling around this part of the country, one can more easily feel at home when the unmistakeable shape of Naatsis'aan appears on the horizon.

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