Monument Valley Sunset

Monument Valley History 

by

Ned Eddins

Prehistoric Indians:

Anasazi      Fremont Indians       Hovenweep       Mesa Verde  

Paleo-Indians       Cedar Mesa           Mesoamerican Indians 

Southwest Indian Rock Art      Barrier (Horseshoe) Canyon 

Betatakin-Keet Siel    

Indian Cultures:

Indian Horse          Indian Smallpox     Indian Trade Guns 

Indian Alcohol         Trail of Tears            Trade Beads  

Monument Valley is  south and west of Hovenweep National Monument. The first known prehistoric Indians to inhabit Monument Valley were the Kayenta Anasazi.

Delorme Map
Four Corners Area

The picturesque Monument Valley monoliths are among the most photographed subjects in the United States. To protect the scenic beauty of Monument Valley, the area was added to the Navajo Reservation in 1884 by an executive order from President Chester Arthur.

Monument Valley NASA
Monument Valley – NASA/U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team 

The Navajo people established Monument Valley as a Navajo Tribal Park in 1958. The Monument Valley Tribal Park is 29,817 acres with an average elevation of 5,564 feet above sea level. The Navajo people manage and protect this national treasure of buttes, mesas. and monoliths.

Yie Bi Chie Full Moon
Yei Bi Chi – The Totem 
Ford Point
John Ford Point and Merrick Butte

Monument Valley has provided the scenery for many western film classics, including John Ford’s Stagecoach, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers, Fort Apache, and Cheyenne Autumn to name a few. The final  scenes in the movie Windtalkers were filmed on John Ford Point.

The most photographed scenes in Monument Valley involve the West Mitten and East Mitten.

The Mittens
The Mittens – Google Images
MV-Evening Shadows
Evening Shadows
Orion - Wally Pacholka
Orion – Wally Pacholka
Hogan Frame
Hogan Frame
The Picture Frame
HV-The Three Sisters
The Three Sisters
Moon Howling Coyote
Howling Coyote 

The best time for Monument Valley pictures is sunrise, sunset, or after a rain storm…haze produces spectacular sunrises and sunsets. There are lots of comments on Thefurtrapper website pictures.  One person emailed he had been to the same areas, but his pictures did not look like mine. I have been through Monument Valley on numerous occasions over more years than I care to think about. Being old fashioned, I prefer pictures of Monument Valley to look like they did in the fifties before west coast smog blanketed the Southwest…check the storm patterns.

I use a digital camera (Canon SX 60) and Photoshop to make exposure range adjustments to get rid of the haze. Photographic “purists”  look down their nose at this…but…an expensive SLR camera does not take a noticeably better picture than a moderately-priced digital camera at the same pixel level unless the SLR camera’s settings are adjusted, or a variety of lens are used to accomplish what can be done in Photoshop. What the difference?

merrick-butte
Merrick Butte Haze – Google Image

Now, the vast majority of time, Monument Valley haze (smog, smoke) is so bad it is impossible to take a clear picture. This picture of Merrick Butte from Google Images is a fairly typical summer day in Monument Valley, and the haze in Hovenweep, Bryce, and Zions National Parks is about the same. Sad to say, we live in a world of haze and “doctored” photographs.

Merrick Butte was named for James Merrick. Merrick and Ernest Mitchell were killed in this area of Monument Valley by Indians while prospecting. The Merrick and Mitchell families had settled on McElmo Creek just prior to the settlement of the Bluff-Montezuma Creek area by the San Juan Mission of Mormon settlers with the Hole-in-the-Rock Expedition.

The Monument Valley article was written by Ned Eddins of Afton, Wyoming.

Permission is given for material from this site to be used for school research papers.

Citation: Eddins, Ned. (article name) Thefurtrapper.com. Afton, Wyoming. 2002.

This site is maintained through the sale of my two historical novels. There are no banner adds, no pop up adds, or other advertising, except my books — To keep the site this way, your support is appreciated.

Mountains of Stone                     Winds of Change

There have been many requests for copies of pictures from the website. The best website pictures, and others from Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, and Star Valley, Wyoming, have been put on a CD. The pictures make beautiful screensavers, or can be used as a slide show in Windows XP. When ordering Mountains of Stone, request the CD and I will send it free with the book. The Winds of Change CD contains different pictures than those on the Mountains of Stone CD. To view a representative sample of the pictures on the CDs, click on…

Logo Mountains of Stone CD

To email a comment, a question, or a suggestion click on Mountain Man.

French-Canadian

To return to the Home Page  click on the Fur Trapper.

Hovenweep          Anasazi          Mesa Verde        Betatakin  

Cedar Mesa   Fremont Indians    Barrier Canyon    Paleo-Indians 

 Southwest Rock Art    Hole-in-the-Rock     Mesoamerican Indians

References:

Barnes, F. A and Pendleton, Michaelene. Canyon country prehistoric rock art: An illustrated guide to viewing, understanding and appreciating the rock art of the prehistoric Indian cultures of Utah, the Great Basin and the general Four Corners region. Wasatch Publishers, Salt Lake City, Utah. 1989.

Childs, Craig. House of Rain. Back Bay Books, New York, NY. 2006

Cordell, Linda S. Ancient Pueblo Peoples.  Smithsonian Books, Washington, D.C. 1994.

Diamond, Jared. Guns, Germs, and Steel: The fates of Human Societies. W.W. Norton, New York, N.Y. 1996.

Dillehay, Thomas D. The Settlement of the Americas. Basic Books, New York, NY. 2000.

Ferguson, William M. and Rohm, Arthur H. Anasazi Ruins of the Southwest in Color.  University of New Mexico Press. 1990.

Frazier, Kendrick. People of Chaco: A Canyon and its Culture. W. W. Norton, New York, NY. 1999.

Koppel, Tom. Did They Come By Sea? American Archeology Magazine, Spring. 2002.

Lekson, Stephen. A History of the Ancient Southwest. School for Advanced Research Press. Santa Fe, New Mexico. 2011.

Madsen, David B.. Exploring the Fremont. Utah Museum of Natural History/University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. 1989.

Noble. David Grant. Archeology Guide to Ancient Ruins of the Southwest. Northland Publishing, Flagstaff, AZ, 2000.

Roberts, David, In Search of the Old Ones Exploring the Anasazi World of the Southwest. Simon and Schuster, New York, NY. 1996

Schaafsma, Polly. The Rock Art of Utah. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah. 2004.

Stone, Tammy. The Prehistory of Colorado and Adjacent Areas. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah. 1999.

Taylor, Allan. American Colonies: The settling of North America. Penguin Books. New York, NY. 2002. 

Turner, Christy G. II , and Turner, Jacqueline A. Man Corn Cannibalism and Violence in the Prehistoric Southwest. University of Utah Press, 1999.

Walker, Paul Robert. The Southwest Gold Gods & Grandeur. National Geographic Society. 2001.

Warner, Ted J., Ed. The Dominguez Escalante Journal – Their Expedition through Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico in 1776.  University of Utah Press.

Weber, David J. The Taos Trappers-The Fur Trade in the Southwest 1540-1846.  University of Oklahoma Press. 1982.

Wenger, Gilbert. The Story of Mesa Verde National Park.  1980.

Internet Sources:

Archeology of Horseshoe Canyon

www.nps.gov/cany/horseshoe/

Barrier Canyon Rock Art

http://www.jqjacobs.net/rock_art/barrier1.html

Jacobs, James Q

http://www.jqjacobs.net/rock_art/ne_utah1.html

McConkie Ranch

http://www.lookoutnow.com/places/dryfork4.htm