Showing posts from September, 2021

The Reluctant Tourist on the Navajo Nation

Photo: Avelardo Valdez                               By Avelardo Valdez I am in Mexican Hat, Utah, a way station along the San Juan River in the northern reaches of the Navajo Nation. We’ve just left the Valley of Gods, where massive and majestic mesas—the largest cluster in the world—rise from the desert floor like ancient temples.   Leaving a dusty road that runs through the Valley of the Gods, we make a wrong turn and endldez up on the steep, gravel-covered switchback route which leads to the 1200-foot summit of Cedar Mesa. Correcting our course, we circle back to Highway 63 and head south. Exhausted from two-hours of hard driving, we pull up to Mexican Hat’s lone 7-Eleven. In dire pursuit of water and snacks, we enter the store in haste.   Although I know the answer, I ask the clerk, a young Navajo man, where I can buy alcohol as he tallies up our purchases. “Liquor is banned on the Navajo reservation. Closest place to buy is 40 miles away,” he replies. Put to every local person en