The Navajo Nation is the largest reservation in the United States. It has a total of 27.000 square miles making it larger than West Virginia. It extends into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico and is home to more than a dozen national monuments, tribal parks and historical sites, and is peppered with 12 recreational lakes and ponds. There are four sacred mountains, where sunrise might bring a Navajo sprinkling corn pollen in prayer to Mount Blanco in the East, to Mount Taylor in the South, the San Francisco Peaks in the West and to Mount Hesperus in the North.
Canyon de Chelly [ pronounced "da shay" ]National Monument located on the Navajo Reservation is a unique combination of sheer red rock cliffs and ancient ruins. Nearly 1650 years ago ancient puebloans made the canyon their home, building pit houses and farming the land. As the population increased, caves in the cliff walls were turned into dwellings, and their culture thrived until around 1300 AD, when the puebloans left the canyon.
Eventually the Hopi, descendants of the puebloans, built homes along the top of the canyon and began farming again. The canyon is rich in ruins and artifacts. Here you can step back in time and see how the ancient ones, the Anasazi lived thousands of years ago.
The Navajo Nation has an array of natural wonders, including the magnificent Grand Falls, where a twist in the Little Colorado River's path has carved a massive seasonal waterfall, and Coal Mine Canyon, where the spectacular colors of the desert contrast with the remote beauty of this serene and rugged land. It's easy to se why the Navajo people relate to the land as their mother, and thus treat it with the utmost respect.
Within the four sacred mountains, tradition continues. Navajo shepherds are still seen from the highway, and the Navajo women still card, spin and weave sheeps wool into rugs of intricate design. Potters create fine sand colored pottery glazed with cedar pitch. Basket makers hand down the craft of webbing baskets. Tough cowhide moccasins are still made by hand and Navajo silversmiths continue to hone their craft.