Canyon de Chelly (Chelly is pronounced as “Shay”) is located in Northeastern Arizona, USA. A long, dusty hike down into the Canyon rewards the adventurer with the view of these ancient cliff dwellings, the White House Ruins.
While the cliff dwellings are abandoned and fenced off, the Canyon itself is still home to about 40 Navajo families. Canyon de Chelly is one of the longest continuously inhabited areas in North America. The earliest tribes living here were the Ancient Pueblo, or Anasazi people, and the Navajo (or Dine) who still own this area.
From the White House Ruins, you can hire a Navajo guide to explore this mysterious place by horseback or on the back of a truck. The Navajos know where to find these ancient writings, some of them carved banner-like across enormous cliff walls, others hidden in nooks and crannies of the rocks.
Does anyone still know how to read these pictographs? Were they meant to reach us so many centuries past the time they were created?
Our Navajo host told us that noone knows anymore how to read these writings. I found myself thinking, if I was Navajo and if I knew the messages these walls contained, would I tell any outsiders?
This is a picture of an ancient storage container high up on a rock ledge. It kept food stuff cool and protected.
At the bottom of the ledge, I found these pot shards.
They felt very old, as if they had been there for a long time. When I told our Navajo host about these broken pieces, she said that it is bad luck to pick them up and take them away. No Navajo will touch them as they belong to the realm of the ancestors. I made sure I only took a picture.