The Blessing Way (1970)

The Blessing Way (1970)

Girl Dance

A portion of the Enemyway ceremonial held after sundown at the end of the first day of the ceremony. It is dance where girls can choose with whom they wish to dance, and their partners must pay for these dances. Girls are not allowed to dance with members of their clan or closely related people. A colloquial name for this dance is the Squaw Dance.

The Enemyway is sung in order to protect Navajos from harmful ghosts of slain warriors, or in more contemporary parlance, to protect Navajos from the deleterious effects of non-Native influences. This ceremonial can be used for returning military personnel to rid them of the harmful effects of evil spirits, or chindi, of the slain, as well as the associated harmful effects of modernity both on and off the reservation.

Gallup Police Department

The chief law enforcement agency, also known as GPD, responsible for policing the city of Gallup, New Mexico. The GPD's mission statement is as follows: "The mission of the Gallup Police Department is to deliver law enforcement and crime prevention services for the citizens and visitors of our city. We will strive to enhance the safety of our neighborhoods by apprehending those who commit criminal acts, by developing partnerships to prevent, reduce or eliminate community concerns, and assist in maintaining a real sense of security that improves the overall quality of life for our community."

Cottonwood Flats, Arizona

A colloquial reference to a grazing allotment near Chinle, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. Because of Chinle's proximity to Canyon de Chelly, a prominent system of canyons with enough water to support cottonwood stands, which is an anomaly in the red rock country of the Four Corners, many place names around Chinle are associated with cottonwoods.

electrical transmission lines

Electrical transmission lines transport electrical energy from power plants to substations. From the substations, electricity is then distributed to local users via power lines. Because the initial journey from the generators to the substations is considered bulk power transmission, electrical transmission lines must be able to carry high loads of energy. This is accomplished by wrapping cable strands of aluminum alloy, and sometimes copper, with strands of steel for reinforcement, and then breaking up and increasing voltage with circuit breakers and transformers in order to reduce resistance as electricity travels across the lines.

Shiprock Sub-agency, Shiprock, New Mexico

The Navajo nation is split into seven districts, each with a field station. These stations include Window Rock, Arizona (1); Shiprock, New Mexico (2); Crownpoint, New Mexico (3); Tuba City, Arizona (4); Chinle, Arizona (5); Kayenta, Arizona (6); and Dilkon, Arizona (7). Each district is commanded by a Police Captain/Police Lieutenant, who ensures that the district is run properly and is in charge of the criminal investigations, patrol, and support. The Shiprock sub-agency is located in San Juan County, New Mexico. This sub-agency is one of the three locations in the Navajo Reservation with a correctional facility.

In Tony Hillerman’s novels Navajo detective novels, this sub-agency headed by Captain Largo and is Jim Chee’s headquarters.

horse trailer

A trailer specifically designed for hauling two or more horses behind a vehicle. It can also be adapted to carry feed, equipment, and to even heat or cool the animals inside.


A piece of flat, U-shaped iron that is attached to a horse's hoof. Horseshoes are nailed to the hard surface of the bottom of the hoofs, reducing the risk of injury or wearing down, and allowing for long horse rides on a variety of terrains.

Because horseshoes were so ubiquitous at certain points in history, their shape provided the nomenclature for elements in the natural environment. For example, sharp turns in trails, roads, and rivers have been called oxbows, doglegs, and horseshoe bends.


Slug is a vernacular expression often used to describe bullets. Slug is also a specific reference to a bullet without its cartridge. The cartridge of a piece of ammunition contains the casing, which holds the gun powder and the slug, whereas the slug consists of the metal projectile only.

Peach Tree clan

In his Tony Hillerman 1980 Navajo detective novel PEOPLE OF DARKNESS, he mentions the Hopi Peach Tree clan, a kinship group associated with the area around Moenkopi, Arizona. Although peach trees have been cultivated by the Hopi for generations, a clan associated seems to have been invented by Hillerman to further the narrative of his novel.

A clan composes an interrelated social group whose connections derive from parentage and kinship affiliation, and is common to Indigenous social structures. Clan configurations develop and are expressed uniquely in different Native American groups, and each tribe is comprised of numerous clans. Clan names and identities often originate in the natural environment of the tribal nation's homeland, and reference place names, fauna and flora, as well as significant natural phenomenon. Clans structures entail significant mentoring and obligations to the children of one's sisters or brothers.

Salt Water Clan

The Salt Water Clan, Tódík’ǫ́zhí in Navajo, is a Navajo clan mentioned in several of Tony Hillerman's Navajo detective novels, with land imagined to be somewhere in the vicinity of Toadlena.

The Navajo, or Diné, are comprised of more than forty family lineages, or clans, that claim common ancestry.


Subscribe to RSS - The Blessing Way (1970)