Historical Reference

Long Walk

The name given to the traumatic experience of 8,000 Navajo in 1863 when Kit Carson and the New Mexico Volunteers forced the People to leave their traditional homeland and walk several hundred miles to a new, smaller reservation, Bosque Redondo, to be shared with the Apache.

Sand Creek Massacre

An unprovoked attack on on peaceful southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians that occurred in 1864 as led by Col. Chivington who had gotten orders not to make peace with the Indians despite previous peace efforts and various conflicts. The night time attack took place in southeastern Colorado and 143 Native Americans were killed.

Ganado Mucho

Ganado Mucho, also referred to as Gañado Mucho, was a Navajo leader during 1850s and 1860s, the time of the tribe's conflict-ridden transition to reservation life and away from the indigenous sovereignty of Dinétah. Ganado Mucho preferred diplomacy and treaties over violence and remained officially neutral in many conflicts between the Navajo and the United States, often choosing not to go into battle.

Despite early resistance to Kit Carson's forceful removal of the Navajo from their tribal homelands, Ganado eventually ended up at Bosque Redondo, losing several of his daughters in slave raids to which his party was subjected during their Long Walk from northern Arizona to southeastern New Mexico. In 1868, he signed the treaty between the Navajo and the U.S., which allowed the Navajo to return to their land.


An archaeological reference to a manually produced small, relatively flat, sharp-edged piece of stone that is made when one stone is struck by another. Flakes can often be further manipulated into sharp-edged stone cutting tools. Flakes are also associated with the debris produced at a site where stone tools were produced.


An object, usually of everyday use, that was made by people in the past and discovered, often by anthropologists and archaeologists, closer to the present. Artifacts are usually examined for their historical significance and are believed to indicate how peoples of the past lived.

Because Native American tribes have been living in what are now the United States for thousands of years, artifacts from the ancestors of peoples with ancient but still living traditions have been found. This has led to controversy concerning anthropological and archaeological work, as the these surviving traditional communities perceive the work of anthropologists and archaeologists as desecrating objects and sites sacred to Native peoples.


A component of many armies, cavalry refers to units of soldiers mounted on horseback. Historically cavalry units were very important in military operations due to the advantages of mobility and speed afforded by horses. Beginning in the late 1800s and continuing into the next century, the role for cavalry in the U.S. diminished with the introduction of new weapons. By the 1950s horses were no longer used by the U.S. Army, although some units are maintained ceremonially as part of state militias. The 1st Cavalry Division nevertheless served extensively in Vietnam using helicopters to transport weapons and vehicles.

This term is often used colloquially to mean the arrival of extra help to rescue a person or situation, as in "the cavalry has arrived!"


Folsom culture refers to a prehistoric group of nomadic hunters that may have hunted bison during the Pleistocene era. The majority of Folsom artifacts date to a period roughly between 9000 BCE and 8000 BCE. Archeological research shows that these hunter-gatherers lived across wide parts of North America, in the regions that stretch from what is now the Southwestern U.S. up through the Great Plains and all the way into Canada. The name Folsom originates in the first archeological site that uncovered this particular period, which was found near the village of Folsom, New Mexico. Traces of a specific "stone age" culture, based on its intricate and detailed stone weapons and tools were unearthed on that site in the early twentieth century, and additional Folsom sites have subsequently been excavated throughout New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas, as well as further up into the northeastern parts of the continent.

The Folsom culture is distinguished from the previous Clovis tradition by the shift from hunting mammoth that were becoming extinct to following herds of bison. This shift required developing new hunting techniques and devising new weapons, namely the famous Folsom point, which is a particular type of arrowhead that is carefully chipped out of flint rock. The typical Folsom arrowhead is characterized by a groove that runs along its center, suggesting that these points were mounted on wooden shafts and darts. The chipping of such grooves—a technique known as fluting—required advanced stone working tools, methods, and skills.

Much of the knowledge about Folsom culture that Tony Hillerman brings to his Navajo detective fiction, including his 1970 novel THE BLESSING WAY and his 1978 novel DANCE HALL OF THE DEAD, derives from the research he conducted for a chapter of his 1968 Masters thesis in English at the University of New Mexico. The chapter, which was published separately in TRUE, a men's journal, and in the 1973 published version of his thesis, THE GREAT TAOS BANK ROBBERY, was entitled, "The Hunt for the Lost American."

First Cavalry

A highly decorated military unit that was developed by the War Department of the United States of America in 1921 after the end of World War I. The 1st Cavalry Division served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It is composed of several divisions including artillery battalions, cavalry brigades, and an ambulance company. Originally, there was a mounted unit component to the cavalry, but this was disbanded in 1943. Now there is only a Horse Platoon, established in 1972, which is used for special occasions. In 1950, the 1st Cavalry was deployed to the Pusan Perimeter and was involved in amphibious landings during the war in the Korean Peninsula.


An automobile produced by the German company Volkswagen AG. The company was founded in 1937 by the German government and was originally run by the Nazi organization German Labour Front. The original factory was destroyed during World War II, before it could begin production. Following the end of the war, the factory was rebuilt and Volkswagen began to produce cars once more. However, it was not until the late 1950’s that these cars became popular in the U.S., with the introduction of the Volkswagen Beetle.

arrow head

More commonly spelled "arrowhead," archaeologists refer to arrowheads as projectile points. Arrowheads are prehistoric hafted (indented) pointed objects of worked stone that are generally attached to the end of an arrow or a spear. These points can be made from a range of raw lithic (stone) materials, including chert, obsidian, petrified wood, and occasionally bone.


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