Thunderstorm, Canyon de Chelly

Thunderstorm   Copyright © 2006 John D. Clark

Print #06-80

The name "de Chelly" (pronounced "de shay") is a Spanish corruption of the Navajo word "Tsegi", which means "rock canyon". The name of the principle tributary of Canyon de Chelly, Canyon del Muerto, means "Canyon of the Dead". The name comes from an 1882 Smithsonian expedition led by James Stevenson, which found many Anasazi burial sites in this canyon. The Rio de Chelly originates near the Arizona-New Mexico border, and runs a sinuous course westward. Rio de Chelly is enclosed by vertical canyon walls up to 1000-feet high until it comes to the mouth of Canyon de Chelly. The Anasazi and Navajo ancestors must have thought this beautiful canyon, with good blocky stone for construction, large protective niches and caves, and a flowing source of water made a perfect spot to settle.


© 2006 John D. Clark
Updated 12/28/2006