Post-Pueblo: Navajo History & Culture | Peoples of Mesa Verde
Check out this site for interesting facts and information about the Navajo tribe. were closely integrated into their beliefs, especially in relation to sandpaintings. INTRODUCTION According to the history of the Navajo Tribe, the Holy . The United States conducted peaceful relations with the Navajo for over fifteen years. Navajos and Apaches, as members of the Athapaskan language family, are There then developed a kind of symbiotic relationship in which the Navajo supplied as well as an increasing dependence on a Market economy in which lambs.
It is the largest reservation-based Indian nation within the United Statesboth in land area and population. More thanNavajos live on the 24, square miles of the Navajo Nation. Navajos lived too far from the colonists, who were concentrated in the upper Rio Grande Valley, to be subjected to the disruption of their lives that the Pueblos suffered at the hands of the Spanish.
At times the Navajos were allied with the Spanish against other Indians, principally the Utes; other times the Spanish joined forces with the Utes and fought the Navajos. For the Navajos, the most important by-product of Spanish colonization in New Mexico was the introduction of horses and sheep; the smooth, long-staple, non-oily wool of the Spanish churro sheep would prove ideal for weaving. When the United States claimed that it had acquired an interest in Navajo land by virtue of having won a war with Mexico inthe Navajos were not particularly impressed.
But when the U. Army arrived in force at the conclusion of the American Civil Warmatters took a grim turn for the Navajo. In the army's scorched-earth campaign, led by Colonel Kit Carsonthe Navajo homeland was devastated. Half of the Navajos, demoralized and starving, surrendered to the army and were marched miles to the Bosque Redondo concentration camp on the Pecos River, where many of them died—2, of them in one year alone from smallpox.
After four years of imprisonment they were allowed to return to their homeland innow reduced to one-tenth its original size by treaty that same year. They began rebuilding their lives and their herds, virtually unnoticed in an area that most Americans considered worthless desert wasteland. In both the and census, Arizona and New Mexico ranked third and fourth, respectively, for the largest number of Native American residents within each state. The Navajo Nation comprises approximately 16 million acres, mostly in northeastern Arizona, but including portions of northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah.
It is a land of vast spaces and only a few all-weather roads. Eighty-eight percent of the reservation is without telephone service and many areas do not have electricity. The local unit of Navajo government is called the Chapter. There are more than one hundred Chapter Houses throughout the nation, which serve as local administrative centers for geographical regions.
Before the tribal elections, the tribal council system of government was reorganized into executive, legislative, and judicial branches. In Navajos elected a tribal president for the first time, rather than a tribal chairman. The Navajo reservation, as created by treaty inencompassed only about ten percent of the ancestral Navajo homeland. The land base soon tripled in size, largely by the addition of large blocks of land by executive orders of presidents of the United States during the late nineteenth century, when Americans still considered most of the desert Southwest to be undesirable land.
Dozens of small increments were also added by various methods until the middle of the twentieth century. Navajos of the mids were still adjusting the boundaries of their nation, especially by trading land in an attempt to create contiguous blocks in an area called the Checkerboard, which lies along the eastern boundary of the Navajo Nation.
More than 30, Navajos live in this 7, square-mile area of northwestern New Mexico. They are interspersed with Anglo and New Mexican stock raisers and involved in a nightmare of legal tangles regarding title to the land, where there are 14 different kinds of land ownership. The problems originated in the nineteenth century, when railroad companies were granted rights of way consisting of alternating sections of land.
They were complicated by partial allotments of acre parcels of land to some individual Navajos, the reacquisition of some parcels by the federal government as public domain land, and other factors.
Crownpoint is the home of the Eastern Navajo Agency, the Navajo administrative headquarters for the Checkerboard. As recently as the Navajos were still attempting to consolidate the Checkerboard, exchanging 20, acres in order to achieve 80, acres of consolidation. Canoncito was first settled around Ramah and Alamo had their origins in the late s when some Navajos settled in these areas on their way back toward the Navajo homeland from imprisonment at the U.
