People of Darkness (1980)

People of Darkness (1980)


A term in microbiology referring to the propagation of bacterial colonies of microorganisms, tissue cells, or other living matter in a specially-prepared nutritional environment.

Tuba City, Arizona

Tuba City is located in Coconino County, Arizona on the southern edge of the Kaibito Plateau. This town is one of the largest communities on the Navajo Reservation but it also has a small Hopi population. During the 1870s, Mormons briefly resided in Tuba City. At that time, Mormons named the community after a Hopi headman named Tuvi, who converted to Mormonism. Mormons later sold the town, which they claimed to be their property, to the U.S. Indian Service (in later years known as the Bureau of Indian Affairs). Mormons had been encountering increasing levels of antagonism from the Navajo, the original inhabitants of the area, which may explain why the Mormons sold the town and left the area.

One Navajo word for Tuba City is Tö Naneesdizí, which means “Place of Water Rivulets,” referring to the irrigation ditches used by Mormons during their occupation.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

The state capital of New Mexico, Santa Fe (meaning “holy Faith” in Spanish) is the oldest capital in the United States. At an elevation of over 7000 feet, it is also the highest one. The city was founded in 1610 by Don Pedro de Peralta as the capital of the province of New Mexico under colonial Spanish rule. The lands surrounding the town were occupied by indigenous peoples for centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards, and in fact today’s downtown area sits atop at least two Pueblo ruins.

The city remained small and fairly provincial through the transition from Spanish, to Mexican, and then American rule, but in the early 20th century it established itself as a cultural hub that celebrated a mix of indigenous histories, Hispanic traditions, and modern American influences. The community of artists and writers who were attracted to the area, the most famous of which is the painter Georgia O’Keefe, contributed greatly to the city’s growth and development as a tourist destination.

Santa Fe’s economy has come to rely heavily of tourism, promoting a romantic, somewhat exotic image of a small city that boasts numerous attractions such as museums and art galleries, a historic plaza at the heart of downtown, old churches, Pueblo architecture, and high-end boutiques and restaurants. The upscale attractions, along with the area’s natural beauty, have attracted a wealthy population that has gradually displaced many of the city’s original residents. Today Santa Fe stands in stark contrast to the neighboring small towns and even the bigger city of Albuquerque, communities that struggle with stunted economic development and a lack of resources.

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.


A crevasse is a deep vertical fissure, or a narrow crack, which can form in bedrock or ice. Usually, the term "crevasse" refers to cracks in ice or glaciers, while the term "crevice" refers to those in rocks; Hillerman sometimes uses crevasse to refer to the former. A crevasse is sometimes narrow enough to jump across, but never wide as wide as a ravine or canyon. One of the most overwhelming aspects of a crevasse is its sheer depth, it can appear to be almost bottomless.

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.""


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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