Navajo people use the name Diné to describe themselves. The Bureau of Land Management area with Navajo defensive sites is called the Dinétah by archaeologists. In the Diné language, Dinétah refers more precisely to the tribe’s place of emergence, near a lake in southwestern Colorado, and to their homeland.

Archaeologists originally dubbed the defensive sites pueblitos, Spanish for “little pueblos,” because they wrongly believed Ancestral Puebloans had built them. Many Diné prefer to call them defensive sites, but the tribe’s cultural specialist, Timothy C. Begay, notes that using pueblitos underscores the tribe’s oral history, which contends that before the rise of Chaco, all Four Corners tribes were one people.

Pueblo people use the term Ancestral Puebloans when speaking about their forebears. Diné use Anasazi, which means “ancient enemy.” The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, in Albuquerque, has an informative essay about both terms. Find it at

Salmon Ruins Museum was named for pioneer Peter Milton Salmon, who pronounced his name “saul-mun.”

Read more: Try these tips for a rewarding journey into ancient lives.