Army concentration camp at Bosque Redondo; approximately half the Navajos had been incarcerated there. Ramah is rural and is a bastion of traditional Navajo life. More than 1, Navajos live at Canoncito, which is to the east of Mt. Taylor near the pueblos of Laguna and Isleta, and more than 2, live at Alamo, which is south of the pueblos of Acoma and Laguna.
The Athapaskan language family is one of the most widely dispersed language families in North Americaand most of its members still reside in the far north in Alaska and Canada. Linguists who study changes in language and then estimate how long related languages have been separated have offered the year a. It is clear, however, that the Southwestern Athapaskan did not arrive in the Southwest until at least the end of the fourteenth century. Until that time what is now known as the Navajo homeland was inhabited by one of the most remarkable civilizations of ancient people in North Americathe Ancestral Puebloans.
Ancestral Puebloan ruins are among the most spectacular ruins in North America —especially their elaborate cliff dwellings, such as the ones at Mesa Verde National Park, and such communities as Chaco Canyon, where multistory stone masonry apartment buildings and large underground kivas can still be seen today.
Scholars originally thought that the arrival of the Southern Athapaskan in the Southwest was a factor in the collapse of the Ancestral Puebloan civilization. It is now known that the Ancestral Puebloans expanded to a point where they had stretched the delicate balance of existence in their fragile, arid environment to where it could not withstand the severe, prolonged droughts that occurred at the end of the fourteenth century.
In all likelihood, the Ancestral Puebloans had moved close to the more dependable sources of water along the watershed of the upper Rio Grande River and had reestablished themselves as the Pueblo peoples by the time the Navajos entered the Southwest. The Navajos then claimed this empty land as their own. Until early in the twentieth century Navajos were also able to carry out their traditional way of life and support themselves with their livestock, remaining relatively unnoticed by the dominant culture.
Boarding schools, the proliferation of automobiles and roads, and federal land management policies—especially regarding traditional Navajo grazing practices—have all made the reservation a different place than what it was in the late nineteenth century. As late as paved roads ended at the fringes of the reservation at Shiprock, Cameron, and Window Rock.
Even wagons were not widely used until the early s. Byhowever, almost two-thirds of all Navajo households owned an automobile. Navajos are finding ways to use some changes to support traditional culture, such as the adult education program at Navajo Community College, which assists in teaching the skills that new Navajo medicine men must acquire in order to serve their communities.
Bilingual education programs and broadcast and publishing programs in the Navajo language are also using the tools of change to preserve and strengthen traditional cultural values and language. In an anthropologist interviewed an entire community of several hundred Navajos and could not find even one adult over the age of 35 who had not received traditional medical care from a "singer," a Navajo medicine man called a Hataali.
Today, when a new health care facility is built on the reservation it includes a room for the traditional practice of medicine by members of the Navajo Medicine Man's Association. Virtually all of the 3, Navajos who served in World War II underwent the cleansing of the Enemyway ceremony upon their return from the war.
Native American Indian Culture- Navajo, Apache, and Hopi Indians
There are 24 chantway ceremonies performed by singers. Some last up to nine days and require the assistance of dozens of helpers, especially dancers.
Twelve hundred different sandpainting designs are available to the medicine men for the chantways. Large numbers of Navajos also tend to identify themselves as Christianswith most of them mixing elements of both traditional belief and Christianity. In a survey, between 25 and 50 percent called themselves Christians, the percentage varying widely by region and gender. Twenty-five thousand Navajos belong to the Native American Churchand thousands more attend its peyote ceremonies but do not belong to the church.
In the late s the tribal council approved the religious use of peyote, ending 27 years of persecution. In the church began to spread to the south into the Navajo Nation, and it grew strong among the Navajos in the s.
The dance competition powwow draws dancers from throughout the continent. Other Navajo fairs are also held at other times during the year. All-Indian Rodeos are also popular, as are competition powwows.
Navajos | avesisland.info
Photography and video or tape recording of the ceremonies are not permitted without the express authorization of the healers. Portrait of the Peoples, that "Apache and Navajo song style are similar: Both Apache Crown Dancers and Navajo Yeibichei Night Chant dancers wear masks and sing partially in falsetto or in voices imitating the supernaturals.
Another severe problem is alcoholism. Both of these problems are exacerbated by poverty: Four full-service Indian hospitals are located in northwestern New Mexico.
