The Dark Wind (1982)

The Dark Wind (1982)


Corn is a cereal plant, found throughout the Americas, that yields large grains, or kernels, set in rows on a cob. What we call corn today, however, has traditionally been referred to as maize. For many indigenous cultures in the Americas, corn is symbolic of life itself, and everything from its pollen, to its silky tassels, to its husks has symbolic significance. Thus, it becomes possible for a small boy to take scraps of corn husk and create an imaginary insect that turns into a messenger to the gods, which occurs in a Zuni myth retold by Hillerman as "The Boy Who Made Dragonfly." Even the smallest piece of this special plant is powerful enough to not only sustain but also to generate life.

Several of the other ceremonials described in Hillerman's fiction also use corn, its husks and pollen, in order to complete the rituals as per the Navajo Way as the Holy People prescribed.


An alcoholic beverage, distilled from fermented grains and aged in wooden containers. Whiskey is made in many countries such as Ireland, the United States, Scotland, and Canada. Whiskey from Scotland is known as Scotch.


A rhythmic vocal recitation that is usually intended to provoke a meditative trance, spiritual healing, or to create the aural context for a performance such as a dance or other ceremonial. Chants can also be thought of as prayers that are sung and are often comprised of repeated phrases.

Changing Woman

According to Navajo mythology, it is on Earth, full of beauty and balance, that First Man and First Woman have a child, Changing Woman, also known as White Shell woman or Asdzą́ą́ Nádleehé in Navajo. She is associated with sacred items that represent speech and thought, both of which are in a medicine bundle that Changing Woman inherits. Changing Woman is the mother of the Hero Twins, Monster Slayer and Born for Water. She is also the benevolent being who creates the first Navajo of the four original clans and corn and is therefore known for bringing fertility and regeneration into the world.


A small, fully enclosed truck, similar to a pickup truck with a shell, except that the "shell" is part of the vehicle's body./cite>


In military or paramilitary organizations, such as police departments, captains outrank, or are higher in an organizational hierarchy, than lieutenants and other rank-and-file members of the given organization.

The general rankings within a police force, depending on its size, is as follows, in order from hightest to lowest rankings:

  • Chief
  • Deputy/Assistant Chief
  • Commander
  • Inspector
  • Lietenant
  • Sergeant
  • Trooper
  • Police Officer

canyon country

A general reference to much of the Four Corners region of the U.S., whose geological distinctiveness is in great part derived from the riddles of canyons, large and small, that break the terrain of this part of the country into a series of interlinked canyon systems, fragmented watersheds, and iconic geologic formations.

burrowing owl

The burrowing owl is a small owl that generally occupies small holes left in the soil by other animals, hence the name “burrowing." The habitat for this owl extends through the western portion of the U.S., all the way down into South America. Their diet consists of small rodents and insects.


Often seen with the Anglicized spelling of "concho," a concha is a traditional Native American jewelry design that resembles a concha, which means "shell" in Spanish. Conchas are about the size of large shells, and can be flat or domed plaques, usually made of silver. They are used primarily to decorate leather belts, although can be seen in necklaces, bracelets, or pins. The Navajo in particular, using highly detailed silversmithing skills, have created intricate designs for belt conchos that were often studded with turquoise stones.


One of the most significant words in the Joe Leaphorn/Tony Hillerman lexicon.

The term refers to apparently random, often serendipitous, set of occurrences that are seemingly unrelated but that are aligned in a mix of happy accident and/or corresponding incidents. Sometimes coincidence is likened to "fate" or "fortune," events that come into being through forces that are beyond human control.

Joe Leaphorn, a savvy, experienced, and pragmatic lieutenant, does not believe in coincidence. Things happen for a reason, or come into alignment for a reason, and it's up to the perceptive investigator to recognize covert machinations that seem belied by overt, if allegedly random, connections.


Subscribe to RSS - The Dark Wind (1982)