On our drive today we passed through the Hopi Reservation territory. My dad’s cousin came to this area in 1933 when she was only 22 years old, a recent graduate of Sam Houston Teaching College, to teach in the Indian School in Moenkopi. She lived in nearby Tuba City. I have always admired her for being a small-town girl from Huntsville, Texas who was brave enough to embrace such an adventure. We were curious to see what the area looked like today and were somewhat shocked to see how humble the people live even today. You could call their dwellings shacks. The nicest structures in all of the Indian communities are the schools and health clinics. They all have housing compounds next to them, so it looks like teachers and health care workers are still “imported”.
We stopped at the Hubble Trading Post which was established as a National Historic Site in 1965. The widely respected John Lorenzo Hubble established this trading post in 1878 to supply Navajos with dry goods and groceries. It still services the community.
Upon arriving in Chinle we stopped at the Visitor’s Center for Canyon de Chelly, a National Monument, which is run by the National Parks Service. We utilized their free campground for one night. The catch is there is no electricity, but it’s the only game in town. It turned out to be fine.
Although not anything like the size of the Grand Canyon, Canyon de Chelly has a South Rim Drive and a North Rim Drive. We took the South Rim Drive and stopped at the lookout points. The canyon is on Navajo owned land and the bottom of the Canyon is lined with farms, dirt roads and a few houses. Access to this area is only given by the Navajos. They offer tours in pickup trucks into the bottom of the Canyon. The only other way an outsider can go into the canyon is by hiking down the trail at the White House Overlook. The trail takes you to the bottom of the canyon and to the pueblo ruins. The spectacular Spider Rocks stand 800 feet tall – an amazing sight.