by Bill Boyle
Out of the Blues
I always thought that Kigalia was a cool word. You see it in several places in San Juan County, most notably in the beautiful Kigalia Canyon and Ranger Station near the Bears Ears.
It is generally easy to determine the source of a place name, just think of our many canyons, including Cottonwood, Dark, Red, Cow, and East canyons. However, the source of Kigalia always threw me off.
When I learned that Kigalia Canyon, near the Bears Ears, is named after Ka’ayelli, a beloved Navajo leader, I thought it could be a great story and asked Maggie Judi to consider it.
After several weeks of research by Maggie, we are printing her story on page 14.
Maggie went through an arduous process to get information about Kigalia. Her struggles finding someone willing to tell the story are an indication of the challenges we face in San Juan County.
Maggie worked hard to convince a few key people to share details about the life of Kigalia. Many people were unwilling to talk, concerned the story would be twisted to pursue a political perspective. That is certainly not our intent.
We hope you enjoy Maggie’s respectful and insightful story about this remarkable man.