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Honoring Tadidinii: A New Navajo Film Celebrates the Legendary Diné Folk Hero in Antelope Canyon

Coverage of indigenous natural resources is partially funded by the Catena Foundation.

Cardiac Canyon, which extends for 2.5 miles, is a section of Antelope Canyon near Page.

During the Long Walk between 1863 and 1866, over 10,000 Diné individuals were forcibly relocated from their Arizona homelands to Bosque Redondo, a million-acre reservation at Fort Sumner in New Mexico.

Despite the hardships, some sought sanctuary.

Logan Tsinigine, the Chief Financial Officer of Taadidiin Tours, reflected on the historical significance of Cardiac Canyon as a refuge during that tumultuous period. He highlighted its depth and length, emphasizing its suitability for habitation in challenging times.

Tsinigine transitioned from his role as a senior reliability engineer at the now-defunct Navajo Generating Station in Page to leading tours in the scenic Antelope Canyon, a shift necessitated by changing economic landscapes.

Taadidiin Tours, one of the few authorized operators guiding visitors through Antelope Canyon, is a family endeavor that delves into the ancestral past of Tsinigine. The story of his great-great grandfather, Tadidinii, was unveiled through a documentary premiered at the Phoenix Film Festival.

The film sheds light on the harrowing experiences of forced displacement and the enduring legacy of resilience within the Navajo community. It portrays Tadidinii as a larger-than-life figure who defied the odds during a dark chapter in history.

Tadidinii’s strategic hideouts in the labyrinthine Cardiac Canyon played a pivotal role in his survival during the Long Walk, showcasing his resourcefulness and fortitude.

Following the signing of the Navajo Treaty in 1868, Tadidinii welcomed his people back to Antelope Canyon, symbolizing hope and compassion by sharing his resources, including a flock of sheep.

The Tadytin family’s legacy of stewardship and adaptation, exemplified by the construction of essential infrastructure like stone dams to collect rainwater, continues to resonate through Taadidiin Tours.

The enduring connection to the land and ancestral teachings of Tadidinii drive the mission of Taadidiin Tours, preserving cultural heritage and sharing untold stories with visitors.

Through poignant narratives and historical revelations, the documentary underscores the importance of honoring indigenous stories and reclaiming narratives misrepresented in mainstream accounts.

The sacredness of sites like Antelope Canyon is emphasized, serving as spiritual sanctuaries that demand reverence and respect from visitors, akin to places of worship in other traditions.

As the documentary unfolds, it illuminates the resilience and wisdom passed down through generations, embodied by descendants like Rita Tadytin-Tsinigine and Logan Tsinigine, who embody the spirit of their illustrious ancestor, Tadidinii.