The Dark Wind (1982)

The Dark Wind (1982)


Mexico is a federal republic that borders the United States to the south. The Mexican states of Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, and Coahuila de Zaragoza share direct borders with the southwestern and western states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas (respectively from west to east). Spaniards conquered and colonized the region beginning in the early 1500s. The national spoken language is Spanish, and the country boasts the largest population of Spanish speakers in the world. However, many tribal groups still exist and thrive in Mexico. Mexico was home to several very advanced Amerindian cultures including the Olmec, Toltec, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec.

Mexican Water, Arizona

A small community on the Navajo Nation Reservation off of US Highway 160 at a steep rocky crossing of Chinle Wash near Dinnehotso. Mexican Water has a trading post and a chapter house. The region is very rocky, and, before the paving of the highways that run nearby, the only location markers were piles of rocks.

Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff is a city in Northern Arizona and is the county seat of Coconino County. The Coconino National Forest just outside the city limits is the largest contiguous Ponderosa pine forest in North America. The presence of Ponderosa pine gave the city its name when a Boston scouting party raised a Ponderosa flagpole in honor of the United States Centennial, and the place where it was raised was called Flagstaff. The settlement originally grew in size due to the establishment of a sawmill by E.E. Ayer and the arrival of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway. The Navajo name for Flagstaff is Kin Łání Dook’o’oosłííd Biyaagi or “Many Houses Below San Francisco Mountains.”

Farmington, New Mexico

Farmington is a town located in northern New Mexico between the San Juan, La Plata, and Animas Rivers in San Juan County. The name for this settlement in Navajo is Tóta, meaning "Between the Waters.” The area of Farmington was originally settled by Ancestral Puebloans, as evidenced by the nearby Salmon Ruins and the Aztec Ruins. After the Ancestral Puebloans abandoned the Farmington area, it was occupied by the Navajo, Utes, and the Jicarilla Apache. The current town was incorporated in 1901, and a narrow gauge railroad to Durango, Colorado was completed in 1905. There was a significant population increase in the 1950’s after the San Juan Basin Natural Gas Pipeline was constructed.

creosote bush

Creosote bush, also known as greasewood, is the common name for a genus of bushes known as Larrea. This evergreen bush can be found in hot and dry regions throughout the U.S. Creosote can live up to 100 years and is known for its astringent odor, especially when wet or burning. For many desert dwellers, the scent of wet creosote bush is a scent associated with the summer monsoons, a welcome perfume that can almost overwhelm the senses on a humid afternoon.

Chuska Range, Arizona and New Mexico

The Chuska Mountain Range runs along the Arizona-New Mexico border and lays within Apache County in Arizona and McKinley and San Juan Counties in New Mexico. The Navajo name for the mountain range is Níłtsą́ Dził, meaning Rainy Mountain, and in Navajo mythology, Chuska Peak is believed to be the head of a male figure called Y’odí Dził, or “Goods of Value Mountain.""


A narrow fissure, or crack, in a rock face.


In 1896, Utah became the 45th state to join the United States, and Salt Lake City was named its capital. The Great Salt Lake, after which the capital is named, is the largest saltwater lake in the western hemisphere. The state itself was named after the Ute people, and Utah remains home to five distinct Native American Tribes including the Ute, Paiute, Goshute, Navajo, and Shoshone. In 1869, Promontory Point, UT was the site of completion for the first transcontinental railroad. Utah is also one of the four-corner states, including New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona, which all connect at right angles.

Utah boasts some of the country's best mountain biking trails, hiking, rock climbing, scenery, and skiing. It is also host to a cluster of National Parks, inlcuding Zion National Park, Arches National Park, which features over 2,000 natural rock arches, Bryce Canyon, and many other parks, forests, and recreation areas.


In 1912, Arizona became the 48th and last contiguous state to join the United States. The capital, Phoenix, became one of the fastest growing cities in the country after the invention of air conditioning occurred in the 1950s. Nicknamed the "Grand Canyon State," Arizona is home to Grand Canyon National Park. Bordered by California and Nevada to the west, Utah to the north, New Mexico to the east, and the country of Mexico to the south, Arizona occupies the central portion of the Southwestern region of the United States.

Arizona is also the state with the most land designated to Native American nations. The state is home to 22 distinct tribes, the largest group being the Navajo, whose reservation extends into Utah and New Mexico and contains many of its own attractions including Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Navajo Nation Window Rock Monument & Veterans Memorial Park, Rainbow Natural Bridge, and Chaco Cultural National Historical Park.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque is mentioned in ten Hillerman Navajo mystery novels. It is a major city in central New Mexico and is located at an elevation of 5,000 feet above sea level. The city is bounded on the east by the Sandia Mountains and on the west by the famous Rio Grande. Interstate-40 and Interstate-25 intersect in Albuquerque, dividing the city into four quadrants. Major institutes in the city include the University of New Mexico, the Maxwell Museum of Anthropology, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, the National Hispanic Cultural center, and the Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute among others. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also has an official division in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque was settled by Spaniards in 1706 after King Phillip of Spain granted permission to colonists to do so, and the city was then named after the Duke de Alburquerque. There were originally two “r”s in the city’s name, but later, the first “r” was dropped because it was too difficult for non-Spanish speakers to pronounce. The Navajo name for Albuquerque is “Bee’eldíídahsinil,” or “At the Place where the Bell Peals.”


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