The Dark Wind (1982)

The Dark Wind (1982)

tribal jail

Tribal jails are correctional systems maintained by individual tribes and sovereign nations as part of their own Public Safety Departments or Departments of Corrections. As with non-tribal jails, tribal jails are locally-run short-term holding facilities, whereas prisons, at the state and federal levels, are detention centers for those serving longer sentences.

The Navajo system currently maintains several adult and juvenile correctional facilities. The correctional facilities in the Navajo Nation were established under the Navajo government in the 1990’s but there were federally-funded tribal jails built on the reservation in the 1960’s to the 1970’s. New facilities and associated services and infrastructure continue to be built around the reservation, adding to the original tribal jail in Window Rock. Navajo Nation jails can now be found in Tuba City, Crownpoint, and Kayenta, with plans for adding jails in Chinle and Ft. Defiance.

salt brush

Salt brush, more commonly called saltbush, is most likely a reference to a common western plant also known as the four wing saltbush or chamiza. Although it is a native species, it is commonly associated with disturbed sites, such as overgrazed land or high-use recreation areas.


A trioxigenic gas that is light blue in color and has a distinctive sharp smell. Ozone is a form of oxygen, but while an oxygen molecule contains two atoms, an ozone molecule contains three, which makes it less stable. Ozone is part of the earth's stratosphere, creating a protective layer that absorbs ultraviolet radiation. Occasionally it also occurs in the lower atmosphere, especially during thunderstorms. Ozone molecules are formed when electric charges pass through dry air, and although not visible, the gas will give the air a slightly pungent smell.


A sing is another way of referring to something as formal as a Navajo healing ceremony, as well as something as intimate as an individual prayer, because the use of songs or chants is a central element of Navajo spirituality. There are nearly 100 Navajo healing sings of varying range and intricacy, each originating from the Navajo Creation Story. These formal sings are so nuanced and complex that a Navajo singer, also known as a hataałii, learns only one or two sings over many years of apprenticeship. Sings can last anywhere from one to nine days and can include chants, songs, prayers, lectures, dances, sweat baths, the use of prayer sticks, and the creation of sand paintings. Of course, prayers and observances that are sung by individuals on a daily basis might last only a few seconds and involve merely the ability to observe, appreciate, and maybe sprinkle a few grains of corn pollen.

Other Native American traditions also have ceremonies, traditions, and healing practices in which songs are significant components. Hillerman mentions Hopi singing in some of his novels, for example. The Hopi believe strongly that these dances and songs, when combined in the proper way, work to give them a good life full of rain for agriculture and therefore success and prosperity for the people.


A bundle of blankets and bedding materials that have been rolled up and tied together so that they can be transported from place to place. A bedroll can be easily rolled out and used for camping outdoors or sleeping on the floor, and then rolled back up. These days, lightweight sleeping bags have replaced bedrolls, but the principle of a transportable bed is the same.

Little Colorado River, Arizona

A tributary of the Colorado River, the Little Colorado is the main drainage pathway of the Painted Desert area in northeastern Arizona. The river flows northwest from Mount Baldy to the Grand Canyon, and while it stretches over about 300 miles, it is a dry wash for the majority of the year, except in times of heavy snow melts or flash flooding caused by extreme rain storms. Water does flow year-round through the lower parts of the Little Colorado River, which form a dramatic deep gorge that connects with the Grand Canyon.

Polacca Wash, Arizona

One of the major drainage pathways of the Black Mesa plateau, located on the Hopi Reservation in Northern Arizona. Black Mesa rises to about 7,000 feet above sea level, and tilts gradually downward to the southwest, where its four main washes form: Moenkopi, Dinnebito, Oraibi, and Polacca, each named after the Hopi communities that sit on top of the rims of the three “fingers” of Black Mesa that mark the Hopi homeland. Polacca Wash runs down the south side of First Mesa, the easternmost mesa.

Mogollon Rim, Arizona

A vast rugged escarpment that stretches over about 200 miles along the southern edge of the Colorado Plateau in east-central Arizona. The Mogollon Rim was named after Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollon, who was the Spanish governor of what is now New Mexico during the years 1712-1715. This southernmost part of the Colorado Plateau forms a definitive separating line between the low-elevation deserts flats surrounding it and the high country of mountains and pine trees above it. The highest points on the rim reach up to 2,000 feet, offering impressive views of the landscapes below.

Gray Streak Mountain, Arizona

Part of the Tunicha Mountains, Gray Streak Mountain is located on the Navajo Nation Reservation in northeastern Arizona, near the small community of Lukachukai. According to Navajo traditional lore the Holy People resided in this mountain before humans were created. The Holy People are spiritual beings who can take the form of landscape features, animals, plants, or celestial bodies and who instruct the community in order to maintain well-being, peace, and harmony. Gray Streak Mountain continues to hold spiritual significance for the Navajo today, and is mentioned in various ceremonies and rituals.


The Arctic is the region surrounding the North Pole, which reaches into the northernmost parts of Canada, Alaska, Siberia, and Greenland. The Arctic is characterized by permanently frozen lands, very little vegetation, and extreme changes between summer and winter climate conditions. Although the Arctic is, for the most part, uninhabitable, international economic interests in the region have been increasing in recent decades. These interests are focused mostly on resource extraction, especially petroleum. While rich petroleum deposits in the Arctic offer an attractive solution to the world's unsustainable reliance on oil, the immense cost of drilling in extreme conditions, as well as the high risks of environmental degradation involved, have led to controversies concerning investment in and development of the area.


Subscribe to RSS - The Dark Wind (1982)