The Blessing Way (1970)

The Blessing Way (1970)

semi-automatic pistol

A pistol that uses the force of the recoil to reload and re-position the hammer gun after each shot. Only one bullet is released per shot, meaning that the trigger must be pulled repeatedly to fire additional shots.


A sling for a firearm, usually made of leather or canvas, worn either around the shoulders with the gun resting just under the armpit area, or around the waist.


An animal or human who consumes the flesh of a member of the same species. In animals, cannibalism occurs regularly in a number of species for population control or to maximize genetic offspring. The term "cannibal" is the anglicized version of a word used by the Spanish for a West Indies tribe, the Carib. European colonizers reported that this tribe practiced cannibalism by eating their war enemies. However, the Carib may not have engaged in cannibalism, and Europeans likely fabricated the accusation to defend their own actions. Evidence does exist, however, that human cannibalism has been practiced at different times in history at various locations for various purposes.


An arid environment characterized by limited rainfall, sparse vegetation, and animals that are specially adapted for extreme temperature changes. In the U.S. Southwest there are three deserts: the Chihuahuan desert in Texas and New Mexico, the Sonoran desert in Arizona and California, and the Mojave in California and Nevada. These deserts can be very hot during the day and become near freezing at night. This means that the plants and animals that live within these ecosystems must be specially adapted to find water and as well as thrive the diurnal temperature changes. Plants such as cacti and desert scrub brush have adapted by developing strategies for preserving water, such as growing massive networks of roots or having tiny leaves that lose less water through transpiration than larger leaves. Animals that inhabit these desert regions include birds, rabbits, coyotes, rats, mice, lizards, and snakes. These animals are mainly active at dawn, dusk, or during the night. Larger animals are less common, as they have problems adapting in an environment with such little water. Through time the Southwest is progressively becoming more arid, which has contributed to a change in the distributions of flora and fauna. Additionally, overgrazing of grasslands and the lowering of the water table has caused more erosion and the incisement of arroyos and washes.

High desert refers to deserts formed and existing at higher elevations, usually resulting in different vegetation and plant life as well as more precipitation in the more mountainous areas.

saddle ridge

A geographic term that refers to the outline of a mountain in which a gentle concave depression lies between two peaks. As the name suggests, the shape would then resemble a saddle used for horse riding, where the seat slopes down into a low curve between the slightly higher parts of the front and the back.


Sedimentary rock consisting of sand or quartz grains consolidated and compacted together, typically reddish in color, although yellow and brown versions are also common. Rock formations composed of sandstone are relatively porous, allowing for percolation of water and dynamic erosion by both water and wind.

Sandstone often forms dramatically colored and shaped cliffs and other geologic formations, such as the iconic stone monoliths in Monument Valley, Utah. The rock outcropping of El Morro, on the Zuni Reservation, is composed of yellowish-gray white sandstone known as Zuni Sandstone.

cartridge magazine

A part of a gun that holds multiple cartridges or bullets. The magazine may be part of the gun or may be a separate attachment, sometimes called a clip. The magazine can be refilled with ammunition when it is empty.

First Cavalry

A highly decorated military unit that was developed by the War Department of the United States of America in 1921 after the end of World War I. The 1st Cavalry Division served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It is composed of several divisions including artillery battalions, cavalry brigades, and an ambulance company. Originally, there was a mounted unit component to the cavalry, but this was disbanded in 1943. Now there is only a Horse Platoon, established in 1972, which is used for special occasions. In 1950, the 1st Cavalry was deployed to the Pusan Perimeter and was involved in amphibious landings during the war in the Korean Peninsula.


An automobile produced by the German company Volkswagen AG. The company was founded in 1937 by the German government and was originally run by the Nazi organization German Labour Front. The original factory was destroyed during World War II, before it could begin production. Following the end of the war, the factory was rebuilt and Volkswagen began to produce cars once more. However, it was not until the late 1950’s that these cars became popular in the U.S., with the introduction of the Volkswagen Beetle.


A protective outer layer generally worn to protect a person in battle. For the Europeans, armor was often made of metal and thick cloth. However, as Native Americans did not use metal extensively before European contact, their armor was often made of wood, bones, and animal hides. For some Southwest tribes, armor came in the form of shields that were an average of 17 inches in diameter that were painted and decorated on the outside.

The Navajo used armor made from buckskin covered in a quilted cloth, which helped the armor keep its shape. This armor was tight fitting around the neck region and extended to the elbow. The first layer of buckskin was tied in the front and covered in a sticky substance derived from cactus. This layer was then covered in another layer of buckskin. The buckskin has been recorded as being up to eight layers thick and very heavy. Additionally, like other Southwestern tribes, the Navajo also sometimes carried shields.


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