Native horizons
The Southwest

10 raisons, ouest, indiens

Native horizons
The Southwest

The Native American lands that straddle Arizona, Utah and New Mexico offer up iconic myths and landscapes.

1.

Once upon a time in the West

The Navajo call it the valley of the rocks, an eroded plateau of age-old clusters of colossal buttes and mesas with evocative names like Three Sisters, Elephant Butte, Totem Pole. Technicolor images of these monumental shapes are etched in our minds, but the reality is something else altogether; visitors are overcome by the power of nature, enchanted by the monoliths and play of light on the red earth. This is the birthplace of the Western, thanks to John Ford, who defined the genre. He called Monument Valley, which lies within the largest reservation in the US, “the most complete, beautiful and peaceful place on earth,”and shot ten legendary films here, from Stagecoach (1939) to Cheyenne Autumn (1964) and The Searchers (1956). See you at John Ford’s Point lookout.

john ford’s point

Oljato-Monument Valley, Arizona.

2.

The soul of the West

Built at the base of a cliff, the comfortable Goulding’s Lodge stands directly opposite Monument Valley. Harry Goulding and his wife, the glamorous, intrepid Leone, known to all as “Mike,” set up their trading post here in 1923. The Navajo called Harry “Tall Sheep” because of all the sheep he bought from them during the Depression. He made a beeline for Hollywood to convince John Ford to give work to the starving Navajo. Today, a touching museum displays objects that belonged to the couple, along with memorabilia from films by the two Johns: Ford and Wayne.

Goulding’s Lodge

1000 Main Street, Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah. Tél. +1 435 727 3231.

www.gouldings.com

3.

The lofty spirituality of the Hopi kachinas

Their clifftop villages are hard to reach; their land is arid; their customs, austere. But a stay among the Hopituh Shi-nu-mu, The Peaceful People, is unforgettable, despite a strict ban on photographing villages, ceremonial kivas and sacred dances. The Hopi fiercely defend their extraordinary traditions. “No pictures”: it’s frustrating, but also liberating. You see, you listen; your memory is captive; the human element is once again pivotal. Like the couple in Oraibi: Robert Crying Redbear, from the Cree tribe, married to Pep Taylor, a Hopi who speaks like an oracle. They say the temporal and the invisible unite at the solstices. Cliffton, who carves kachina dolls used to teach children about the guardian spirits, may give you a tour of Oraibi. Edward Curtis captured tender images of young girls with the whorls of hair that were later restyled as Star Wars headdresses. A fascinating tribe, in the heart of Arizona.

4.

Corn as blue as a stormy sky

There’s no starred cuisine on the Hopi reservation, just simple food that will touch your heart. The land is ungenerous, yet it produces a treasure: the famous blue corn grown by the Hopi, with encouragement from the kachinas and ancestral spirits during corn dances. The sacred blue ear is ubiquitous: in mush (wuu’taqa), French toast (polavik kolakpu nohut aqw morokiwta), tortillas dipped in lamb stew (noqkwivi) and the austere piki bread, an exclusive Hopi treat.

5.

Navajo harmony

The Navajo, Apaches who arrived from the north some five centuries ago, were not always welcome. The Hopi called them “head-bashers.” White men, the bilagaani, defeated and forced the former wind riders into sedentary lives. The Pueblo people thought they were dissolute and greedy. But the Navajo didn’t care, as their ability to adapt was rivaled only by their resilience, while they remained entirely focused on a quest for harmony. A traveler leaving the Diné Tah, the homeland, may hear a hearty cry: “Hózhó nashad”“travel in beauty.” Which is easy to do, given the rich Navajo craftsmanship. Each region has its own rug design: Ganado, Wide Ruins, Teec Nos Pos. The baskets display an explosion of colors. Navajo silversmiths have been famous since the late 19th century for their necklaces of silver beads, squash blossom pendants and concha belts. The harvest will be ample.

6.

A vertiginous past

With good walking shoes and a water bottle, you’re ready for a hike through space and time. A river flows through the floor of the Canyon de Chelly. Opposite, ruins carved from the rock. Looted multiple times (reread Tony Hillerman’s A Thief of Time), yet miraculously preserved, this cliff dwelling is a thousand years old. The Anasazi, known as Ancestral Puebloans, built it and then abandoned it, for reasons unknown. The sun continues to circle overhead. The stone is pink. The scent of sage fills the air. The past is within reach. The White House Ruin, which the Navajo call Kinii’ ni gai, is seminal to Native American history, braving its solitude with grandeur.

