John Ford's Monument
A secluded stretch of Utah cast a spell on the acclaimed director. His masterpiece 'The Searchers' cast a similar spell on the author, so he followed the trail into the remote West.
"We'd ask him, 'Grandfather, how'd you know the weather for tomorrow?' " recalls Don Holiday, one of Hosteen Tso's grandchildren. "He'd say, 'I go to my hogan and listen to the radio.' "
I like the travel-agent anecdote for what it says about our perceptions of Indians. The agent didn't learn about the Navajo in advance or use the opportunity to educate the tour group about Indians. Instead the agent asked the Indians to conform to the standard movie stereotypes. You know, the stereotypes on display in Ford's movies, in which Apaches, Comanches, and Cheyenne--but not the native Navajos--roam the area.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies. For pictures of Monument Valley, see my Colorado Trip Pix (Day 9).