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Navajo Places

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Copyright: 2000
Trim: 7 x 10
Pages: 360 pp.
Illustrations: 5 maps, 5 tables



Navajo Places

History, Legend, Landscape

Laurance D. Linford

American Indian

Navajoland is the heart and soul of the American Southwest. While the Navajo Reservation incorporates portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, this is only about half the traditional homeland of 220,000 Diné, the People. In one way or another, nearly all of it, including the original homeland, is sacred to them. Before Spaniards and Americans affixed their own names to the land, every topographic feature had at least one Navajo name. Many of these made their way onto maps—in various forms—or are still in use among Navajo speakers.

Navajo Places is the most ambitious attempt yet to preserve this rich legacy. Through years of research, interviews, and consultation with Navajo authorities, Laurance Linford has compiled a place-name guide that goes beyond reservation boundaries to include the entirety of the traditional Navajo homeland. The volume contains over 1,200 entries, plus a pronunciation guide and sections on Navajo history and the relation of ritual and sacred legend to landscape.

An invaluable resource for anyone interested in the Four Corners region.

Laurance Linford was trained as an archaeologist. Formerly executive director of the Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial Association in Gallup, NM, he is now an administrator for the Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools.

Table of Contents:

List of Maps
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction
The People
Before the Navajos: 10,000 B.C.–A.D. 1600
The Navajos: Pre-1600 to Present
The Archaeological /Historical Perspective
The Traditional Navajo Perspective
Intrusion of the Spaniards:
A.D. 1541–1821
• Explorations
• Colonization
• The Wars
The Mexicans: 1821–1846
The Americans: 1846–Present
• The Early Years
• The Navajos Capitulate
• The Long Walk
• The Reservation Years: 1868–Present
Navajo Social Organization
• Political Organization
• Chapters

2. The Role of Mythology in Navajo Place Name Origins
The Practice
The Ceremonies
Holyway Ceremonies:
• Shooting Chant
• Mountain Chant
• God Impersonators
• Wind Chant
• Hand-Trembling Chant
• Eagle Trapping
• Uncertain Affiliation
Evilway Ceremonies
Lifeway Ceremonies

3. The Trading Posts
4. Arizona Locations
5. Colorado Locations
6. New Mexico Locations
7. Utah Locations


Praise and Reviews:

"This volume is full of good reading, a treasury of fascinating insights into the history and legends of the Big Reservation, the Navajo People, and their complex faith. I wish I had this volume fifty years ago. It's a wonderful piece of work."
—Tony Hillerman

"Anyone interested in Navajo Country will find this book indispensable.... Linford stresses the Navajo story from their point of view, providing information that is useful while avoiding anything of a sensitive religious nature. The result is an informative and well-researched reference book that will stand for a long time."
—Journal of the West

"Linford has taken on a difficult task and succeeded. The book is well-written and fills the void of a handy reference for Navajo place names. It is recommended for anyone interested in an introduction to Navajo names and views of the land."
—Utah Historical Quarterly

"An outstanding account of places located on or near the Navajo reservation."
—Navajo Culture Today

"A treasure trove of information in the land, peoples and history of the Four Corners area.... Many entries are extensive and will provide anyone interested in the land and people of this region with hours of illuminating and engaging reading."
—Native Peoples

"No comparable work provides this much geography from a Navajo perspective. Highly recommended for institutions supporting Native American studies or the history of the Southwest."

"Navajo Places will be excellent reading for the traveler to the Southwest who is interested in historical places. It will also serve as a valuable reference work for historians, anthropologists, or other scholars working in the Southwest."
—New Mexico Historical Review

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