7.

A wellspring of counterculture

This nearly hundred-year-old house is a legendary spot in Taos. In 1917, Mabel Dodge, a young heiress from the East Coast and adept of Jungian psychoanalysis, dreamed of an Indian face. One year later, she arrived in Taos, married Tony Luhan, from a nearby pueblo, and became a catalyst for the local art scene. Fairy tales do exist. Her friend D.H. Lawrence decorated her bathroom. Her life unfolded, happily. After Mabel, Dennis Hopper, the “Maharaja of Taos,” fell in love with this place, which became his Mud Palace until 1977. Transformed into a guesthouse and museum, Los Gallos, as Georgia O’Keeffe called it, feels like a second home, in New Mexico.

Mabel Dodge Luhan House

240 Morada Lane, Taos, Nouveau-Mexique. Tél. +1 575 751 9686.

www.mabeldodgeluhan.com

8.

Doing adobe: Taos Pueblo

It just may be the most perplexing construction material in the world: adobe can breathe. This mixture of sun-dried earth, clay, water and straw is natural, inexpensive and very nearly eternal: it just requires regular maintenance. The wall is a soft skin, the house communicates with the cosmos. Taos Pueblo has been occupied for a thousand years. It’s fascinating to explore the mysterious, minuscule complex, to hear about its rich history from Sonny Spruce, a charismatic traditional dancer who was once courted by Hollywood. A cautious man, he chose to stay and design traditional silver jewelry. Once you’ve been to Taos, you’ll want to come back. On December 25, for the Deer Dance. Promise.

9.

Burning up the pavement

The Southwest is the land of the automobile. Road trips were born here, like Easy Rider, with strips of road spiraling into infinity. Between Leupp and Kykotsmovi, Shiprock and Tohatchi, the route is hypnotic, where “the America of desert speed, of motels and mineral surfaces,” in the words of Jean Baudrillard, appears. One more ghost town, an oil well in the midst of a forest, yet another folk-art museum at the back of a supermarketthese no longer surprise. We drive past upended mountain swells, armies of cacti, gas pumps painted in 1940 by Edward Hopper. We wax philosophical in the face of spatial excess, geological irony. We’re soaring at the wheel. Stock still.

route 160

de Kayenta à Teec Nos Pos.

route 64

de Teec Nos Pos à Taos par Carson National Forest.

Route 66

«Mother Road», de Gallup à Albuquerque

High Road

de Taos à Santa Fe.

10.

Georgia O’Keeffe’s interior landscapes

In Abiquiu, a two-hour drive from Taos, Georgia O’Keeffe’s house awaits, for a meditative visit. This adobe structure has a monastic vibe. O’Keeffe, whose iconic paintingsRanchos Church and Black Cross, New Mexicocapture the sensuality of stone, lived in this empty, Zen-like space, among her beloved stones, animal skulls and a few pieces of modern design by Noguchi and Saarinen. The pinks and the deep purples of New Mexican sunsets had only to alight on her palette. “I couldn’t be at peace until I had this house with its black door.” A door to paradise.

Georgia O’Keeffe home & studio

Visite uniquement sur rendez-vous. Abiquiu, Nouveau-Mexique.

www.okeeffemuseum.org

The View Hotel

Ninety-five rooms with a view: that hackneyed expression actually makes sense here. The only hotel in Monument Valley, the building set in a 270-million-year-old cliff looks out over an awe-inspiring panorama. But the best part: the wood cabins below, to make believe you’re an old-time trapper, a cosmic experience on full-moon nights.

The View Hotel Indian

Route 42, Oljato-Monument Valley, Arizona. Tél. +1 435 727 5555.

www.monumentvalleyview.com

Hopi Cultural Center

A sweet little 33-room motel halfway between Walpi and Old Oraibi. The Hopi Cultural Center, at the heart of the reservation, includes a tourist center, souvenir shop and newsagent. The diner, a popular local spot, serves up hearty fare based on blue corn. The service is friendly and fun. Excellent talavaynova, the Hopi breakfast. Note: no alcohol served.

Hopi Cultural Center

Highway 264, Milepost 379, Second Mesa, Arizona. Tél. +1 928 734 2401.

www.hopiculturalcenter.com

Carnet d’adresses

john ford’s point

Oljato-Monument Valley, Arizona.

