THE RETURN OF GUILLET, 1963-1966
The crisis in relations between the Park Service and the Navajo tribe came to a head late in 1962. A retrospective account, which Meredith Guillet sent to the new director, George Hartzog, in December 1964, provides an overall picture of conditions and how the Service tried to meet them:
With the return of Guillet in January 1963, conditions at Canyon de Chelly underwent a radical change. Relations with the Navajos especially on the local level, improved dramatically. Guillet's primary responsibility was to be the handling of relations with the Navajos. He would have his son-in-law, John E. Cook, as his administrative assistant so that he could devote more time to the problems encountered. 
Until Guillet arrived, Ranger Roy Rainey was acting superintendent.  There had been changes at Chinle since Guillet was last stationed there, but it was still a relatively remote area. The only shopping facilities were trading posts with limited merchandise. Public Health Service medical facilities were available only in cases of extreme emergency, and all other medical services had to be obtained at Ganado, while dental care was available no closer than Gallup. The only churches were the Catholic, Mormon, and Presbyterian missions. Television reception had recently been made possible by a relay translator. 
There are hints in Guillet's early monthly reports that more than Navajo relations had suffered during the months preceding his return. For February he reported merely that "a great deal has been accomplished in generally improving the administration of the area, particularly as related to improved relations with the Navajo Tribe and others." 
His monthly report for March was somewhat more explicit:
He was allowed the increase in maintenance personnel, thus doubling his force, and also secured a promotion for David Gorman. For April he mentioned the "continued improvement of administrative control and training of employees." 
In all this there is a strong implication that Berger, frustrated in his efforts to maintain good relations with the Navajos and unable to understand why he failed, had become so discouraged that other aspects of management had also suffered.
There was little that Guillet could do for relations at the tribal level at first. In an upset election Raymond Nakai had recently replaced Paul Jones as tribal chairman and it would take some time for the new administration to become settled, particularly since many of the old delegates to the tribal council had been reelected and were expected to oppose great changes. Guillet felt that it would be well to wait until the political situation stabilized before approaching tribal officials. 
In the meantime he reestablished his friendships with the Navajos he had known before and made a horseback trip up del Muerto to assess wind damage to homes and irrigation ditches by a recent storm. 
There was very little that happened at the monument that did not affect the local Navajos in one way or another, however, and Guillet turned his attention to building rapport at the grass-roots level.
An interagency cleanup campaign was initiated in February. Guillet did not assume that merely because the local Bureau and Navajo agencies were involved he would automatically have cooperation from local Navajo residents. Before attempting to clear the rim of old car bodies and other trash, he got permission from the people living along the rim drive.  By the following month he was able to report success:
The reorganization of the interpretive program reflects his imagination in taking Navajo matters into consideration in all facets of his administration while trying to improve services to the general public. Expansion of services included assigning a ranger to guide tours of the canyons for visitors who came in their own 4-wheel-drive vehicles and initiating interpretive talks on the rim. The interpretive staff was also given the job of training drivers for the Thunderbird tours and the local Navajos who served as guides for parties entering the canyons by foot, horseback, and wagon. It was even proposed that campfire talks be given in both English and Navajo. Guest speakers, including Navajo tribal rangers, would be invited to participate in evening programs.  A special permit was instituted to better control travel within the canyons.  The regional office, however, felt that the continued requirement of a permit for this purpose would necessitate a change in the established regulations.  Guillet explained his reasons for instituting the procedure and apparently continued to use the permit system. As he described the situation,
His arguments were convincing, and so the regional director recommended changing the regulations.  Whether further action was taken is not known. The only formal visitor complainta very mild oneto this increased vigilance came from John W. Kennedy, an Indian trader in Gallup, and Guillet was able to explain his need for new restrictions to this longtime friend with little difficulty, noting that
A report on illegal digging for archeological relics had been received from De Harport, and Guillet requested information on the problem from the canyon residents. He thought De Harport's allegations exaggerated, but conceded that there was some basis for concern.  In April Guillet and Cook had accompanied De Harport on tours of Canyon de Chelly and del Muerto as well as of the Hosbidibito outside the monument to investigate "possible violations of the Antiquities Act." The result of this inspection was an effort by the Bureau and the tribe to have a United States commissioner assigned to the reservation to try violations of Federal laws.  This effort was not successful, although Guillet supported the idea in various later reports. To further control travel within the canyons, daily patrols were instituted. 
