InWord Journeys

          “…a wonderful companion for Western travelers…”
                                                        Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph

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Table of Contents       Purchase the Book

Explore the mystery and majesty of the American Southwest with Discover Native America, a travel guide to the region’s Native American sites. This newly expanded edition of a popular Hippocrene Books travel guide highlights the prehistoric cultures of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, as well as the modern tribes – including the Navajo, Apache, Ute, Tohono O’odham, Pueblo, and Hopi – that now live in these spectacular “Four Corners” states.

Arranged geographically, the guide includes;

  • Tips on visiting Indian reservations, attending ceremonies, and buying arts and crafts
  • Prehistoric ruins and sites
  • National Parks and Monuments
  • Dozens of new sites and places to stay, eat, and shop
  • Section on the prehistory and history of each state’s indigenous peoples
  • Calendar of powwows and other tribal ceremonies
  • Map and 16-page color photo insert
  • Glossary of useful words and phrases in several Native American languages

“Much more than your typical travel book, Discover Native America offers glimpses into the geology, history, traditions, and current celebrations of the indigenous Native Americans . . . This is an invaluable guide for those wishing to learn more about this beautiful and richly historical area.”
                                                  Tommie Plank
                                                  Owner of Covered Treasures Bookstore
                                                  Monument, Colorado

Discover Native America is much more than a mere travel guide to the southwestern states of Arizona and New Mexico and the western states of Utah and Colorado. There is a wealth of information about the Indians who live in those areas as well as historical accounts of the indigenous people who lived there for centuries before Europeans discovered America...My copy of this guidebook will always be with me in the future when I travel in these states...” Link to the full review:
                                                  Rheta Van Winkle
                                                  BookLoons Reviews

Excerpts from Discover Native America: Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah

SECTION I: Southwest Native American History
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Apache Bride National Archives
American Indian
Select List #51

Chapter 1, History of the Indians in Arizona
The Apache
            “Life in an Apache camp was generally warm and friendly. Early observers described them as cheerful, honest, talkative, and the type of people who place a premium on laughter and jokes. Generosity was also prized, especially among the leaders.
            Labor for men and women was strictly divided. The men made the weapons and medicine objects and were responsible for hunting, raiding, and attending group councils. It was their intense love of family and homelands that turned these protectors into fierce warriors, and their courage, cunning endurance, guerilla warfare tactics, and intimate knowledge of the land that made them almost invincible.
            The women did not normally take part in raids. Instead, they tended camp, cared for the children, and wove baskets with great precision, beauty, and skill...”

SECTION II: Discovering Native America
Arts and Crafts
            “Silver jewelry is often set with turquoise, a semiprecious stone that varies in hardness, color, and markings. Usually found soft and porous, the small percentage naturally hard enough to cut and polish is of increased value. Today, some of the turquoise is “stabilized”-that is, immersed in a plastic resin. It is commonly used to make heishi necklaces and earrings (see Beadwork), but jewelry made with it is generally of less value than that of unstabilized stones.
            Markings range from a pale blue to a deep green, with the most valuable being a deep blue webbed with black. Before the Spanish came to North America, Indians dug turquoise with stone hammers and antler picks at places like Cerrillos (New Mexico), a mine that extended two hundred feet underground. Today non-Indians mine the vast majority of it. Knowing the mine of origin can enhance the value of a stone.
            Styles of jewelry have evolved from adaptations of Spanish and Plains Indian styles. Navajo artists emphasize heavy pieces with fluid silver designs around the stones; the squash blossom necklace that many associate with Southwestern jewelry is of their design. The Zuni are known for their delicate lapidary work. The Hopi often use a technique called overlay and frequently incorporate animal designs into their pieces.”

SECTION III: Travel Guide
Chapter 11, Metropolitan Phoenix: Valley of the Sun
Photo 3             Casa Grande Ruins National Monument, the nation’s first archaeological preserve, protects a large Hohokam complex inhabited from about 1200 to the mid-1400’s. Partly because its caliche (cuh-LEE-chee) mud walls hardened like concrete, it contains some of the best-preserved prehistoric ruins in southern Arizona.
            The monument has over sixty sites, including a walled ball court and the three-story Casa Grande, which once looked out over terraced fields and an extensive canal system covering over eighty-five miles. At thirty-five feet tall, this is the largest known Hohokam building. Questions remain over what it was used for and why it was abandoned, but one theory is that the “great house" was an astronomical observatory. Look in the upper left of the west wall for the circular window that on the summer solstice aligns with the setting sun.
            You can easily explore the Casa Grande compound along a three-hundred-yard self-guided trial. The other compounds and buildings in this community of three to five thousand people covered a full square mile. You can view the ball court and platform mounds from the picnic area in front of the museum. The museum has excellent displays about Hohokam lifestyle, farming techniques, and trade networks.
            Casa Grande is at the north edge of Coolidge at the junction of AZ287 and AZ87. Signs lead to the entrance.”

Chapter 7, The Navajo
            “Along with over a dozen national monuments, tribal parks, and historic sites, the Navajo Nation encompasses some of the most spectacular scenery in the Southwest. The towns are small and widely scattered throughout the reservation….”
            “The town of Ganado, 30 miles west of Window Rock on AZ264, was named after Ganado Mucho, leader of the western Navajo until his death in 1892. One mile west of Ganado on AZ264 is Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. Customers have been coming to Hubbell Trading Post since 1878, making it the oldest continuously operating trading post in the United States, and it continues today much as it did in the days when Navajo families rode here in covered wagons to trade. The post is now stuffed with merchandise, old and new, as well as with priceless paintings and Indian artifacts accumulated by the Hubbell family.
            As a National Historic Site, Hubbell Trading Post also has a bookstore, a small museum, artists who demonstrate traditional skills such as weaving and silversmithing, and picnic tables. Visitors can take a free guided tour of the Hubbell home and/or a self-guided tour of the grounds, where gardens of flowers and vegetables traditional grown in the Southwest bloom in summer. . .”
Chapter 13, Northwest Colorado
Photo 4            “(Rocky Mountain National Park’s) high mountain peaks . . . were sacred to the Indians and considered to be steeped in power. On top of Old Man Mountain you can still see heavy river boulders carried there by warriors on Vision Quests. Long’s Peak and Mt. Meeker were the “two guides,” and their prominences used as beacons from the plains. Long’s Peak was also a place to harvest eagle feathers. A hunter would hide under a stone platform roofed with brush and baited with a coyote or wolf carcass, waiting to grasp the legs of the eagle lured to the traps.
            Spearheads and scrapers used by mammoth hunters have been found discarded along ancient trails, along with substantial rock walls and hunting blinds used to ambush elk, deer, and bighorn sheep. Above timberline throughout the larger Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest, forty-two game drive systems have been found, ranging from the relatively recent ones of five hundred years ago to those constructed by Paleo-Indians nine thousand years ago.
            One ancient trail still leads hikers across Flattop Mountain. Another, Taieonbaa, meaning “Child’s Trail,” crosses the Continental Divide through a less rocky place.”

Where to Buy the Book

Hippocrene Books


Copyright © Tish Minear and Janet Limon