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 Canyon De Chelly, AZ
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  White House Ruins, Canyon De Chelly, AZ
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 Canyon Floor, Canyon De Chelly, AZ
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  Spider Rock, Canyon De Chelly, AZ

CANYON De CHELLY, ARIZONA

 

Arizona has the largest Native American population of any state.  Navajo and Hopi reservations corner the northeastern part of AZ in a vast land marked by towering red rock formations, spectacular canyons and green, forested mountains. 

 

In many of Arizona's sacred sites there are combined influences so strong the "spirit of place" actually manifests what the natives call a "Genis Loci" (local spirit) that is created by the spirit of place and shamanistic ceremonial imprint. 

 

The indigenous shaman considerded the Genis Loci a friend and an ally and had spiritual connections that would benefit both of them.  Some of the ceremonies would invoke the Genis Loci.  Many campers & hikers who spend the night in this spiritual canyon have mystical dreams with ancient travelers coming into their dreams.

 

In northeastwern AZ are a series of deep canyons with Canyon De Chelly being intrinsic to the identities of the Anasazi, Hopi and Navajo Nation. 

 

The Navajo are the most recent descendants of Canyon De Chelly who occupied this area after the Anasazi.  The Anasazi first started building here around 300 A.D. and after 1300 A.D. the Navajo emerged into this sacred canyon.   

 

Canyon de Chelly is located in the center of the Navajo reservation near Chinle in northern Arizona. This sacred canyon is where the soul of the Dineh lives, the name Navajo call themselves.  They are the largest Indian tribe in North America.    

 

The Navajo homeland covers 25,000 square miles, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.  The Diné people have their creation stories as passed down from their ancestors including 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. 

 

Canyon De Chelly has an almost tropical path of trees and flowers through this high desert terrain.  The canyon isn't the deepest, longest or most isolated in the region but to the alert visitor it is surely the most sublime.  Sheer red sandstone canyons and rock formations shelter hundreds of Indian sites inluding prehistoric pueblo dwellings and rock art murals spanning several thousands of years. 

 

Many can feel the ancestral imprints in this stunning red rock canyon and often can feel the spiritual energy when walking in the footseps of the ancients.  All the indigenous natives had a mytical bond with Canyon De Chelly, considering it the physical, historical and spirititual center of their lineage. 

 

The Anasazi mysteriously dissapeared from Canyon De Chelly leaving behind abandoned pueblos and artifacts.  Some researchers believed the Star Visitors were involved in their sudden disapearance. 

 

The Hopi recognized several sites in this canyon that were power points which are depicted in their kachina paintings in a cave. 

 

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. 

 

When experiencing this Diné saced site, the past and present are interwoven in the canyon.   Experiencers pass hogans, sweat lodges and sheep as well as explore the vast richness of the many ancient ruins nestled in the canyon walls.

 

Today, Navajos still return to this sacred site on pilgrimage to make prayer offerings, perform age-old ceremonial rituals as their ancestors have done for many generations.