The Ghostway (1984)

The Ghostway (1984)

Jacaranda Avenue, Burbank, California

A major thoroughfare in Burbank, California running between Camarillo Street and North Pass Avenue. The street is named for the stunning blue luminescence of the Jacaranda bloom.

Los Angeles County Road Maintenance Department, California

A public works department, the road maintenance department is responsible for the repair and upkeep of all county roads.

Colorado Plateau, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah

A physiographic province that stretches across 130,000 square miles in the Four Corners Region of the American Southwest. The topographic features of this plateau include: high mountain ranges, deep canyons, river valleys, high plateaus, mesas, deserts, basins, and buttes. The highest elevation in the Colorado Plateau is the La Sal Mountains in Utah at 12,700 feet, and the lowest elevation is the Grand Canyon in Arizona at 2,000 feet. This vast difference in elevation means that the ecology of this landform is varied based on altitude and precipitation, from the alpine tundra of the higher elevations to the riparian areas along the Colorado River. This also means that there is variation in the animal communities based on changes in elevation and vegetation.

This landscape encompasses portions of two prehistoric cultural areas: the Great Basin and the American Southwest. This area has been continuously occupied since Paleoindian times, with the Clovis culture hunting game as far back as 10,000 B.C. Some of the most well-known structures of the Colorado Plateau are the cliff dwellings found in Mesa Verde, in southwestern Colorado. Around 1150 to 1200 B.C. Ancestral Puebloans began occupying these large alcoves, building stunning dwellings with hundreds of rooms. Around late A.D. 1200 through A.D. 1300 there was a massive migration from the Colorado Plateau south towards the Hopi, Zuni, and the Rio Grande Valleys. It is generally believed that an environmental catastrophe and subsequent collapse of societal organization caused this huge migration. Today, about one third of the Colorado Plateau is Native American reservation land designated to 31 tribes. The tribes that currently occupy the plateau include: Ute Mountain Ute, Southern Ute, various Pueblo groups, Yavapai, Paiute, Apache, Havasupai, and others.


In some versions of Navajo traditional medicine, when a person is thought to have been contaminated by coming into contact with an enemy or enemy witch, he can be taken to a diagnostician known as a hand trembler. The hand trembler will determine if the Enemyway ceremony is needed to cure the patient of any ailments thought to derive from enemy contact. The blackening rite is then conducted to determine if the Enemyway Ceremony will cure the patient’s ailment. This rite consists of mixing tallow and ash and spreading the mixture over the cursed victim. By painting the patient in ash, the patient comes to embody Monster Slayer, a young warrior who fights his way toward saving the Navajo people in various tales that comprise the Navajo origin story.

Shooting Way

Also spelled "Shootingway," the Shooting Way is a curing ceremonial complex from the Holyway classification that is performed to heal the patient’s sickness and restore balance and beauty into the world. The Shooting Way is a complex of chants that includes the Male Shooting Way Chant (na’at’oee baką́jí), the Male Shooting Way Ugly (Na’ átoee baką́ji hochǫ́ǫ́jí), and the Female Shooting Way Chant. It should be noted that the sex of the patient does not influence which of these chants are used. Rather, it appears to be based on the sex of the characters in the myth attached to the chant.

The Male Shooting Way chants are performed to cure people who have inopportune contact with snakes, arrows, or lightning. These are dangerous as they are associated with supernatural beings. The Male Shooting Way Ugly is performed to cure illnesses caused by witchcraft and ghosts.

Although there are recorded fragments of the Female Shooting Way chant and even a sandpainting schema associated with the Female Shooting Way ceremonial, the actual practice of this branch is less well known and less practiced than the male cycles of this healing ceremonial. In general, the Female Shooting Way is meant to alleviate illnesses provoked by association with menstruating women, or when a pregnant woman comes into contact with lightning, its effects, or curing ceremonials that are inappropriate for pregnant women to attend.

Toadlena School, Toadlena, New Mexico

A small Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school, located about 60 miles north of Gallup in Newcomb, New Mexico.


A plant from the nightshade family. The leaves are cured by drying or fermenting and then smoked or chewed. Tobacco is a plant species indigenous to the Americas and, similar to other nightshade species, has a history of cultivation and use for ceremonial purposes among many indigenous cultures throughout the Americas.


The hearth is technically the floor of a fire pit or fireplace. Hearth also refers to the extension from the center of the fire outward to the warm floor in front of the fire. The hearth is often associated with the center, or heart, of a home.

Blue Gap, Arizona

A small community located on the Navajo Indian Reservation in northeastern Arizona. The community has a mission, a school, and a post office, and is located on the southeast edge of Black Mesa.


A state located along the Atlantic coast in New England and one of the thirteen original British colonies in North America. Connecticut officially became a state in 1788 and its capital is Hartford, located in the north-central area of the state. Connecticut has been home to many notable figures including: Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Benedict Arnold, Eli Whitney, and Samuel Colt. The Ivy League university, Yale, is located in New Haven, Connecticut.

Connecticut is the 3rd smallest state in the U.S. and is bordered by Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. Known as the “Constitution State”, “Land of Steady Habits”, and “Nutmeg State”, as of 2010, Connecticut has a population of 3,574,097. The word Connecticut comes from the Algonquian word “land on the long tidal river.” The state tree is a White Oak (Quercus alba) and the state bird is the American Robin (Turdus migratorius). The topography of the state includes the southern New England section of the Appalachian Mountains, numerous lakes, highlands, and low lands.


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