Navajo Sacred Places
Authors: Klara Bonsack Kelley and Harris Francis
Publisher: Indiana University Press (1994)
The Navajo see even the most minute parts of their homelands and surrounding territory as infused with sacred significance. Places of special power are the most alive, and stories usually go with them. Navajos visit these places to connect with their power. The places anchor the ways of Navajo life as well as the stories about the origins and the correct pursuit of those ways.
Navajos have responded to curiosity about these places and landscapes by trying to keep the locations and stories behind them secret—to save the sites from destruction and to keep their power from being sapped. In the face of unbridled land development, however, protecting the landscapes may mean telling the stories, and it is in that spirit that Kelley and Francis discuss the Navajo's sacred landscapes and the stories that go with them.
Navajos tell many kinds of stories, both old and new, about these landscapes, and Kelley and Francis have included some of these stories in this book. The authors believe that in time more examples may be revealed with the blessing of the Navajos who care for them, but the day when Navajos willingly give many such stories to others will come only when the Navajo people themselves have gained control over the use of their land.