Celebrating New Mexico Statehood provides access to materials about New Mexico's history and culture. Designed to facilitate research about New Mexico's past, cultural heritage materials from 12 New Mexico institutions are available here for study and research. Materials include photographs, documents, maps, posters, art, music and video. Managed by the University of New Mexico, University Libraries and funded by UNM's Center for Regional Studies, this project is intended to help all New Mexicans learn about and appreciate our past.

This website is an official project of the New Mexico State Centennial, and is funded by the University of New Mexico Libraries and the Center for Regional Studies.

Who is Jim Chee?

Who is Jim Chee? A cop. A Navajo. A scholar. A healer. Unlike Joe Leaphorn, the confident lieutenant who is rational, calculated, and skeptical of traditional Navajo beliefs and spiritual practices, Chee embraces the Navajo way of life and cherishes the sacred knowledge passed on to him by his ancestors. He is more intuitive than Leaphorn, and solves crimes not by relying solely on logical analysis, but on his senses and instincts.

Rug auctions and red chile in Hillerman's PEOPLE OF DARKNESS

In Hillerman’s 1980 novel PEOPLE OF DARKNESS, Jim Chee pursues a lead that takes him to Crownpoint Elementary School, the location of the Crownpoint Navajo Rug Auction. Leaving the parking area, which is full of older Plymouths and Fords, to enter the school’s auditorium, Chee is confronted by the familiar smells “of cooking fry bread, floor wax, blackboard chalk, stewing mutton and red chile, of raw wool, of horses, and of humans.”

Night Skies of Hillerman Country

“Hillerman Country” has long been a familiar term among the digital portal’s fellows, New Mexico residents, and fans all over the world. It evokes the canyons and mesas of the Navajo Reservation and the northwestern New Mexico and northeastern Arizona high desert landscapes, but anyone who has read a Hillerman mystery knows that when the sun goes down on the enchanted terrain a different kind of scenery emerges, one that requires a raising of the gaze upwards.


Subscribe to Celebrating New Mexico Statehood RSS