The Diné (Navajo People)

Canyon de Chelly is located in the center of the Diné (Navajo) reservation. They are the largest Indian tribe in North America. Their homeland covers 25,000 square miles, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

Canyon de Chelly is the southern most of two major forks in the canyon network. Elevation at the rim of the canyon from about 5500 feet above sea level to 7000 feet. The depth of the canyon varies from less than 50 ft to more than 1000 ft near Spider Rock. The often sheer canyon walls are made of dramatic stratified red sandstone and are dotted with innumerable cliff dwellings.

The canyon is the summer home for residents and their livestock. They move their sheep down to the canyon floor during the warmer months to graze on the canyon floor. Come winter, the families and the flocks are moved above.

The Diné are abundant with their rich culture and language. Their native language is still spoken and recently has been written.

They are now known for their skills in rug weaving and silversmithing.

The Diné people have their creation stories, the famous Spider Rock or Spider Woman stories. Some of these stories can only be told during the winter season when bears...,spiders...,lightning..., ants..., and snakes are asleep.

Check out the Book List for more reading possibilities to learn more before your trip.