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Tips for Visiting Navajo National Parks
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Tips for Visiting Navajo National Parks
  Arizona Travel News ( Press Release )

Thunderbird Lodge in Canyon De Chelly National Monument Offers Tips for Visitors to Navajo Country
Chinle, Arizona, USA: December 29, 2003 - A trip to the Southwest is truly a rich cultural experience, and the better the understanding of the history and culture of the region, the better that experience will be.
Canyon de Chelly is unusual because the land is owned by the Navajo tribe and the monument is operated by the National Park Service. Many Navajo families continue to live within the monument's boundaries. The canyon is also significant because it is very spiritual to the Navajo people and was the site of several events that played a critical role in Navajo history.
The staff at Thunderbird Lodge in Canyon de Chelly offers these tips for visiting the monument:
Do Your Research.
It's never been easier to learn about the Navajo people and their culture. Go to your favorite Internet search engine and you'll find plenty of information.
Stay on the Wagon.
Alcohol is illegal on the Navajo Reservation. You will not find it any stores, restaurants or taverns.
Hire a Guide.
With the exception of hiking the White House Ruin trail, travel in the canyons is permitted only with a park ranger or other authorized Navajo guide. Visitors have the option of Thunderbird Lodge tours, hiking, riding horses or traveling by permit with an authorized guide in their own four-wheel drive vehicles.
Respect Private Property.
Unlike most national parks and monuments, Canyon de Chelly features property owners who work the land and live within the monument's borders. Of course, your guide will know the areas to avoid.
Respect the Ruins.
Like many places in the Southwest, Canyon de Chelly is home to 700-year-old ruins once inhabited by the Anasazi, or the "Ancient Ones." Disturbing these ruins is illegal, disrespectful and just plain wrong.
Respect the Dead.
Native peoples throughout the region do not speak of the dead. Most guides know how to politely deflect this topic, but it is best if visitors not bring it up at all.
Be a Good Listener.
Readers of Tony Hillerman's novels featuring Navajo tribal policemen know that interrupting someone who is speaking is considered a rude gesture among the Navajo. Be polite and listen. You'll learn plenty in the meantime as well.
Have Fun.
While all of these tips sound so serious, don't forget that vacations are supposed to be fun. The Navajo are known for having a good sense of humor, so don't leave yours at home.
About the Resort
Thunderbird Lodge features 74 modern rooms equipped with comfortable beds, full bathrooms and cable television. The lodge sits on the site of a trading post built in 1896, and its cafeteria-style restaurant is located in the trading post's original building. The Thunderbird Lodge gift shop and rug room offer some of the region's finest examples of Native American jewelry, crafts and Navajo rugs as well as other mementos.
Thunderbird Lodge also offers authorized group tours in Canyon de Chelly in six-wheel drive touring vehicles operated by experienced and knowledgeable Navajo guides who explain about the canyon, one of the most sacred as well as historically and culturally significant places in the Navajo Nation. Guests see prime examples of Anasazi ruins, pictographs, petroglyphs and the sites of confrontations between the Navajo and the Spanish, Mexican and American governments.
During the winter, half-day tours leave from Thunderbird Lodge at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. and take visitors into the lower halves of both Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto and last 3«« hours. Guests typically enjoy an open-air ride, but during inclement weather the vehicles can be covered with clear caps engineered by the lodge's maintenance staff.
Rates for half-day tours are $39.50 for adults and $30.50 for children 12 and under. During the winter, tours are conducted only if at least six guests participate. For reservations, call 1-800-679-2473. For more information on Canyon de Chelly National Monument and Thunderbird Lodge, go to www.tbirdlodge.com.

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