Canyon de Chelly, located on the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona, was once home to the Ancient Puebloans, who lived in the area for thousands of years and built sophisticated homes in alcoves tucked under the cliff walls.
In the winter of 1864, during a systematic campaign to force the Navajo people off their land, the U.S. military faced off against a holdout of Navajo people in Canyon de Chelly. The Navajo tried to escape by scaling the steep walls, but most were taken prisoner and forced to march 300 miles out of the canyon in a deep and bitter cold. The traumatic event is known in Navajo history as the “Long Walk.”
The Draper family is descended from participants in the Long Walk and eventually returned to the canyon. Today, young Tonisha Draper and her little sister, Tonielle, are learning Navajo traditions from their father. This short film follows Tonisha, Toneil and their family as they reclaim their Navajo history and reconnect with ancestors within the canyon walls.