Photo: Kirstin Roper, © NHMU

Monument Valley

Tsé Bii’ndzisgai (Monument Valley) is instantly recognizable. Its towering sandstone buttes rising up to 1,000 feet above the desert floor are practically synonymous with popular visions of the American West. In 1958, the Navajo Nation set aside over 91,000 acres straddling the Utah/Arizona border to establish the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The park is the most visited part of the Navajo Nation offering a self-guided driving tour, guided hikes, a hotel, and a chance for photographers to capture their own iconic image of what is said to be one of the most photographed places in the United States. To the north of this busy tourist destination, on the periphery of Monument Valley, lies remote Douglas Mesa. The mesa is home to a cluster of Diné (Navajo) families—the Bitsinnies, Blacks, Johnsons, and Rocks—who passed basket weaving down through generations and launched the Diné basket revolution.