A rough dirt track follows the south side of the deep sandstone canyon. For a mile or so there had been little to see, just the beauty of the canyon and the occasional eroded ruin. It took over an hour to get to the end of the road.
The first inhabitants of the cliff dwellings at Mummy Cave were called the Basket Makers, an early Anasazi culture. They were experts at wicker basketry, remnants of which were left in their dwelling and burial sites. The Pueblo people came next; then the Navajo. At one time, the Canyon de Chelly canyons were home to over 1,000 people. Farmland in the bottom of the Canyon has been cultivated by the Pueblo and Navajo for over 1,000 years – it is still farmed today.
The Navajo people respect the ancient sites. They know that spirits dwell in the ruins; spirits that shouldn’t be disturbed. They’ve heard them, felt them, and know to leave the ruins untouched. Unfortunately, others don’t have the same respect and fences must keep them away.