Navajo

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Navajo
The Navajo tribe is the largest Native American group in Arizona. They first descended from the Apaches, who came from the Pueblos, also known as the Anasazi. The Navajo are known for weaving blankets, raising sheep, and generally being a peaceful tribe (Bial). The Navajo has a much grounded belief system, and partake in ritual ceremonies. They had well-kept and sacred beliefs.The Navajo women were primary leaders in society and well respected for their work they performed. They represented themselves with their fine arts, and they possessed many talents. The Navajo had no written language until recently there for there has been many interpreted tales.For hundreds of years the Navajo lived in the Dinetah, which extends over northeastern Arizona and western New Mexico as well as some parts of Utah and Colorado. The Navajo county is marked by deep canyons as well as towering mountains. Their landscape includes pale green sage, greasewood, yucca, and brittle grass. The traditional home land of the Navajo is said to be marked by the direction of the four sacred mountains: Sis Naajini (Blanca Peak) which is in the east, Doo Ko’oosliid(San Francisco Peaks) in the west, Tsodzilh(Mount Taylor) is in the south and Di-be Nitsaa (Hesperus Peak ) in the north. Although the Navajo may not be able to physically see all four peaks from their hogans, they believe in their hearts that from these sacred places come, theplants, animals, and minerals. They also believe not only plants and animals were sacred, but all the rocks and soil were sacred as well. The hogan is the traditional home for the Navajo tribe. The word “hooghan” means “home”. Homes were built of poles, bark, and mud, being approximately twenty-three feet in diameter. The doorway opened to the East, so as the sun can be welcomed and provide light (Bial). The hogan was primarily used to prepare meals, sleep, and provide shelter from rain. They were also used for healing ceremonies and burying the dead, if one died in the home. These homes were recognized as a symbol of goodness and family life (Bial). This later became in being the main topic of spiritual tales. Usually more than one family lived in the Hogan at one time. For example, sometimes the aunts, uncles, and grandparents lived in these hogans. The Navajo also believed that their hogan needed to be a good distance away from another hogan. Today, one can observe ancient hogans in museums of the Navajo.When Navajo men married, they would live in the hogen of the bride’s family and eventually they would get their own hogan. Traditionally, the young man would appear at the girl’s house with a deer slung over his shoulder as a gift for her family. This is a way of showing that he was and will be a good provider (Falkenstien-Doyle). Children are big part of a marriage because it bought about a promise of more children which was highly important amongst the Navajo. Naming a baby was very important part of a child being born and was done by the relatives and tribal leaders, not the parents (inkido.indiana.edu). A young child spent most of its first years strapped to a mother’s back so that her hands are free to gather firewood, cook a meal, or weave a rug, while the baby remained in the cradleboard to look up at the universe (Bial).  When the baby became older the other relatives would watch over the child and begin to teach the child the tribal ways.  The girls would practice preparing food, making pottery, basket weaving, and sewing.  The boys would learn to hunt, make tools and weapons.  After a child would reach puberty, the girls would go off with the women, and the boys would have to pass a test of courage. Women were held with great respect in the Navajo culture due to their responsibility to their tribe.For instance, the girls/woman are the ones who gathered wild plants, seeds and berries to help feed their families (Bial). This was very important because it helped provide herbal...
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