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jd ndjah (antelope run)
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The "Camel Backs" with Wide Mesa in the background.
This area is found just north of Tsaile, Arizona, on Navajo Route 12 going towards Lukachukai. The land towards Lukachukai before the downward slope into Upper Greasewood is flat, except for this region called "Camel Back" in English by locals. In Navajo it goes by two almost-forgotten names, Niidzs, which literally means "dragging it" and Jd Ndjah, which means "Antelope Run." This area is shown in the picture to the right, with Nteel Dah Azkan (Wide Mesa) in the background, the area where my great-grandfather is from.

This area is significant to locals for two reasons. First, this area is a segment a large deer trail. Deer travel down this area from a portion of the Lukachukai Mountains called Ts Binyo (Wind Blows Around The Rock), which is shown in the picture below. Long ago, Navajos dug a deep pit at Jd Ndjah with a fence that surrounded its western perimeter. When antelope would run down from the mountains, Navajos would circle the edge of the pit, shoot their arrows into the pit, & kill the trapped antelope.

The second reason this area is significant is that before the Long Walk some Navajo women were sheep-herding in this area. They were attacked & raped by some Mexicans and their dead bodies were dragged in this valley, giving it it's second Navajo name, Niidzs. For this reason, when an Enemy Way Ceremony (Nd') is held in the Lukachukai area and if the decorated stick ('aghaatsiin) is coming from the Tsaile area, they will never cross through the Camel Backs. To this day, the riders will travel all the way around thru Many Farms and then to Lukachukai.

I'd like to thank Adella Reynolds & Marie Hoskie from Tsaile, AZ, for giving me this information.

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