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House of Dawn: Grand Canyon/Navajo Nation


  • Grand Canyon National Park Grand Canyon, Arizona (map)

Overview: This First-year Seminar (CORE 100) will take students to awe-inspiring places, including a hike into the Grand Canyon, as well as hikes through high desert, ponderosa steps and mystical canyons of the Navajo Nation. We visit Pueblo ruins to witness Anasazi life still expressed in ancient dwellings, rituals sites, and petroglyphs. Our Navajo guides will introduce us to the landscape's story by leading us on hikes in Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly to reflect on how the human story is integrated within the life, Earth and Universe stories and, in so doing, emphasize the primary community that brought us into being and, even now, nurtures us in every aspect of human quality of life. This will be followed by a sweat lodge ceremony and a campfire under the starry skies so we may discover that what we do to the other-than-human, we do to the human; that what happens to the outer world, happens to the inner world. 

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

Credits: 3 CORE Credit Hours. CORE 100: "House of Dawn: Navajo Nation and Grand Canyon" (counts as First-year Seminar).

Enrollment: Max 14 | Adventure Level: 1-2

Security Deposit: To secure your spot, a $600 nonrefundable deposit is due by Jan 12, 2018. This deposit is included as part of the Program Fee. Once submitted, it will be deducted from the total Program Fee amount listed below.

Costs: $2,050 All-Inclusive Program Fee. Includes: airfare, lodging, ground transportation, Navajo guide fees, National Park and Navajo Tribal Park access fees, group meals, snacks, beverages, course materials, etc. Tuition costs are absorbed into the full-time tuition for Spring, 2018 Semester. Therefore, participating students must be enrolled as full-time students. This means students must be registered and enrolled in a minimum of 12 credit hours (which would include the 3 credits for this expedition) for Spring Semester 2018. Also, if registering for the 3 credits for this expedition results in the student's course load exceeding 18 hours, then the student will be required to pay the required fees for excessive credit hours as defined by Xavier University's Registrar). NOTE: Program Fee is approximate and projected forward for 2018 based on 2014-2017 fees. This fee may be subjected to a +/-1% change from current price advertised. Security Deposit will be deducted from this Program Fee once submitted.

Where do we go? Region C: Grand Canyon National Park, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Painted Desert, Canyon de Chelly and Pueblo Cliff Dwellings, Navajo Nation, Hopi Nation. To learn more about these places, click here

What will we do? Backcountry hiking; campfire storytelling and stargazing; desert and canyon explorations, Pueblo site visits; Apache, Navajo, Hopi Lifeway lessons, river/creek reflections; 4WD van safaris. To learn more, click here.

What courses are offered?

1.  First-Year Seminar: Navajo Nation and Grand Canyon. Professor: Dr. Leon Chartrand [FYS 100, 3 CORE credits] It's all a question of story. It is essential to consider what American Indian wisdom traditions are telling us about our relationship with the other-than-human, the planet and even the Universe. By emphasizing the wisdom from cosmogonic myths like those from the Navajo, Apache and Hopi,  and by drawing upon the knowledge and wisdom of the evolutionary story--the New Story--we aim to help students rediscover the Earth as our primary reality and the Universe as the only self-referent reality. We aim to help students realize that the Universe community, and in particular, Planet Earth, is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects, and that the human is a special mode of conscious self-awareness through which the Universe itself becomes aware of and celebrates itself. And we aim to facilitate this realization by offering Navajo-guided lessons, discussions and reflections in some of the world's most scenic, colorful, majestic places in the Southwest. Throughout this course, we will explore how Navajo stories and rituals have historically provided a visionary guide, a lifeway, for how to live upon the land in a way that is mutually enhancing for the human and the other-than-human. We will, at the same time, explore how, even today, the landscape itself tells the great story, our story, and how this telling reveals the need for re-envisioning a the functional role of the human with regards to the ecological community. And we hope to conclude that it really is a question of having a story that provides a vision for a new era of human-earth relations, a story that welcomes and listens to Navajo voices.

How do I prepare? | What do I bring?