The empty parking lot next to the site of the planned visitor center was apparently a natural place for the tourists to congregate. Guillet obtained a trailer, which he parked there as a contact station so that all visitors could be given orientation. 
All of these initial innovations showed early signs of success. New markers were needed to inform the visitors. The trailer station not only gave Archeologist Archer W. Stewart more space for his work, but met the need for better contact with visitors. The patrols did bring about a reduction in uncontrolled entry into the canyons. Guillet and Cook joined with Tribal Ranger Larry Benally in presenting a program to the local PTA explaining the new policies. It was so well received that they were asked to repeat the performance in the fall. 
Most dramatic of the changes was that made in personnel policies. Guillet made a real effort to hire Navajos not only in maintenance positions, but also as rangers. The first to enter on duty was Seasonal Ranger Jimmy Begaye on April 30.  In June he was able to add Shirley Sells and Leon Shirley to the seasonal staff of rangers and hire Helen Draper as seasonal clerk-typist. 
A new tribal program gave him further opportunity to expand Navajo representation: This was a student trainee program by which the tribe hired college students and assigned them to work in tribal and governmental agencies that requested them.  Through this program he hired Frank Pablo in accordance with a letter of agreement negotiated between the Park Service and the Tribal Division of Personnel on June 21. 
Guillet also initiated a thorough training program for all personnel, both white and Navajo, which gave special attention to Indian affairs.  With this increased staff, Guillet was able to offer additional interpretive services as visitation increased. On June 22 a ranger was stationed at White House to meet tourists who hiked to that point. At first this was done on an experimental basis, but was received so favorably that it became a regular feature whenever manpower was available and visitation warranted it. Seasonal personnel were also assigned to accompany parties on extended (apparently overnight) trips into the canyons. Regular programs were not neglected and campfire talks were given every evening. 
When Supervisory Park Ranger Roy Rainey resigned in July, Leon Shirley was assigned his duties in an acting capacity and performed very well. 
In August a new overlook was established on the south rim at White Sands by grading a new access road and parking area. 
The success of Guillet's efforts in hiring young Navajos in interpretive positions is best attested by Regional Archeologist Charlie Steen's observations resulting from a visit to the canyon in August:
Archeologist Stewart had much to do, but one job required a considerable portion of his time, although travel restrictions limited what he could accomplish.  This involved assisting in the preparation of exhibits for the future visitor center. Early in the year Steen had gone to Boulder to select items from the Morris Collections at the University of Colorado Museum that would be included in these exhibits. In May, Joe Ben Wheat issued thesea dozen artifacts, including perishable specimens of wood and fiber as well as pottery, stone, and shell specimenson indefinite loan to the monument, shipping them to the Park Services's western museum laboratory in San Francisco, where the exhibits were being prepared.  Jenkins requested that the area send him up-to-date reference materials on the Navajos for use in exhibit preparation,  and so he was sent the last issue of the Navajo Yearbook on loan. Guillet had requested further material from the tribe, but when it was not provided he judged the political scene at Window Rock was still too unsettled, and decided not to push the request. 
Stewart's duties in this regard were next devoted to a search for the photographs needed by the museum laboratory.  In this he had some success, but by October the work had lagged so that Supervisory Ranger Franklin Wallace, who had replaced Rainey, was given a week free of all other duties in order to acquire the remainder.  The laboratory was having difficulties with the Anasazi exhibits and various changes were suggested.  While on annual leave Stewart visited the laboratory and discovered that changes had been made in exhibits and texts without informing the area staff, and so he obtained copies for Guillet. 
Additional work to expand the interpretive program was apparently being accomplished in the regional office where, it was reported, an area history handbook was to be "reworked." The monument lacked any copy of this manuscript or knowledge of it, but suggested that a manuscript entitled "Anasazi, Din'ne, Bellicanah," by Wesley Hurt, Jr., and James Spuhler, might serve the purpose if properly edited.  Little seems to have come of this project at this time, however.
