The Navajo Indians

Topics: Navajo people, Burial, Navajo Nation Pages: 6 (2376 words) Published: September 23, 2011
The Navajo Indians are the largest Native group in North America. They are primarily located in the Southeast Basin, nearby Mexico. Being such a large group of over 250,000 members, covering an area of about 27,000 square miles, they all lived by their beliefs and rituals. Having such strong beliefs made them kind of predictable, not in harm’s way but as to their process of death, ceremonies and burials. The Navajo Indians have a very strong beliefs that were passed down from there ancestors and still they practice them to this day. According to traditional Navajo beliefs, birth, life and death are all part of an ongoing cycle. First, the Navajo burial and funeral rituals follow a certain procedure that they believe, that when a person dies he makes his way to the underworld. This process of burial and funeral rituals is followed attentively because the Navajo people want to ensure that the dead to do not return to world of the living. They are truly scared in the death believe that if the process is not done the right way, that the spirits of the will come back and haunt them.| Basically when a fellow Navajo Indian is about to die, the entire tribe is aware of what is going on, they immediately remove the person to a separate place until he passes away. During this time only family members and the shaman are allowed close to the person. When death was imminent, the person was taken to a separate place until he or she died. If a person passes away in their home, then the dwelling is torn down and destroyed. However, just before the person dies, all but a couple of people leave. The two people who stay back are the closest family members of the person and are those who are most willing to confront the evil spirits. These two men are given the responsibility of preparing the body for the burial. These men do not wear any clothes but rub their entire body with ash as there is a belief among the Navajo that the ash will protect the people from evil spirits. Certain precautions must be taken during the burial process to ensure that they don't return to the world of the living. These visits are to be avoided at all costs, and for this reason, Navajos are very reluctant to look at a dead body. Contact with the body is limited to only a few individuals. Once the body is buried, the four men ensure that all footprints are wiped clean and the tool used for digging the grave is destroyed. This sounds weird to a normal person like me but as crazy as it sounds it is actuality their beliefs are like most of our beliefs just in a different manner. Having a Latin heritage background, our process is quite familiar but at the same time we don’t take it that extreme. Latinos believe more that the body should receive its respect and its viewing as well, so that living can say there final goodbyes.. Latinos don’t believe all that mumbo jumbo regarding the spirits will return back to you, I believe that once you are dead you soul go’s to its proper resting spot. When it comes to Navajo burial and funeral rituals, you will not see much crying because the Navajo people believe that showing too many emotions will hinder the journey of the spirit to the underworld. The Navajo Indians didn’t show any emotions because of their beliefs, but we all know how hard it is to lose a loved one. It’s human nature to show how we feel about anything especially in this type of situation. With that in mind, Latinos really know how to show the emotions in this type of situation. For instance, when my grandmother passed away I cried like a baby and so did the rest of my family. Having that feeling of emptiness inside you must be horrible, but the real bad part of it is that all those emotions that you ball up inside are going to come out when day, and it won’t be pretty. Next, Navajo burial customs reflect the ancient traditions that death itself is not something to be feared. Instead, these people feared that the deceased would return to visit the living....
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