Saturday, June 16, 2012

Saturday Snapshot


Saturday Snapshots is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books.

The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states.
One of the specialties in this area is Indian fry bread, a tradition to the Navajo. I have eaten it several times and just love it.
The Navajo planters lived from the earth as their ancestors had for hundreds of years before. They also raised livestock to feed their family. The Navajo dinetah (or homeland) was bordered by the four sacred mountains, from northeastern Arizona, western New Mexico, and north into Utah and Colorado. They planted crops in the fertile valley lands, such as Canyon de Chelly known for Ansazi ruins.
The Navajo traded with the Spanish, Mexican, Pueblos, Apache, Comanche ,and even the early American pioneers. Around 1846, large numbers of pioneers moved into the area and the cavalry came with them. This is when troubles began.  The troubles escalated with the murder or Narbona (1766-1849), a well-respected Navajo leader on August 31, 1849. 
On this day, Narbona along with several hundred of his warriors, had come to meet and discuss peace with U.S. Colonel John M. Washington and others of the military stationed in the area. There had been trouble with the “New Men”, the New Mexican settlers who had driven Mexican settlers out of the area.
After several hours, it was believed a settlement had been agreed upon. However, a young warrior by the name of Sadoval, had plans of his own.  Mounting his horse he began to ride in front of the Navajo party, attempting to have them break the treaty.  A U.S. Calvary soldier began to say that one of the horses ridden by a Navajo was his, and what peace there was in the meeting that was disintegrating into battle. 
Colonel Washington commanded the Navajo to stand down and return the horse to the soldier or he would fire into them. The rider and horse were now gone, and the Navajo party did not comply.  A canon was fired, and Narbona was mortally wounded.  It is told that he was scalped by a U.S. soldier as he lay dying. 
This disastrous attempt at peace led to the “Long Walks”. In September 1863, Kit Carson (1809-1868) was dispatched into Navajo land to retrieve a surrender. When no Navajo came to meet with him, he ordered the burning of the land. Attempts were made to starve out the Navajo, and many were captured and taken to Bosque Redondo near Fort Sumner. Hundreds starved on the 300 mile walk, and more would die later in the crowded and disparaging conditions. Navajo were placed with the Mescalero Apache were home peace was often not the case. The camps were meant for 4,000 to 5,000 people, yet there were now over 9,000 people, and supplies were meager.
The government supplies of lard, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder or yeast, and powdered milk were often rancid. Fry bread came from these few foods provided during the 4 years of captivity.  Since that time, it has become common food at most all PowWows of numerous tribes
To some, Indian Fry Bread is a sacred tradition. It is to be consumed by the people until the earth has again become purified. 

Navajo Fry Bread Recipe - Indian Fry Bread Recipeby Cynthia 

Fry bread is wonderfully lumpy (puffed here and there). It can be served as a dessert or used as a main dish bread. Our family will often take them and stuff them, much like one might use bread or tortilla to dip into their food.

Recipe Type: Quick Bread, Native American
Yields: makes 4
Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 8 min

1 cup unbleached flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered milk1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup waterVegetable oil for frying

Sift together the flour, salt, powdered milk, and baking powder into a large bowl. Pour the water over the flour mixture all at once and stir the dough with a fork until it starts to form one big clump.

Flour your hands. Using your hands, begin to mix the dough, trying to get all the flour into the mixture to form a ball. NOTE: You want to mix this well, but you do NOT want to knead it. Kneading it will make for a heavy Fry Bread when cooked. The inside of the dough ball should still be sticky after it is formed, while the outside will be well floured.

Cut the dough into four (4) pieces. Using your floured hands, shape, stretch, pat, and form a disk of about 5 to 7 inches in diameter. NOTE: Don’t worry about it being round. As Grandma Felipa would say “it doesn’t roll into your mouth.”

Heat the vegetable oil to about 350 degrees F. NOTE: You can check by either dropping a small piece of dough in the hot oil and seeing if it begins to fry, or by dipping the end of a wooden spoon in and seeing if that bubbles. Your oil should be about 1-inch deep in a large cast-iron skillet or other large fryer.

Take the formed dough and gently place it into the oil, being careful not to splatter the hot oil. Press down on the dough as it fries so the top is submersed into the hot oil. Fry until brown, and then flip to fry the other side. Each side will take about 3 to 4 minutes.

Indian Fry Bread can be kept warm in a 200 degree F. oven for up to 1 hour. They refrigerate well and can be reheated in a 350 degree F. oven for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

In 4 states at once


  1. The fry bread sounds a lot like our johnny cakes here in the Caribbean - same ingredients and preparation though I must say I like mine with some cornmeal in it.

    Heartbreaking, the story of what happened to the native peoples of the Americas. Thanks for the info.

  2. I do love visiting the Southwest, although I've never been to Four Corners.

    While in Arizona one October, we did take a tour that went onto a Navajo reservation, where we enjoyed the wonderfully handcrafted gifts.

    I've never tasted fry does sound wonderful!


  3. I've eatten fry bread but never had a recipe for it before, thanks for sharing. We never made it to the four corners when we lived in the Southwest, love the shot of being in all four at once!

  4. I've head frybread in the southwest, and it was very good. Despite having visited all those four states, I've never been to the four corners. A good excuse for going back to the area.

  5. That looks like quite an adventure.
    Here's Mine

  6. What an interesting--and sad--story. I do love knowing the backgrounds behind things.

  7. Have never been but I don't know's not that far a journey from So Cal.
    Such a sad example of the horrible way this country has treated its native sons and daughters!

  8. The guy was just saying that he wanted to go stand on four states, so he enjoyed looking at your pictures. :)

  9. That was such an interesting post - but how badly the native people were treated, and it seems to be a story repeated all over the world.

  10. How cool! I'd always heard about the four corners but didn't know there was such a monument.

  11. Interesting blog today. Thanks for the history lesson.

  12. I've heard about fry bread before, but I've never had a chance to have any.

    I love the photo in four states at once.

    Here's my Snapshot.

  13. Fry bread sounds intriguing. I love the four states action shot!

  14. I've always wanted to go to four corners, and I know my kids would get a kick out of being in several states at once. :) Fry bread is so good - we used to get it as a treat in grade school (at one very small school I went to for a few years).

  15. A place that I am very familiar with... and now I have a hankering for fry bread!