A completely new element in visitor handling resulted from building the Tsaile Dam on the headwaters of Canyon del Muerto. Guillet reported briefly on the matter in June:
The dam was completed about July 1. A large part of the lake was within the monument boundary, but its construction was done by the Bureau and the tribe, the Park Service having no jurisdiction over any aspect of the lake. The lake was well stocked with trout and the tribe was publicizing it in an effort to develop the area for tourists.  Guillet reported increased use of the rim areas of the upper portions of the canyons by July because of the lakes, implying that Wheatfields Lake, outside the monument boundaries, was also a factor.  Early in August a complaint was received from Navajo farmers in "the canyon" that "large cottonwoods were drawing moisture from their farm lands," and thinning was recommended to reduce the ground moisture loss.  The report does not specify which canyon was involved, but it seems a reasonable assumption that if it were del Muerto the major cause might well have been the interference with the normal flow of water by the new dam rather than transpiration by the trees, although reduction of the canyon vegetation probably alleviated the situation somewhat.
By August the monument staff was giving serious thought to the problems posed by the growing visitation at the upper ends of the canyons. It was concluded that rangers would be required at Tsaile Lake and upper Canyon de Chelly in 1964, and two trailers were requested to make this feasible. While ultimate establishment of districts within the monument was contemplated in the master plan, events were moving too rapidly to permit a delay.  Shortly after this an inspection report by Charlie Steen supported the recommendation:
In September the monument still reported that the Park Service was not involved in any aspect of the activities at Tsaile Lake.  Just after the end of the year Guillet's summary of the matter as it then stood appeared in an "Annual Fishery Resources Report-1963":
The growth of the Chinle community was also a subject of concern, although it was not yet an immediate problem. In June Guillet mentioned in connection with "Tribal relations" that
Enthusiasm at Window Rock and locally at least among whites apparently ran high, for Steen, in his investigation report in August, said that a new town, "Chinle City:" was being developed, which would include "a large tourist center."  Cook's duties in this regard seem to have brought him more in contact with Bureau personnel, such as Chinle Subagency Superintendent Krause, and potential investors, including Del Webb Enterprises, which was contemplating building a "super deluxe motel," than with local Navajos.  It was reported that Sam Day III had "purchased" the surface use of 6-1/2 acres of the grazing allotment of Anson Bahe Benally (Anson Bahe) for the site of a service station,  but in general local Navajo involvement in these plans seems to have been minimal.
Guillet waited until May 6 to write Nakai and attempt to establish a working relationship with the new tribal administration, explaining that he realized that he (Nakai) had been busy with his new responsibilities, and asking for an appointment with him.  The meeting was delayed, but the Navajo Tribal Parks Commission, under Chairman Sam Day III, visited the park and was given a tour of the canyons and of Navajo National Monument by Guillet and Cook, and Park Service programs and policies were explained. Guillet believed that this resulted in "a definite change in their general attitude toward the National Park Service." 
Guillet also worked with Day on plans for the development of the Manuelito area as a park under the tribe's supervision.  It was not until October 8 that Guillet was actually able to meet with the chairman himself, and the meeting served to accomplish little more than allowing the two men to become acquainted. Political turmoil within the tribe reached a peak when Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall suspended the tribal attorney Norman Littell, and the Bureau seized some tribal records in the same month.  This was followed by a court injunction obtained by Littell, and Nakai's issuing of a "white paper" to explain his actions against the attorney. Despite the furor, Guillet was able to arrange for a meeting, tentatively scheduled for the following year, which would bring together the Service, Bureau, and tribal officials. 
In the meantime many more routine affairs needed and received attention. When Chauncey Neboyia applied for permission to dig a well on his farm in the canyon, Guillet wrote the tribal water development office that
Regulation of the concession operation at the Thunderbird Ranch continued under split jurisdiction. In April Marlow Glenn, regional chief of concessions management, conducted an inspection of the establishment with Guillet. He reported, erroneously, that prices at the trading post were regulated by the tribe, apparently due to confusion regarding tribal and Bureau roles. His primary concern was the inspection of a new 12-unit motel site. He found some discrepancies between prices charged and the approved schedule for the tourist services, for which he initiated corrective measures. Otherwise he was well satisfied with what he found and believed the La Fonts to be "eager to acquaint themselves with the Service's policies and abide thereby."  The amendments to the rate schedule were approved without difficulty, construction of the new motel proceded rapidly, and business was booming.  Cook's annual fire hazard inspection found that the former poor practices at the concession buildings had been largely corrected, and he complimented the La Fonts on their improvements. 
