Today is going to be a slow day. We took the tour of Monument Valley yesterday afternoon, and so today we have only the museum to visit and perhaps another trip to MV, if the wind dies down. Unfortunately the forecast suggests the wind will be replaced by clouds and rain, so we’re in for a slow and wet day.
I’ve got to “renegotiate” my picture backup strategy – again – as Lightroom (I’ve only learned over the last several weeks) is based on your pictures being located where they are, and adding the adjustments each time you access that picture, rather than preserving the adjusted picture. Thus the program assumes you will preserve and backup the pictures yourself. It only backs up the adjustment record. So much of today’s computer time is being spent backing up the photos themselves, a time-consuming task that requires only minimal input from me.
I did get some interesting pictures of the monuments we can see from our balcony chairs as they appear with the sun behind them (in silhouette). Yep, the clouds are definitely rolling in.
The museum is interesting. This place started out as a trading post built and operated by Harry and Mike (Irene) Goulding. They came here in 1923 and decided to build a business here. The museum building is their first trading post downstairs, with their residence upstairs. Apparently they never had children, but put their energies into building the business. They soon put up structures to house and feed visitors, and did the work necessary to develop a consistent source of water, one of the main necessities here. As you can see from the pictures, they nestled their business in the shadows of two large monuments with a striking view of many others. A choice spot.
In the 1940s Goulding found out that John Ford was looking for a location for his next movie, and determined to present Monument Valley as that location. He went to Hollywood, and managed to make his point, at least getting Ford to travel here with his entourage and investigate. The result is a whole series of movies shot here, many of them highly successful. John Wayne starred in several, as well as Henry Fonda, Harry Carey, Jr,, and Ward Bond. Movies right up until the present day have been shot here, notably Thelma and Louise, Back to the Future III, and Forrest Gump. One room of the museum is devoted to telling this story.
The other story that features prominently is the history of the Navajo peoples who have inhabited this area from the earliest human habitation in North America. Much of the story as described in the museum relates to the encroachment of the area by whites in the mid 1800s, and the way the Navajos were treated by the whites through that period. (Colonel) Kit Carson was one of the military leaders whose story is told, with an attempt to be relatively neutral.
Personally I believe the Navajos were not treated well, and Kit Carson was no better than any of the other military types who were given the job of making the west habitable to the white population. He is singled out I suspect because of his popular reputation, which makes him useful to caricature and compare to the poor Navajos who were dispossessed and forcibly moved to reservations. All this energy expended to make the area safe for the whites who never really came here to do anything but enjoy the beauty. The presentation, which took the form of a video of about ninety minutes, also told the story of the Navajo chief (Hoskininni) who had leadership of a group who managed to evade the army elements sent to find them. Eventually those Navajos who were forcibly evicted and eventually encamped at Fort Sumner in New Mexico were let go.
Those who had originated here in MV, returned and with the ones left from Hoskininni’s group are the source of the settlers who currently occupy the area. The Navajos today are the largest of the native American tribes extant. Their reservation covers some 17.5 million acres (according to one source).
Any such history is bound to view events through the eyes of the current-day people who put it together. As a reader of history, I prefer a version which makes more of an attempt to present the events in the context of the times in which they took place. There are certainly basic moral and ethical principles that one would want to believe apply to all. However, even those have evolved over time, and a complete context must include some discussion of those prevailing principles. An individual is much more of a hero for asserting his adherence to these principles at a time when the prevailing understandings are against him than when they are in his favor. Was Kit Carson a bad or a good person for what he did? Gwen and I spent the time to read up a bit, and then had a rousing discussion on that point. I leave it to the reader to guess who was arguing what points.
So, lunch was had, and then we settled down to a restful afternoon and evening. The only adventure concerned the lack of tea bags in the room. I ended up going to the restaurant where they had a box of Navajo Tea bags, which they happily sold to me.