People of Darkness (1980)

People of Darkness (1980)

chapter house

A chapter house is a meeting place for Navajo people where they can publicly discuss their opinions about the goings on of the Navajo Nation and its governance. Implemented by Leupp Agency Superintendent John G. Hunter in 1922, the chapter house system quickly transcended the politics of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and gained a communal and cultural relevance of its own. Today, even though chapters are still identified by BIA agency, they have gained and grown at the grassroots level to function as community centers as well as political hubs around the broad territory of the Navajo Nation.


A rough scrape caused by rubbing or grinding an object against the skin, resulting in an inflamed sore spot. The term abrasive refers to a substance, like sand, that can polish out imperfections and expose the underlying material, or, a gruff and disagreeable personality.


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.


Ceremonials are ritual, sacred, or spiritual practices found in many cultures around the world, including the Pueblo and Navajo in the American Southwest. Pueblo ceremonials are not homogeneous among the various Pueblo groups, but are instead a shared attribute among them, and includes ceremonials associated with their kiva societies. Pueblo kiva societies nurture the traditions affiliated with specific kachina, who are ancestor spirits and spirits associated with natural phenomena.

In the Navajo tradition, ceremonials are performed by a singer, also known as a hataałii, to address symptoms of imbalance that manifest as mental or physical illness. Navajo cures are targeted at body, mind, and spirit, and can last anywhere from one to nine days. Navajo ceremonials include chants, songs, prayers, lectures, dances, sweat baths, prayer sticks, and sand paintings.


Tony Hillerman's references to "cedar" probably refer to one of the many Juniperus species found throughout the Southwestern United States. Hillerman's cedar references could point to Utah Juniper (Junipers utahensis), Rocky Mountain Juniper (Juniperus scopulorum), Alligator Juniper (Juniperus deppeana), or Oneseed Juniper (Juniperus monosperma), all of which can be found in or near the Four Corners region.


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

Cancer Research and Treatment Center, University of New Mexico, New Mexico

New Mexico's leading facility for cancer care and research, located on the North Campus of the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque. This cutting edge and comprehensive center ranks among some of the elite cancer treatment and research institutions in the U.S. Since Hillerman's writing, it has been renamed the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center.


A pickup truck, van, or other vehicle outfitted with sleeping and sometimes cooking facilities. Campers range in sophistication from trucks fitted with "toppers" to luxury recreational vehicles (RVs) and motor homes.


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