Thunderbird Ranch was getting its water from the Bureau, and with meters recently installed, would be charged for full use, which was estimated to run about 2,050,000 gallons once the new motel was in operation. La Font began to consider drilling his own well, but Guillet believed that when he figured the costs he would not do so.  La Font did go ahead with his plan and submitted a request for permission to put in his own water system. Guillet phoned the regional office to inquire about it on September 8. He received a reply shortly that the proposal was not approved. Besides stating that they considered the existing rates reasonable and the supply ample, the region made three other points: (1) La Font would still have to pay for sewage disposal, which was a part of the charge for water; (2) his well would be the property of the Federal Government; and (3) the tendency of such a project to give a concessioner a proprietary interest made strong justification necessary before approval would be given. 
The tourist season was not far advanced when a complaint was lodged against La Font's operation pertaining to the hours that the dining facilities were open, the prices charged for "junk" curios, and the cost of tours up the canyon bottoms.  The regional director suggested that a graduated rate scale based on the number of passengers for the jeep tours might help avoid repetitions of the complaint regarding canyon trips.  Cook found this suggestion reasonable and defended Thunderbird policies in the other matters. He concluded by stating that the concessioner was not without faults, but that the complaints in question were unjustified. 
The new motel was completed in July and the Thunderbird enjoyed a profitable year.  Offsetting the one formal complaint were the lithographs sent as tokens of thanks to both the concessioners and the National Park Service by a visiting artist, who had found everything he encountered at the monument especially good. 
Maintenance and construction activities continued, although it was difficult to keep up with the work load imposed by the heavy visitation. Cleaning of the campground was especially burdensome, and the repairing of wear and tear on easel exhibits at the overlooks had to be postponed until after travel slackened.  Gorman was in charge of the maintenance program and his work was highly praised, the difficulties encountered being duly recognized. 
Work on trails received special attention, which was gratifying to both Navajo residents and tourists. White House Trail was rehabilitated and work was also begun on Twin Trails. 
The major project initiated was the construction of the visitor center and another residence. An advertisement for bids was released June 3.  No bids were received, however, and it was decided to remove the restriction limiting bidders to "small businesses" in hopes that a large contractor then doing work at Chinle would submit a bid. 
The completion of Navajo Route 1, The Navajo Trail, and the opening of an all-weather road to the north, plus tribal plans in the tourist industry, caused concern on Guillet's part because of the effect the delays and the cancellation of all construction for Fiscal Year 1965 might have on tribal relations. He wrote
The rapidly increasing visitation and slow progress brought strong criticism from Guillet, who wrote early in October:
The contract was awarded that month to the Flaugh-Slavens Company of Cortez, Colorado, not to the large contractor originally contemplated, and ground was finally broken on October 22.  Good weather continued into November and the work proceeded well. 
The soil and moisture program was also continued in the spring with the planting of 5,000 additional cuttings and the trimming of trees, whose brush was piled on new spider jetties.  The work continued to be done under the old agreement with the Bureau.  Other accomplishments under this program were the building of an erosion control dam at the head of Twin Trails and of 147 jetties protecting about 900 feet of stream bank. 
Protection became most urgent in the late afternoon of June 17 when the Navajo tribal forester in Window Rock called in to report a fire in the canyon. Guillet and Cook scouted the area and found the fire at Mule Trail. An initial force of five men, including Cook as fire boss, traveled up the canyon floor 14 miles and then hiked 3 miles to reach the blaze, which was so large that they sent for help. Dan Carroll brought equipment in by packhorse the next morning and was immediately added to the crew, although the fire had been brought under some control during the night. The reinforcements led by Ranger Rainey did not arrive until mid-morning, but the combined crews were able to control the fire by noon. The Bureau was not represented until a half hour later when William Ashley showed up with food for a 20-man, mop-up crew. The crew never did appear but the Park Service crews enjoyed a meal at Bureau expense. The men continued work until 6:00 P.M., June 20, when the fire was fully extinguished. As a result of this experience the area personnel thought that the agreement with the Bureau for fighting fires should be renegotiated. 
