and Mexican incursion into the area was either exploratory or punitive
(in their attempts to control Navajo raiders). In the early 1860s Kit
Carson followed suit by sending Utes into the region to capture Navajos,
who fled to peripheral areas such as Navajo
Mountain. The majority of the Navajos returned from captivity in
1868 and soon confronted miners seeking silver. Ernest Mitchell and
James Merrick, two of the most notable, were killed by Utes or Paiutes near monoliths that still bear
the miners' names.
1884 President Chester Arthur added this region by executive order to
the Navajo Reservation, but white men's interest in the area did not
wane. Prospectors continued to search for silver, and in 1906 John Wetherill
and Clyde Colville established a trading post at Oljeto that remained
in operation for four years until Wetherill moved to Kayenta. In 1924 Harry Goulding established
a post which is still in operation today, although under different
management. During the 1950s Goulding encouraged the employment of Navajos
in the uranium industry as well as in holding parts in the movie industry.
Monument Valley became known throughout the world when it was featured
in such western film classics as John Ford's Stagecoach, She Wore a
Yellow Ribbon, and Cheyenne Autumn. Outside influences brought further
development in the form of a Seventh-day Adventist mission and hospital,
and an Episcopalian mission--both in the Oljeto area. The Navajo tribe
has also established a tribal park that includes some of the most dramatic
monoliths, making the area accessible to thousands of tourists who visit
the region each year.
Richard E. Klinck, Land of Room Enough and Time Enough (1984); Robert
S. McPherson, The Northern Navajo Frontier 1860-1900 (1988).
Robert S. McPherson