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---- Wednesday - August 20, 2014 - 6:21:24 PM - Navajo Nation Time ----

Piñon
(Be’ek’id Baa’ Ahoodzání - Hole in the Lake)

Piñon is located in the rolling, partly wooded mesa country in the heart of Black Mountain. The region is made up of hills, mesas, and canyons fingering into the region. The region is somewhat inaccessible, and is populated by extremely conservative Navajos.

Captain John Walker and 2 companies of Mounted Rifles were the first Americans known to have traversed this wild region. They crossed from Marsh Pass to near Salina in 1858. Captain Walker was the first to have reported that the area was made up of a series of broken hills, mesas, and canyons. All except the eastern border was uninhabited at the time he passed through. Walker declared that in case of war with the United States, the Navajos could easily conceal themselves in this "labyrinth of hills, valleys, and arroyos. Discovering their hiding places would be as difficult as it was to find the Seminoles in the Everglades of Florida."

Before he died (in 1939), an aged Navajo, Béésh Ligaiilatsidí, told the story of a Mexican trading expedition which left their carreta (two wheeled wooden cart) in Piñon country. They were bringing a carreta into the Piñon region over the Canyon de Chelly rim trail, across Black Mountain and then down as far as Gray Mountain on the Little Colorado River. On the return over Black Mountain, the carreta fell into a deep arroyo, and broke up. The Navajo name of the location records this incident. Informants from Chinle state that Black Mountain was the habitual winter range of the Chinle valley people many years ago.

In October 1939, Ramon Hubbell and Evon Vogt searched in this vicinity for old Spanish inscriptions reported by the Navajos to have been located near in a spring called by the Navajos, Naakaiitó (Mexican Water). The Navajos thought a party of Spanish or Mexicans who had killed some Navajos near Ganado and then proceeded northwest had left the inscriptions there. Hubbell and Vogt found the site of the inscriptions. A part of the cliff had fallen off covering them and tools were unavailable for the removal of the rocks.

By Harrison Lapahie Jr.
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