Wildlife control was performed by tribal employees. Two beavers doing extensive damage in the upper part of Canyon del Muerto were caught and transplanted to a remote mountain area. Bobcats bothering sheep in the same canyon also received tribal attention, but the trapper was unsuccessful.  An all-out effort by the Bureau, the Public Health Service, the tribe, and the public school district to round up stray dogs both inside and outside the monument received Park Service assistance, the dogs not faring as well as the bobcats. 
Pure research activity was limited to a visit by Roy L. Carison of the University of Colorado museum, who took photographs and made notes for use in the preparation of a report on Earl Morris's earlier work in the canyons.  Stabilization at Mummy Cave, however, begun on August 1 by Archeologists Richert and Voll, resulted not only in further repair and protection of the ruins, but in new archeological observations, including the finding of prayersticks in the tower.  Steen visited, the job and reported their work "first rate," but he believed that more extensive stabilization was required.  The work was finished on September 2.  Damage by livestock was reported by Richert and was again noted in November, indicating the need for a fence. 
A final note on the events of the year should be on the apparent ability of the new ranger, Franklin Wallace, to get along with the local Navajos. Without specifying what was involved, Guillet in November praised him for handling with firmness and tack "situations which could have become unpleasant."  Later duties did definitely involve the Navajos, however, when he assisted two members of the Navajo Tribal Police investigating the shooting of three cows in Canyon de Chelly. 
The next year, 1964, brought greater involvement by Guillet in Navajo relations at the tribal level, but continual dissension within the tribal council and between the Secretary of the Interior and the tribal attorney hindered real progress on any of the more controversial issues facing the Service. 
Guillet's duties brought him a wide variety of matters for consideration. Early in the year he was asked to review plans for exhibits for a visitor center museum at Wupatki, and found it necessary to recommend changes that would prevent the Park Service from being suspect as taking sides in the conflicting land claims of the Navajos and Hopis. 
By the end of January he had completed arrangements for the meeting with tribal officials to explain Park Service policies. His programming suggests the source of some problems in tribal relations:
No report on the outcome of this meeting has been located, but the results were probably limited if the degree of Navajo participation in the master planning field study conducted from March 9 to 20 is any indication. The only Navajo participant and only representative of the tribe to take a significant part was Sam Day III, chairman of the Navajo Tribal Parks Commission. Bureau representation was considerably better, four delegates being present.  Despite the failure of tribal representatives to take a greater part in the planning process, tribal interests were not slighted, Sanford Hill noting that:
Beard's hopes were not without foundation. Guillet's concerns, however, were more immediate and he continued to advocate developing the monument along lines that would impress the Navajos with what the National Park Service could do and the benefits of having the area under its administration. He also believed that the tribal park system was providing a good channel for communication at the tribal level through the National Park System's role as advisor, a role that he felt would become more important as time passed.
Implementation of Guillet's ideas was hindered by financial constraints. The most urgent need, a bridge across the wash at the mouth of the canyon, had been postponed and only through personal contact with the director at a cocktail party at Grand Canyon was he able to expedite the project. There were several reasons why this bridge had high priority, according to Guillet.
He gave further justification for the need to assign priorities to planned programs 2 days later:
While these last arguments were quite reasonable, they imply events that it should be noted did not necessarily happen. The stationing of a ranger at Tsaile Lake had to be postponed another year, probably due to lack of adequate staffing. The promise to build the bridge at the time of the establishment of the monument is a more uncertain matter. Nothing to this effect appears in the contemporary documentation of the 1920s and 1930s, but the full extent of verbal commitments made by various Park Service and Bureau officials at that time is far from clear in the records of the period. It is most probable that Guillet received his information in this regard from local Navajos. While a commitment to build a bridge at that time seems rather improbable, it may well have been made, and the reliability of Guillet's source must be left to his judgement in the absence of more detailed data.
Last Updated: 08-Mar-2004