The Dark Wind (1982)

The Dark Wind (1982)

Arizona Highway Patrol

The police division of the state of Arizona that is responsible for enforcing laws and regulations concerning driving, transportation, and road safety.


A sheepherder protects and manages a group of sheep, especially during open grazing. In the 1500s, sheep were first brought by the Spanish to what later became known as the U.S. Southwest. By the 1700s, sheep herding had been adopted by the Navajo, and sheep become very important to the Navajo way of life. Sheep's wool is used to weave textiles, such as rugs and blankets, and the meat is a staple of the diet.


The essential but non-physical aspect of a living being, that which leaves the body after death. Depending on the context, "soul" can refer to the spirit, personality, consciousness, mind, or entirety of the being ("another poor soul," as Leaphorn refers to Horseman in Tony Hillerman's 1970 Navajo detective novel THE BLESSINGWAY).


A long and wide trench that cuts into soft rock or sediment. Gullies normally occur in areas where the ground surface has been exposed to fire, the effects of climate change, or human activity. Without plants, especially their root systems, rainfall can cause the sediment to erode as water moves swiftly over the surface of the earth and, via friction, removes particulate matter.


The condition of being grainy or of having the consistency of coarse sand. Gritty.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

One of the seven wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon is a vast canyon system located in present day Arizona, west of the Navajo Reservation. Almost three hundred miles in length and one mile deep, the Grand Canyon's steep and variegated walls reveal billions of years of geological history. In addition, because the Canyon is so extensive, cut as it has been through the Colorado Plateau by the Colorado River, the Canyon creates its own weather patterns due to the powerful and super-heated uplifts that surge up out of the canyon bottom. Continuously occupied for thousands of years by several Native American communities for whom it remains a sacred place to this day, the Canyon entered protected federal status as a National Park in 1919. Currently, the Canyon is revered as much for its natural beauty as for its various layers of biological, ecological, archaeological, and cultural significance.

flash flood

A sudden flood that occurs when a large amount of rain falls in a short amount of time, often characterized by fast-moving water and destruction. Flash floods are common in Southwestern arroyos, canyons, and other permanent and ephemeral water systems, especially during the summer monsoons, and can be very dangerous.


Ethnology is one of the subfields of anthropology, which also include archaeological, biological, cultural, linguistic, and social anthropologies. Ethnology involves studying different aspects of culture at comparative and analytical levels. This often involves extensive interpersonal contact such that the researcher becomes immersed within and participatory in the culture under examination. In addtion, extensive and detailed interviews may occur over a series of years, supplemented by the collection of oral histories and the recorded performances of folk and traditional practices such as weaving, music, dance, and ceremony.


The two most common ceremonials in the Navajo religion are the Blessingway (Hózhójí) and the Enemyway (‘Anaaʼjí). While the Blessingway is often sung over individuals to ensure good luck and blessings, 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. Leland Wyman defined the Enemyway as a ritual used to “…exorcise the ghosts of aliens, [which] makes much of war, violence, and ugliness; in fact it belongs in a native category of ceremonials usually translated as Evilway” (1983).

dust devil

A sinuous, vertical column of air that twists from the ground into the atmosphere, a dust devil is a small version of a tornado. Developing during hot, dry conditions, dust devils are a sign of instability in the atmosphere caused when air near the surface of the earth rapidly heats and rises, pulling in its wake dust and and small debris.


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