A while back we got into a conversation with Joe Day, who along with his wife Janice, run the Tsakurshovi Trading Post on Second Mesa of the Hopi reservation.
He chided us for driving too much and not stopping often enough as he dug out a map of Indian Country and proceeded to mark routes to treasures we never knew existed. Ever since we've been planning how we could break up these trips into doable time frames. The time has come for the first of what we hope will be many.
We've long been interested in the ancient ones, the art and the culture of those known as the Anasazi who have, for reasons yet unknown, totally disappeared. I even consider myself an honorary Anasazi having earned it on a hike to Petroglyph Point in Mesa Verde.
You see, I'm not the most graceful of individuals and I have an unabated fear of falling. I am also game for just about anything Hub suggests so I slipped and slid on the trail to the petroglyphs. Mostly downhill it wasn't bad. I hadn't reckoned on how we'd get out. Retracing our steps wasn't the most appealing thought so we decided to just complete the loop back to the top of the mesa. What I hadn't counted on was having to climb out. Literally. On a hand and toe hold trail up the side of the cliff. I looked at Hub helplessly.
"I can't do this!" "Sure you can. I'll be right behind you to catch you if you slip." Wonderful. Then we'll both be dead.
With a deep breath and wobbly resolve I slowly but surely made it to the top. I breathed a huge sigh of relief as Hub joined me and we began the trek on what was a nice flat trail along the edge of the cliff. All went well until we reached an outcropping of rock. The trail ended. It commenced on the other side. I was deflated and scared witless. There was no way I could step around that outcropping with no more than blind faith.
"I'll go first and tell you where to put your foot," Hub assured me. Terrific. Should I face out or in? You know, I don't remember which I actually did. But do it I did.
"No wonder they've disappeared," I remember muttering. "They all fell off the bloody cliffs!"
The rest was smooth sailing. Walking. Whatever. When our trek was over for good I proclaimed myself an honorary Anasazi for having conquered my fears and survived. I consider it one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.
Enter the politically correct who we all know have invaded academia. In their infinite wisdom they've decided the word Anasazi is pejorative, just like Eskimo and Indian. Spare me. At least the Eskimos and Indians are still around!
To the Navajo the name means "ancient enemies" or "enemies of our ancestors". That may well be true, but so what? They're all dead! Do the Navajo even care? But the academics do and have decided on "Ancestral Puebloans".
Nope. It just doesn't sound the same. I am not an honorary "ancient enemy" nor am I an honorary "Ancestral Puebloan." I am and always will be an honorary Anasazi. Pejorative or not, the name has pizzaz!