The Anasazi People

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The Anasazi People
My name is Jean Richard, I am studying Native American history at Humboldt University. Our current research project involves the time period from prehistory to 1860. My team of archeology students set out to learn more about the Anasazi people. The word Anasazi is used to describe a distinctive American Indian civilization and culture that existed from about 1200 B.C. to A.D. 1300 in the Four Corners area of Southwestern United States. Although the name Anasazi has come to mean "ancient people", the word itself is Navajo, meaning "enemy ancestors." Today many Native Americans find the term Anasazi offensive. It's late July and it's about 80 degrees. It's hard to believe that the winters are so harsh here. Anasazi Basketmaker groups, relatives of the cliffdwellers in Colorado, lived in caves and rock overhangs within the canyon walls to protect them from the harsh winters. The Anasazi Basketmaker II era is A.D. 50-500. The bow and arrow has not been discovered and pottery is not being made, only baskets. I came upon one of these baskets made by an Anasazi woman and I pick it up to examine it. As my fingers touch the basket I am taken back to an earlier much simpler time.

It's very cold here in the winter. We live along caves and rock overhangs within canyon walls, preferably facing the south in order to take advantage of the warmth of the sun during the winter. Our houses are circular, about nine feet in diameter. We call them "pithouses," the walls are covered with a wood and mud mortar masonry. We warm them by placing large hot stones in a small central heating-pit. For tribal gatherings we have larger structures 25 – 35 feet which we use for community gatherings or ceremonies. Wasting little of what we have, we use the fur pelts from animals hunted for food or turkey feathers for robes and our feet are protected by sandals made from plant fibers. We wear ornaments made of shell, bone or stone. We grow food mostly corn and...
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