Navajo

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Life of a Navajo

Adrianna J. George

ANT 101

Professor Creasy
March 4, 2013

Life of a Navajo

The historic society of the Navajo is traced back to Canada around 1000 A.D. The Navajos also known as Dine are known to reside through the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. They are known to be Pastoralists. There are many beliefs that differ from the traditional American culture in the United States. Women and men play a different role, but stick together in order to defend their culture and their land throughout history. Family is important to the Navajo culture as many still reside in the same community today. This paper will touch base on the historic and present day Navajo. It will also specify what caused the change within the culture and society. You will learn the strength of the Navajo culture and how the Navajo are proud people who strive to walk a path of peace and harmony but are not afraid to fight for what they believe in. Companionship, respect, deep devotion, love and cooperation are the main characteristics in a Navajo marriage between man and woman. The husband must display the main characteristics towards his wife claiming her as the mother if his children… the one with whom he makes his living with. Marriage is arranged between the families in the culture. After marriage the couples move from the wife’s to the husband home or vice versa. Family values are very important in the Navajo culture. In the past it was known for the Navajo men to have two or more wives at times. Men and women play a role in a marriage as the men are the primarily hunters and warriors while the women did most of the gathering, child care and cooking. A woman is known as the manager of her home and how it functions and maintains the happiness. If a separation between the man and wife, the kids go with the mother. The children receive the property of the parents or the maternal relatives will receive any property that was in the marriage. If the husband brought any property in the marriage it is returned to his relatives. The religion of the Navajo is spiritual Polytheism. The primary god is, “Mother Earth” and “Father Sky”. Their path in life is guided by, “walking in beauty”. They are taught to respect the land and the holy ones. The spirits play a big part in the livelihood of the tribe. The Navajo society is traditionally a matrilineal society. This is primarily due to their religion where their primary deity “Changing Women” or “Mother Earth” has created the guidelines for the roles of women. Women are recognized and can be considered the spiritual leader of the family which is valued greatly among the Navajo. While the men are the political leaders of the tribe the women are the spiritual guides and by that very reason have a huge influence over the decisions made within the tribe and their home. Many Navajos have been converting to Christians throughout the years along with other religions such as Mormon, Catholic, Adventists and Native American church. Many people love to purchase the sand art that the Navajos create for their beauty, although theses paintings are used in healing ceremonies. In the healing ceremonies the paintings are used to tell stories of the holy ones. Medicine men play a big role in the Navajo culture. It is important for the people of the Navajo culture to honor and respect the medicine man because of his knowledge and of the heritage and culture. He is seen as the holder of the truth about the Navajo people. Therefore his importance is due to the preservances he has on the traditions and beliefs of the Navajo culture, not just because he heals the sick and wounded. It is the healer’s responsibility to teach the principles of goodness and prosperity to the people. When a ceremony is called for a medicine man to heal, he tells a story of the people and the beginning of time of the Navajo people. Many questions are answered about life and man’s existence on...
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