Archeologists think the Navajo reached the american Southwest sometimes after 1300. Although the spanish explored the region in the 1500s and 1600s, the Navajo had little contact with them until about 1700. The spanish lost control of the region in the late 1600s, but during their reconquest of 1696, Jemez, Tewa, and Keresan Pueblo Indians retreated with the Navajo to what is now northeast Arizona and northwest New Mexico .
After U.S. attacks on the Navajo in 1846 and 1963, a treaty reduced Navajo territory to a one-fourth its previous size. The Navajo today have four reservations ; the largest one surrounds the Hopi Pueblo reservation in Arizona. The other three are in New Mexico. About 190,000 Navajo survive in the United States, with 146,000 on reservations .
The Navajo reservations are on the high Colordo tableland. Most precipitation falls in the winter and summer. irregular and acute summer thunderstorms frequently wash out scandal roads and trip flare floods, damaging ground cover and crops. The rest of the year, temperatures are high and humidity humble.
originally hunters and gatherers, the Navajo developed an agrarian economy through contact with their Pueblo neighbors and the spanish. The Navajo depend on department of agriculture and live-stock but supplement their income through commerce in native crafts. In summation, contracts for resources such as forest, anoint, coal, uranium, and gas provide the Navajo nation with income, and many men work on the railroads .
In World War II, many Navajo worked outside the reservation. The dearth of such jobs after the war and in the early 1960s led Navajos and other native Americans to migrate to cities. Relocation damaged the traditional system of pooled family resources and support .
Until the 1850s, the Navajo were mugwump of colonial, political, and missionary controls. They maintained an informal, decentralized political, sociable, and economic organization centered on local anesthetic land-use groups organized around kin, domestic, and genealogic affiliations. Each local band had a leader who directed negotiations among adults .
With the discovery of oil on Navajo land in 1922, non-Navajo companies needed local authorities with whom they could negotiate contracts. In 1923, the U.S. government appointed three Navajo men as a business council to deal with lease grants, and in 1938 instigated the constitution of the Navajo Tribal Council. Since the 1930s, conflicts over U.S.-directed change – involving acculturation resettlement, livestock reductions, and land disputes – have raged between the Navajo and Washington .
Navajo religion explains the population as ordered, beautiful, and harmonious. Navajo religion emphasizes rituals to restore the harmony, balance, and order expressed by the son “ hozho. ” Harmony and libra are disrupted by death, ferocity, and malefic. Each ritual is inspired by myths illustrating the origins of the people through different worlds or existences, the mountains, the sun, and the lunar month. Chanters devote their lives to learning certain ceremonies – for example, the Life Way, the Evil Way ( Ghost Way ), the Game Way ( hunting ), and the Mountain Top Way. Social events and dances normally accompany each ceremony. Each of the over 500 document sand paintings of the Navajo parallels a finical tone .
Despite external threats, the Navajo find strength and commission by maintaining their traditions. The oftrepeated ceremony words “ Sa’ah naaghaii bikeh hozho ” signify the struggle for a long liveliness in beauty, order, and harmony with the environment .
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Bertha P. Dutton, Indians of the american english Southwest, Prentice-Hall, 1975 .
Gladys A. Reichard, Navajo Religion, Princeton university Press, 1950 .
Gary Witherspoon, Language and Art in the Navajo Universe, University of Michigan Press, 1977 .
Gary Witherspoon, Navajo Kinship and Marriage, University of Chicago Press, 1975 .
The novels of Tony Hillerman .
American Indian Cultural Foundation, Box 3776, Page, AZ 86040
Navajo Tribal Council, Speaker of the House, Nelson Gorman, P.O. Box 308, Window Rock, AZ 86515 .
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Land disputes are the Navajo ‘s most weight-lift trouble. In 1974, Congress passed populace Law 93-531, apparently to resolve a estate dispute between the Hopi and Navajo in Arizona. The police called for relocating about 11,000 Navajo. Although the deadline for move was July 1986, about 1,000 Navajo people placid occupy the quarrel land on Big Mountain. The patrol harass the remaining Navajo, say Navajo leaders, and federal agents confiscated their sheep. While not denying that a quarrel exist with the Hopi, Navajo leaders contend that anoint companies and the government have exaggerated the position for political expedience and fiscal acquire. The area in question has a rich vein of ember and evidence of petroleum deposits .
The challenge extends into attacks on Navajo religion. In October 1989, the courts dismissed a Navajo suit that claimed the move violated their first Amendment right to exemption of religion. The Navajo religion is integrally related to the nation they ‘d inhabit. Federal courts have besides ruled that it is illegal for the Navajo to use mescal, even in a religious context .
article copyright Cultural Survival, Inc .