The Navajo People
Instructor Megan Douglas
November 19, 2012
The Navajo People
The Navajo or Dine, creation is the story of their origin through a series of emergence through a series of different colored worlds. The Navajo people were hunters and gathers that began herding sheep and goats as a main source of trade and food with meat with the influence of Pueblos and the Spanish. The Navajo were largely hunters and gatherers, until they had contact with Pueblos and the Spanish. The tribe adopted crop farming techniques from the Pueblo peoples, growing mainly corn, beans, and squash. The Navajo people began herding sheep and goats as a main source of trade and food with meat. The Navajo or DINE', creation is the story of their origin through a series of emergences through a series of different colored worlds. (Navajo People) The Navajo preferred to live a pastoral lifestyle unlike many other tribes. The Navajo lived in the northern parts of Arizona and New Mexico. The Navajo were very strong in culture and tradition, keeping rituals and ceremonies maintained. The name “Navajo” comes from the late 18th century via the Spanish (Apaches de) Navajo which was derived from the Tewa navahū which means fields adjoining a ravine. The Navajo call themselves Dine, which means "the people". The beliefs of The Navajo people are passed down from generation to generation. The Navajo speak of Na-Dené Southern Athabaskan languages also known as Dine bizzad or people speech. They are comprised of two geographic and similar intelligible dialects said to be closely related to the Apache language. The Navajo and Apache are believed to have migrated from Northwest Canada and Eastern Alaska; this is where the majority of Athabaskan speakers live. The Navajo people believed they passed through three different worlds before emerging into this world. The gods created the four sacred mountains--Blanca Peak and Hesperus Peak in Colorado, Mount Taylor in New Mexico, and the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona--preparing them as supernatural boundaries within which all was safe and protected. (McPherson, R., 1998) The gods also made four rives, one being the San Juan. These were created to help as guardians of defense for the Navajo people. The rivers were not only clear boundaries lines for the Navajo and Ute territories it was also key to the role in Navajo chantway myths. The Navajo believe there are two classes of beings: the Earth People and the Holy People. The Navajos believe that the Holy People, who originated with First Man and First Woman, made baskets for ceremonial purposes. (Natani, L. & Natani, S., 2002) Each part of the basket has a special significance. Today, apart from their ceremonial usage, Navajos also use baskets as household displays. The weaving of Navajo rugs are known throughout the world not only for its beautiful qualities but also the unique and stylistic changes. The Navajo women believe that the art of weaving was taught to them by the Spider Woman. The Spider Woman constructed a loom according to the directions given by the Holy People. When suffering from illness or injury, Navajos traditionally seek a medicine man for healing or a Hatałii, before turning to any type of Western medicine. The medicine man will use several methods to diagnose the patient's ailments such as special tools like crystal rocks, chanting prayers and hand-trembling. The medicine man chooses a specific healing chant for that type of ailment. The medicine man may give advice, such as avoiding certain animals, personal contact, and certain foods for a period of time. The Navajo have more than fifty different kinds of ceremonies that are performed at various times for specific reasons. There are some ceremonies that can last a few hours to several hours while other ceremonies can last a day to possibly nine days. The Navajo people and economic organization within the tribe was dependent on two primary...
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