The truth behind a frontier myth in Pagosa Springs

Southwest Life

The truth behind a frontier myth in Pagosa Springs

This pencil drawing of Col. Albert Pfeiffer is in the collection at the Rio Grande County Museum, Del Norte. For all Durangoans traveling to and from Denver, the museum is easy to find, just a block and a half off the highway, and well worth a visit.
Canyon de Chelley National Monument, part of a canyon system in the heart of the Navajo Reservation, is open to tourists via the White House Trail. This traditional hogan and brush arbor or summer house are found along the trail.
After the Long Walk where Navajos were forcibly rounded up by Union soldiers like Col. Albert Pfeiffer, they returned to their homeland at Canyon de Chelley and to sacred sites like Spider Rock. According to Navajo legend, Spider Woman lived atop this sandstone monolith. Here, she taught Navajo women how to weave the rugs and blankets for which the Navajo are famous.
A small sign on U.S. highway 160 points travelers north to Embargo Creek and this larger sign marking Col. Albert Pfeiffer’s grave.
Col. Albert Pfeiffer died at age 59, and according to his obituary, “left his financial affairs in a state of embarrassment having done good service to his country.” His grave, with its white wooden picket fence, has a brass plaque imbedded in local cobblestones.
A Navajo woman embraces a young kid goat from her flock which grazes the bottom of Canyon de Chelley, Arizona. Col. Albert Pfeiffer forced Navajos from their homeland during The Long Walk between 1864-1868. Finally, after signing a treaty at Fort Sumner, the Dine or Navajo were able to return.
The back or yoke of Col. Albert Pfeiffer’s hand-sewn buckskin coat with its buckskin fringe shows elaborate beadwork. Apparently, three similar coats were made – one for Pfeiffer, one for Kit Carson, and one for Don Luis Montoya.
The front of Col. Albert Pfeiffer’s buckskin jacket has careful beadwork, possibly sewn by a Ute artist and craftsperson. In Pfeiffer’s time in the 19th century, Ute women were known for their excellent work tanning and preparing buckskin. Their leatherwork was coveted at trade fairs and shows across the Southwest.

The truth behind a frontier myth in Pagosa Springs

This pencil drawing of Col. Albert Pfeiffer is in the collection at the Rio Grande County Museum, Del Norte. For all Durangoans traveling to and from Denver, the museum is easy to find, just a block and a half off the highway, and well worth a visit.
Canyon de Chelley National Monument, part of a canyon system in the heart of the Navajo Reservation, is open to tourists via the White House Trail. This traditional hogan and brush arbor or summer house are found along the trail.
After the Long Walk where Navajos were forcibly rounded up by Union soldiers like Col. Albert Pfeiffer, they returned to their homeland at Canyon de Chelley and to sacred sites like Spider Rock. According to Navajo legend, Spider Woman lived atop this sandstone monolith. Here, she taught Navajo women how to weave the rugs and blankets for which the Navajo are famous.
A small sign on U.S. highway 160 points travelers north to Embargo Creek and this larger sign marking Col. Albert Pfeiffer’s grave.
Col. Albert Pfeiffer died at age 59, and according to his obituary, “left his financial affairs in a state of embarrassment having done good service to his country.” His grave, with its white wooden picket fence, has a brass plaque imbedded in local cobblestones.
A Navajo woman embraces a young kid goat from her flock which grazes the bottom of Canyon de Chelley, Arizona. Col. Albert Pfeiffer forced Navajos from their homeland during The Long Walk between 1864-1868. Finally, after signing a treaty at Fort Sumner, the Dine or Navajo were able to return.
The back or yoke of Col. Albert Pfeiffer’s hand-sewn buckskin coat with its buckskin fringe shows elaborate beadwork. Apparently, three similar coats were made – one for Pfeiffer, one for Kit Carson, and one for Don Luis Montoya.
The front of Col. Albert Pfeiffer’s buckskin jacket has careful beadwork, possibly sewn by a Ute artist and craftsperson. In Pfeiffer’s time in the 19th century, Ute women were known for their excellent work tanning and preparing buckskin. Their leatherwork was coveted at trade fairs and shows across the Southwest.
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