The one at Gallup is the largest in the region. Indian Health Centers facilities staffed by health professionals, open at least 40 hours per week, and catering to the general public are located at Ft.
In keeping with the recent trend throughout the United States, Navajos are now administering many of their own health care facilities, taking over their operation from the Public Health Service.
Traditional Navajo healers are called Hataali, or "singers". Traditional Navajo medical practice treats the whole person, not just the illness, and is not conducted in isolation but in a ceremony that includes the patient's relatives. The ceremony can last from three to nine days depending upon the illness being treated and the ceremony to be performed.
Illness to the Navajos means that there is disharmony in the universe. Proper order is restored with sand paintings in a cleansing and healing ceremony. There are approximately 1, designs that can be used; most can be created within the size of the average hogan floor, about six feet by six feet, though some are as large as 12 feet in diameter and some as small as one foot in diameter.
The Hataali may have several helpers in the creation of the intricate patterns.
Dancers also assist them. In some ceremonies, such as the nine-day Yei-Bei-Chei, 15 or 16 teams of 11 members each dance throughout the night while the singer and his helpers chant prayers.
When the painting is ready the patient sits in the middle of it. The singer then transforms the orderliness of the painting, symbolic of its cleanliness, goodness, and harmony, into the patient and puts the illness from the patient into the painting. The sand painting is then discarded. Many years of apprenticeship are required to learn the designs of the sand paintings and the songs that accompany them, skills that have been passed down through many generations.
Most Hataali are able to perform only a few of the many ceremonies practiced by the Navajos, because each ceremony takes so long to learn. Sand painting is now also done for commercial purposes at public displays, but the paintings are not the same ones used in the healing rituals. Language The Athapaskan language family has four branches: The Athapaskan language family is one of three families within the Na-Dene language phylum.
The other two, the Tlingit family and the Haida family, are language isolates in the far north, Tlingit in southeast Alaska, and Haida in British Columbia.
Na-Dene is one of the most widely distributed language phyla in North America. The Southwestern Athapaskan language, sometimes called Apachean, has seven dialects: In approximatelyNavajos on the reservation still spoke Navajo fluently.
The Post-Pueblo Period: A.D. 1300 to Late 1700s
Family and Community Dynamics No tribe in North America has been more vigorously studied by anthropologists than the Navajos. When a man marries, he moves into the household of the wife's extended family. The Navajos joke that a Navajo family consists of a grandmother, her married daughters and their husbands, her daughters' children, and an anthropologist.
A Navajo is "born to" the mother's clan and "born for" the father's clan. The importance of clans, the membership of which is dispersed throughout the nation for each clan, has gradually diminished in favor of the increasingly important role of the Chapter House, the significance of which is based on the geographical proximity of its members.
Traditional prohibitions against marrying within one's own clan are beginning to break down. The girl's puberty ceremony, her kinaalda, is a major event in Navajo family life. Navajos maintain strong ties with relatives, even when they leave the reservation. It is not uncommon for Navajos working in urban centers to send money home to relatives. On the reservation, an extended family may have only one wage-earning worker.
Other family members busy themselves with traditional endeavors, from stock tending to weaving. From the late s until the s, the local trading post was the preeminent financial and commercial institution for most Navajos, serving as a local bank where silver and turquoise could be pawneda post office, and a store. One of the most famous, Hubbell's Trading Post, is now a national monument. Traders served the community as interpreters, business managers, funeral directors, grave diggers, and gossip columnists.
The automobile and big discount stores in the urban centers at the fringes of the nation have greatly diminished the role of the trading posts. Navajo silversmithing dates fromwhen a Mexican silversmith arrived at Fort Defiance in what is now Arizona.
The Navajo 'Atsidi Sani learned the craft from him and taught it to others. By several Navajos were working with silver, and by they had begun to combine turquoise with their designs. At the turn of the century the Fred Harvey Company asked Navajo silversmiths to make lighter pieces for the tourist trade and guaranteed them a sales outlet.
Today silversmithing is a widespread craft practiced by many Navajos. Weaving is also an important economic activity throughout the nation. Navajo weaving has undergone many changes in designs. Navajos are continually creating new ones, and various locations within the nation have become famous for particular types of rugs and patterns. Weaving underwent a revival in the s, when Chinle weavers introduced the multicolored Wide Ruins, Crystal, and Pine Springs patterns. The rug weavers auction at Crownpoint is known worldwide.
