On today’s Summer Bucket List, get up close and personal with history and culture at the BLM’s Defensive Sites of Dinétah in New Mexico.
Visitors who are willing to make their way to remote areas have the chance to explore “pueblitos” (Spanish for “little pueblos”) and petroglyph panels at the site. You can forget looking and pointing from a distance here, go ahead and get closer to learn more about how the Navajos protected themselves.
The pueblitos were used by the Navajo for defense, as well as for shelter and cooking, in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the mid-1700s, Spanish travelers observed the pueblitos and remarked that they were places of defense against the Utes and Comanches.
The BLM has taken steps to protect the cultural resources of the site so that the ruins are accessible, but also being preserved for future generations. Among the ruins under the BLM’s jurisdiction are the Simon Canyon Ruin, Tapacito Run, Largo School Ruin, Frances Canyon Ruin, Split Rock Ruin, Hooded Fireplace Ruin, and Crow Canyon Site. Visit Crow Canyon to see hundreds of petroglyphs carved in the canyon walls.
Make sure when planning your trip to the Defensive Sites of Dinétah to avoid a rainy day. The remote roads leading to the site can be slick and dangerous when wet. Be sure to take enough water and food for the day, because there are no services in the canyons. Also, keep in mind the hot temperatures in the summer months; an early morning trip might be best. The site is near Farmington, New Mexico, in the Four Corners area of the state.
At the site visitors have the rare opportunity explore and touch history, allowing them to feel what it was like for the Navajo’s who built the pueblitos hundreds of years ago!
Visit the Defensive Sites of Dinétah website to learn more and download the site brochure: http://www.blm.gov/nm/st/en/prog/recreation/farmington/dinetah_pueblitos.html
Photos: Bob Wick; story: Emilee Cantrell