"The orthography of Canyon de Chelly (pronounced "de shay") was obtained from Senor Donaciano Vigil, Secretary of the Province of New Spain, who states that it is a word of Indian origin, probably a corruption of the Spanish of the Navajo term or word, "Tse-yi", the Rock Canyon." Gregory. Kit Carson's command had a fight here with Navajos in January 1864."
Barnes, Will C. Arizona Place Names University of Arizona Press. 1997 p. 74-75
On February 14, 1931, a Presidential proclamation created Canyon de Chelly National Monument. This extraordinarily beautiful location was first seen by Lt. James H. Simpson and his party in 1849. It was then a stronghold for Navajo Indians. Still earlier, in 1905, Lt. Antonio Narbona and his Spanish forces battled with Indians in this canyon. The first written description was that by Capt. Alexander William Doniphan, who called the location Canyon de el Challe. Simpson, in conversation with Senor Donaciano Bigil, Secretary of the Provence, learned the Navajo origin of the canyon name. Attempts to understand the Navajo pronunciation and render it in spelling resulted in several names as follows: Canon of Cheille (Kearn, Sept. 5, 1849); Canyon de Chille (Heitman); Canyon Chenelle (Macomb Map 1860); Chelly Canyon, and Cnayon Chennele. In 1932, the USGS eliminated the variant spellings for Canyon de Chelly. During the campaign against the Navajo, a temporary fort was maintained for Federal troops at the mouth of the canyon. In 1863-4, Col. Kit Carson and his men marched the entire length of the canyon and Capt. Albert Pfeiffer traversed Canyon del Muerto from east to west, while Capt. A.B. Carey marched his men from west to east through the main gorge. The result was the ultimate surrender of the Navajo nation.
The canyon contains two notable monoliths associated with Navajo mythology. One, higher than the Washington Monument, is Spider Rock. Here Spider Women retreats and devours unruly children. Their bleaching bones can be seen at the top of this rock.
Barnes, Will C.; Grander, Byrd Howell.Arizonas Names: X Marks the SpotTreasure Chest Publications 1983 p. 139.
Arizona Guide: Canyon de Chelly
National Park Service: Canyon de Chelly
Desert USA Canyon de Chelly
Tsé Yaa Kin : houses beneath the rock : Canyon de Chelly, Navajo
National Monument / [David Grant Noble, editor].
GN1 .E93x 1986
Canyon de Chelly ; its people and rock art / [by] Campbell Grant
E78 .A7 G72
Land of the Navajo: Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly; maps, tour
guide, picture taking guide [by Bob Bradshaw
F817.M6 B7 1965
Archeological investigations at Thunderbird Lodge, Canyon de Chelly,
Arizona / Peter J. McKenna, Scott E. Travis.
Navajo of Canyon de Chelly : in Home God's fields / Rose Houk ; with
primary research by Tracy J. Andrews
E99.N3 H76x 1995