Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in Arizona has announced that Indian Route 42 will be closed for a minimum of five hours during the upcoming annular Ring of Fire eclipse on October 14th. This closure will affect tour operators, local businesses, visitors, and residents alike. However, only a select few staff members who have converted to Christianity will be working during this time to enforce the park closure.
While tour operators who have already booked for that day will be allowed through, they will not have access to parking facilities and the visitors center will be closed. Additionally, schools on the reservation will also be closed in observance of this significant event.
The decision to implement the closure is in accordance with the tribal and cultural protocols surrounding the eclipse. According to Navajo tradition, an eclipse is considered a time of renewal and reflection, rather than a spectacle. Therefore, certain customs must be followed during this time. It is customary to abstain from eating, drinking, and being intimate with a partner. Looking directly at the eclipse is also strictly prohibited, and all activities within the park will come to a halt.
The annular solar eclipse holds great significance in the Navajo creation story, making it an important event for the community to honor and respect. This will be the last annular solar eclipse visible in the United States until June 21, 2039. While a total eclipse is set to occur in April 2024, unfortunately, it will not be visible in the West.
As the closure of Indian Route 42 and the suspension of park activities during the annular eclipse approaches, the Navajo Tribal Park authorities urge visitors and residents to fully comply with the closure and respect the cultural significance of this celestial occurrence.
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