Scenic USA - Navajo Nation, Arizona

Scenic USA offers a collection of select photographs from a wide variety of attractions, points of interest, historic sites, state and
national parks found throughout the United States. Each photo feature is coupled with a brief explanation.
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Navajo Ni'hoochiih

Navajo ni'hoochiih (pink sunrise)

Photo by Rob Jones
Wilderness Vagabond - Trip Reports

   Most Americans visualize the continental United States as one nation from coast to coast. It maybe a small surprise that the state sized Navajo Indian Reservation is in fact a sovereign Native American nation. Established by the Diné, the Navajo Nation covers 27,000 square miles, and is home for 175,000 Navajo. The borders stretch across the Colorado Plateau and cover portions of Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. Its better known scenic wonders include Canyon de Chelly, Rainbow Bridge National Monument and Monument Valley, all within the borders of the Navajoland.
   Mythology explains the Diné (Navajo) arrival in the present, their Fourth World or Disoos, and how their homeland is placed within the Four Sacred Peaks with instructions to live in harmony with Mother Earth. These ideas are woven into the Navajo way of life, never separated as a religion. The number four is repeated in this mythology, describing four unique worlds, four sacred peaks, four directions, sacred stones, and plants. Music, dance, sand painting and weaving are more than artwork to the Diné. These arts are interlaced with Navajo ceremonies, traditions, creation themes and a big part of their daily lives.
   Pictured here is a Navajo ni'hoochiih (pink sunrise) with Elephant Butte rising up from the skyline. East, the direction of dawn, is the Navajo "thinking direction". The south is their "planning direction", and west, is the Navajo "living direction" in regards to their everyday lives. When beginning a new day at the Navajo Indian Reservation, the living cycle is repeated and emphasis is placed on the north, the "evaluation direction", and thoughts of living a better life today, starting at dawn.


 

 

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