A poignant artistic collaboration, showing how history and mythology converge in the Navajo communities in and around Gallup, New Mexico.
Taking a fresh approach to personal documentary, this book combines Roswell Angier's photographs, Susan Hawley's watercolor paintings, and both of their journal entries, as they explore the time they spent in Gallup, New Mexico in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Gallup is a place where histories and myths meet, and Angier and Hawley work through diverse media to portray a place where many versions of Native and American life have flowed together. They show that Gallup is both beautiful and difficult to know, in a way that reflects the long shadow of Native American disenfranchisement.
Sober about social realities, Angier and Hawley nevertheless find lighthearted humor in the daily life of Gallup. They take us from the Navajo creation story to motels, from a rodeo to an inherited suitcase of Plains Indian artifacts. Through images, we travel from Canyon de Chelly to Chaco Canyon, from fast food joints to bars. Beyond the picturesque clichés offered by the desert, full of Airstream trailers and sunsets, we find struggles over personal and group identity at one of America's crossroads, where a billboard once read “Welcome to the Indian Capital of the World.”