The number of schools increased greatly after compulsory school attendance was mandated in In a Navajo headman in Utah was imprisoned without trial for a year and a half for speaking out against forced removal of local children to the Shiprock Boarding School. Others were strongly in favor of schools, especially after 19 influential Navajo headmen were exposed to the outside world at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Until Navajo schools were operated by missionaries, who were frequently more interested in attempting to eradicate the Navajo religion, culture, and language than in educating their charges. The establishment of boarding schools far from Navajo homes, subjected Navajo children to the trauma of being removed from their families and their cultures for extended periods of time.
With the adoption of the Reglamento deLieutenant Colonel O'Conor assumed command of the entire northeastern frontier and Spain decided to exterminate the Apaches. The smaller bands were less detectable and more successful at poaching stock and maintaining exchange ties in Spanish towns.
Gancio was openly frustrated in Coahuila because the Lipans who lived in the region remained peaceful and could not legally be punished without evidence of their guilt. The poaching and raiding and the diversity of the groups that did it had reached such a point by the s that the term "Lipan" ceased to have much meaning. Joe had been baptized at San Pedro de Gigedo in northern Coahuila and taken by the Lipans in a raid when he was about seven years old.
He spoke Spanish fluently. Later, as a leader of a small Lipan band, he cultivated good relations with the Spanish and often exchanged goods in Spanish towns. When necessary his people quietly poached livestock for food. Just as frequently they approached San Juan as peaceful friends, anticipating a warm welcome. He saw little in the exchanges that benefited the Spanish Crown.
Few of the goods brought in by the Apaches could be carried south to markets in Mexico; most consisted of consumer goods for which market value could not easily be determined. Nevertheless, the Apache offering of dried buffalo or horse meat, hides, tallow, and salt for corn, tobacco, bridles, and a few munitions had become important to the vecinos of San Juan Bautista.
Navajo - History and Cultural Relations
These exchanges also worked to create regional alliances, since the people involved pledged to look out for each other's safety and shared important information. Vecinos of small Rio Grande communities received warnings and aid from nearby Apaches, and they responded in kind, even protecting them from attacks by Spanish troops.
Indeed, many people of Spanish descent lived with the southern Apaches. When a patrol from Coahuila recaptured a Spanish boy inthey learned from him that the Lipan band in which he had lived harbored many different people—Indian, Hispanic, and African.
Considerable numbers of other Spaniards, both women and children, also could be found in the band. The captive mentioned that some came from Saltillo, well to the south, as well as from Nueva Vizcaya and Coahuila. When brought into the band, this Spanish boy was placed under the charge of a "mulatto man, with the upper lip cut in the middle," whose job included watching and directing the captive herd boys.
Although it might be an exaggeration to suggest that Rio Grande Apache groups were becoming havens for mistreated, exploited, underprivileged elements in Spanish society, certainly many such individuals had joined them.
Just how many children and women were carried off by Apaches is impossible to determine. Some bands no doubt built their population with captives. They had lost so many people of their tribe, taking captives, instead of killing them was a logical solution.
But it should be remembered that the Spanish could only recognize children with fair complexions, and many other Indian children, especially natives from missions, probably escaped recognition. The ethnic diversity in Apache camps prompted changes in the relations of production. Various social and economic roles changed as the Apaches evolved from a method of production highly dependent on buffalo hunting to one more closely tied to raiding and poaching.
Other members of the society found it possible to acquire more status through working in exchange networks, and they learned the languages necessary to deal with vecino populations, such as the one at San Juan Bautista, and even other natives who still lived in missions. Captives who came into this changing environment had to be indoctrinated, leading to a more extensive projection of Apache identity.
Another captive a ten-year-old boy who wandered into a Spanish military camp along the Rio Grande inreported the same treatment. Apaches "had whipped him cruelly at every turn," the soldiers reported. With the lashing came work, discipline, and cultural indoctrination.
Once accustomed to obeying orders, captives performed work assignments without a guard and were applauded for a job well done.