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America's History in the Making

Resource Archive: Search Results

Narbona Panel, Canyon De Chelly

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Robert Mark, DETAIL OF NAVAJO/ DINE PICTOGRAPH, CANYON DE CHELLY (2002). Courtesy National Park Service, Museum Management Program, and Canyon de Chelly National Monument Narbona Panel Detail, [CACH # RCS-RM-064].

Creator The Navajo, or Dine
Context This evidently shows the Narbona (Spanish) expedition of 1805 deep into Navajo country, and Canyon de Chelly, where this drawing was made, was perhaps the Navajo's most secure refuge.
Audience Other Navajo
Purpose To record their impression of the expedition

Historical Significance

The Navajo, or Dine, arrived in what would become the southwestern United States only a few generations before the Spanish came in the 1540s, and had long been moving southward. Unlike the Pueblo, who had been colonized by the Spanish in the late sixteenth century, the Navajo remained independent. They traded with the Spanish, and the two groups raided each other for slaves and other forms of wealth.

This pictograph, made by painting and engraving rock walls, from the Canyon de Chelly probably depicts the Narbona expedition of 1805, one of many Spanish attempts to weaken and enslave the Navajo. Narbona reported that he killed 125 Navajo and took 33 as prisoners. Many historians believe that this pictograph shows the Navajo view of the raid.

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