A Landing a Day

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Ganado, Arizona

Posted by graywacke on December 21, 2014

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a once or twice a week blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2141; A Landing A Day blog post number 569.

Dan:  I can’t win (USers) for losing’ (OSers).  I’m a lousy 2/11, thanks to landing in . . . AZ; 85/50; 2/10; 7; 148.1.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows that I landed out in the middle of nowhere, near Ganado:

 landing 2

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) trip from outer space:



I had to use the GE elevation tool for my watershed analysis.  Near my landing, the “stream” is the Pueblo Colorado Wash (not shown), which at some point becomes the Puerco River (first hit for me), which makes its way to the Little Colorado R (18th hit):

 GE Puerco River

The Little Colorado flows to the Colorado (167th hit).

The greater Ganado area is predominantly Navajo.  Checking into the history, I came across several references to the “Long Walk.”  From Wiki:

The “Long Walk” started in the beginning of spring in 1864. Bands of Navajo led by the Army were relocated from their traditional lands in eastern Arizona Territory and western New Mexico Territory to Fort Sumner (in an area called the Bosque Redondo in the Pecos River valley.

At least 200 died during the 18-day, 300-mile trek. Between 8,000 and 9,000 people were settled on an area of 40 square miles, with a peak population of 9,022 by the spring of 1865.

Like most internment camps involving several tribes, the Bosque Redondo had serious problems. About 400 Mescalero Apaches were placed there before the Navajos. The Mescaleros and the Navajo had a long tradition of raiding each other; the two tribes had many disputes during their encampment.

Furthermore, the initial plan was for around 5,000 people, certainly not 10,000 men, women, and children. Water and firewood were major issues from the start; the water was brackish and the round grove of trees was quite small. Nature and humans both caused crop failures every year.

In 1865 Navajo began leaving. By 1867 the remaining Navajo refused to plant a crop.  Comanches raided them frequently, and they raided the Comanche. The non-Indian settlers also suffered from the raiding parties who were trying to feed their starving people on the Bosque Redondo. And there was inept management of what supplies were purchased for the reservation. The army spent as much as $1.5 million a year to feed the Indians. In 1868 the experiment—meant to be the first Indian reservation west of Indian Territory—was abandoned.

On June 18, 1868, the once-scattered bands of people who call themselves Diné, set off together on the return journey, the “Long Walk” home. This is one of the few instances where the U.S. government permitted a tribe to return to their traditional boundaries. The Navajo were granted 3.5 million acres of land inside their four sacred mountains. The Navajo also became a more cohesive tribe after the Long Walk and were able to successfully increase the size of their reservation since then, to over 16 million acres.

One Navajo elder said of the Long Walk:

By slow stages we traveled eastward by present Gallup, Chusbbito and Bear Spring, which is now called Fort Wingate. You ask how they treated us?  If there was room the soldiers put the women and children on the wagons. Some even let them ride behind them on their horses. I have never been able to understand a people who killed you one day and on the next played with your children…

Here’s a old-time shot of a soldier guarding Navajos during the Long Walk:

nm history . org during long walk

In Ganado is the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site.  From Wiki:

Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site (so declared in 1960) is a meeting ground of two cultures, the Navajo and settlers who came to the area to settle in what is now northeastern Arizona in the late 19th century. In 1878, John Lorenzo Hubbell began his trading post, ten years after Navajos were allowed to return to their homeland from their U.S.-imposed exile in Bosque Redondo.

When the Navajos returned from The Long Walk in 1868, they found their herds decimated, their fields destroyed. Their way of life had been ripped apart and things could never be as they had been before. The Navajos were troubled by economic depression in the late 19th century as a result of the Long Walk. Thus, trade became increasingly important.

Heavy sandstones from the area were quarried in 1883 to begin construction of the still-existing building along the southern banks of the Pueblo Colorado Wash.  Life at Hubbell Trading Post centered around it.

The idea of trading was not new to the Navajos. Native American tribes in the Southwest had traded amongst themselves for centuries. During the four years internment at Bosque Redondo, Navajos were introduced to many new items (e.g., flour, sugar, coffee, baking powder, canned goods, tobacco, tools, cloth, etc.). When the Anglos came to trade with the Navajos the difference was in the products exchanged, and in the changes brought about by the exchanges. Traders like Hubbell supplied these items.

Trade with men like Hubbell became increasingly important for the Navajos. The trader was in contact with the world outside the newly created reservation; a world which could supply the staples the Navajos needed to supplement their homegrown products. In exchange for the trader’s goods the Navajos traded wool, sheep, and later on rugs, jewelry, baskets, and pottery. It was years before cash was used between trader and Navajos.

Hubbell family members operated this trading post until it was sold to the National Park Service in 1967. The trading post is still active, and operated by the non-profit organization, Western National Parks Association, which maintains the trading traditions the Hubbell family established.

Today, Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site is still situated on the original 160-acre homestead, which includes the trading post, family home, out buildings, land and a visitor center.

Here’s a shot of the trading post from the 1890s.  I think that John Hubbell is the guy sitting down.

 hubbel trading post 1891

I found this GE Panoramio shot (by CKDaFinest) from about 6 miles west of my landing:

 pano CKDaFinest 6 miles w

That’ll do it.




© 2014 A Landing A Day




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