Photographs of Navajo daily life featured in museum of anthropology exhibit

By Cheryl Walker

May 24, 2004

Photos from the book
"Crossing Between Worlds"

“Crossing between Worlds: the Diné (Navajos) of Canyon de Chelly” will open at Wake Forest University's Museum of Anthropology on June 1 and run through July 17.

The exhibit features 25 black-and-white photographs documenting the activities and environment of Diné families in Canyon de Chelly, located in northeastern Arizona. The Diné, commonly known as Navajos, have lived as herders for centuries in this area dotted with ancient cliff dwellings. The curator for the exhibit is Jeanne Simonelli, chair of Wake Forest's anthropology department.

The exhibit is based on the book “Crossing Between Worlds” by Simonelli and photographer Charles Winters. Simonelli worked as a park ranger in Canyon de Chelly, and the book and the exhibit mix stories about her personal experiences there with information about the native history and culture in the region.

Photographs include “Karen and the youngest generation,” showing a delighted grandmother holding two newborns in cradle boards; “Dog Rock at sunset,” a view of a native round house and the setting sun through a natural stone arch; and “White House ruin,” cliff dwellings inhabited more than 700 years ago. Children in Canyon de Chelly are writing captions that explain the importance of each photograph to the Diné.

Admission is free.

The Museum of Anthropology is located on the campus of Wake Forest University and is open Tuesday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Call 336-758-5282 for more information or visit

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