Annotated Bibliography: Navajo Rock Art
1963 Rock Art in the Navajo Reservoir District. The
This book focuses on the
Schaafsma shows how the subject matter of the Navajo rock art represents the activities and setting of this group of people. Many bison and deer were depicted because these were the primary animals that the Navajos hunted. Their other source of main food, corn, was also represented frequently in the Reservoir. Mythical and supernatural figures occurred often such as panels of stars, lightning arrows, snakes, rainbows, and figures with headdresses of various kinds, masks, etc.
Lastly, Shaafsma noted how the Navajo rock art
was influenced a great deal by the
Welsh, Liz and Peter
2000 Rock-Art of the Southwest. Wilderness Press, Berkeley.
The authors of this book argue that the notable settings in which rock art
was created, the care with which designs were planned and accomplished, and
the Native American view on rock art sites being sacred prove that rock art
is significant. Liz and Peter Welsh focus in on the rock art in the southwest
because Native Americans have created virtually all of the rock art throughout
1995 Rock Art. Native Peoples 9: 34-38.
This magazine article starts off with some history of the Navajo and Pueblo
Indians in the Southwest. Thybony explains how
the historic Navajo were generally thought of as nomadic herders that lived
in hogans (mud houses) and raided their peaceful
Furthermore, the article describes how archeologists have been trying to determine the purpose of why the Navajo created rock art. They believe that it may have served as a shrine, a record of clan migrations, or an archive of ritual knowledge. Some Navajo people believe their ancestors carved ceremonial designs on the cliffs in case the medicine men that knew what they meant died before passing on their knowledge.
The article ends with the input of an anthropologist, John Farella. Farella tells Thybony that the Navajo stopped depicting ye’i, the Holy People, in permanent media around 1750 in the Dinetah (Navajo holy lands). After that time, sand paintings continued to be created but were purposely destroyed as part of a curing ceremony. During the same period, they stopped making pueblo-style pottery and abandoned their pueblo-style dwellings. For reasons still unknown, the Navajos “purged these alien ways and moved away from their homeland.”
Jacka, Lois E.
1994 Enduring Traditions: Art of the Navajo. Northland
This book is a great guide for understanding all of the different Navajo
art forms including modern day Navajo pottery, jewelry, sculpture, rugs, paintings,
sand paintings, and baskets. It also gives a brief history of the traditional
rock art pecked into the cliff faces or painted under protective overhanging
walls. Jacka points out how the Navajo art itself
developed from a fusion of
2000 Rock Art Pages, www.jqjacobs.net/rock-art, last accessed [November 1,
This website contains pages of “the best rock art from the desert West and
Southwest”. The pages give an overview about the rock art in the Colorado
This website focuses on how rock art was used by the Navajo in
1968 The Enduring Navajo.
Laura Gilpin does not speak about rock art, but she gives a great depiction of the Navajo people both with explanatory text and many visual images. She worked among the Navajo and was able to gather a multitude of information about their culture and present day conditions.
Campbell, John F.
24, Sept. 2001 Petroglyphs and Rock Paintings. http://my.execpc.com/~Jcambel/sites9.html, last accessed [November 15, 2002].
Images of Navajo rock art can be found on this website from Canyon de Chelly,