Goulding’s Lodge

1000 Main Street, Oljato-Monument Valley, Utah. Tél. +1 435 727 3231.

www.gouldings.com

Mabel Dodge Luhan House

240 Morada Lane, Taos, Nouveau-Mexique. Tél. +1 575 751 9686.

www.mabeldodgeluhan.com

route 160

de Kayenta à Teec Nos Pos.

route 64

de Teec Nos Pos à Taos par Carson National Forest.

Route 66

«Mother Road», de Gallup à Albuquerque

High Road

de Taos à Santa Fe.

Georgia O’Keeffe home & studio

Visite uniquement sur rendez-vous. Abiquiu, Nouveau-Mexique.

www.okeeffemuseum.org

The View Hotel Indian

Route 42, Oljato-Monument Valley, Arizona. Tél. +1 435 727 5555.

www.monumentvalleyview.com

Shopping

Red Rock Native Arts Guild

A simple store, where Robert Crying Redbear sells his magnificent feather, wood and horn masks, and will tell you about the proud lives of the Hopi people. Old Oraibi, Arizona. Tél. +1 928 613 8001.

Teec Nos Pos Trading Post

The coffee’s hot and John McCulloch’s smile issincere: this trading post has been selling everything you need, since 1905. Check out the Navajo rugs and baskets in the back. Teec Nos Pos, Arizona. Tél. +1 928 656 3224.

www.tnptradingpost.com

Sonny Spruce Indian Shop

Handmade, attractively minimalist silver bracelets and necklaces. Taos Pueblo, Nouveau-Mexique. Tél. +1 575 758 9898.

Sonny Spruce Indian Shop

Fabrication à la main de bracelets et colliers en argent joliment minimalistes. Taos Pueblo, Nouveau-Mexique. Tél. +1 575 758 9898.

À rapporter

Navajo crafts, Hopi kachina dolls, Zuni necklaces.

Bar & restaurants

Adobe Bar

Every evening, a group plays out front, while you sip Cowboy Buddha margaritas: country, bluegrass, rock and jazz. Known as “the living room of Taos.” Taos Inn, 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, Nouveau-Mexique. Tél. +1 575 758 2233.

Doc Martin’s

A well-weathered restaurant, named for the town’s first doctor, and meeting place for the painters who first met in 1912 to form the Taos Society of Artists. The Anglo-Italian-Mexican menu includes linguine with lamb stew, shrimp with polenta. Taos Inn, 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos, Nouveau-Mexique. Tél. +1 575 758 1977.

Lambert’s

A popular joint among the city’s high-brow bohemians, who enjoy lunches in the pretty sunlit patio. Excellent Mediterranean mixed platters. 123 Bent Street, Taos, Nouveau-Mexique. Tél. +1 575 758 1009.

Overview
Overview
Address Book

Going There

www.airfrance.com

FLIGHT FREQUENCY

AIR FRANCE has seven weekly flights to Houston from Paris-CDG.

KLM has seven weekly flights to Houston from Amsterdam.

AIR FRANCE has 17 weekly flights to Los Angeles from Paris-CDG.

KLM has 14 weekly flights to Los Angeles from Amsterdam.

ARRIVAL AIRPORTS

— Aéroport international de Houston.
À 37 km de Houston.
Tél. +1 281 230 3100.

— Aéroport international de Los Angeles.
À 26 km de Los Angeles.
Tél. +1 310 646 5252.

AIR FRANCE KLM OFFICES

Aux aéroports.

BOOKINGS

— Depuis la France :
Tél. 3654.

— Depuis l’étranger :
Tél. +33 (0)892 70 26 54.

CAR RENTAL

Hertz, à l’aéroport de Houston.
Tél. +1 281 209 6700.

Hertz, à l’aéroport de Los Angeles.
Tél. +1 310 568 5100.
www.aifrance.fr/cars

FURTHER READING

Le Livre du Hopi Frank Waters, Le Rocher.

Les polars navajo de Tony Hillerman, en commençant par Le Voleur de temps Rivages.

Laughing Boy Oliver La Farge, prix Pulitzer 1930, non traduit.

Parcs de l’Ouest américain Gallimard, coll. Bibliothèque du voyageur.

Sud-Ouest américan Michelin, coll. Guide Vert.

© Parko Polo / Central Illustration Agency. Map for illustration purposes only