The Navajo People

Published: 2021-06-29 07:07:44
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Category: Philosophy

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The aspects that I will be discussing will be the Navajo's beliefs and values, sickness and healing, kinship, and their social organization. Every culture has a primary mode of subsistence that makes them unique. Among the Navajo culture their primary mode of subsistence are pastoralists. Pastoralists have an impact on different aspects within the culture. "Pastoralists are those who regularly move in search of naturally occurring grass and water." (Nowak & Laird, 2010) Navajo's are an Indian tribe that live on reservations and sometimes reside on public domains outside of the reservations. The Navajo nation is the largest reservation in North America. The Navajo tribe is the natives of what is called the Four Corners region that reside in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. Navajo's call themselves Diné meaning "the people." Up until 1848, the land on which the Navajos lived had belonged to Mexico.
The Navajos had to continually fight not only the Spanish, but also other Indian tribes in order to live on this land. They continued this fight up until the 1850's and 1860's when American's built Fort Defiance for the Navajo country, near what is now called Window Rock, Arizona. Only soon to be captured and killed by the Americans. After having to surrender and forced to walk 300 miles to Fort Sumner in eastern New Mexico, and years of being treated horribly they were allowed to return to their homeland. After many years of this they finally got to return to their normal lives of farming, herding sheep, and weaving.
The Navajo speak an Apachean language which is classified in the Athabaskan language family. At some point in prehistory the Navajo and Apache migrated to the Southwest from Canada, where most other Athabaskan-speaking peoples still live; although the exact timing of the relocation is unknown, it is thought to have been between AD 1100 and 1500. These early Navajo were mobile hunters and gatherers; after moving to the Southwest, however, they adopted many of the practices of the sedentary, farming Pueblo Indians near whom they settled.
The Navajo were given the name Ni'hookaa Diyan Diné by their creators. It means "Holy Earth People". Navajos today simply call themselves "Diné", meaning "The People". The Tewa Indians were the first to call them Navahu, which means "the large area of cultivated land". The Navajo people, also known as the Diné, passed through three different worlds before emerging into this world. The Navajo creation story involves three underworlds where important events happened to shape the Fourth World where we now live. The Diné believe there are two classes of beings: the Earth People and the Holy People.
The Holy People are believed to have the power to aid or harm the Earth People. Since Earth People of the Diné are an integral part of the universe, they must do everything they can to maintain harmony or balance on Mother Earth. It is believed that centuries ago the Holy People taught the Diné how to live the right way and to conduct their many acts of everyday life. They were taught to live in harmony with Mother Earth, Father Sky and the many other elements such as man, animals, plants, and insects. "For the Navajos, each song is a prayer to the Holy People -or supernatural beings- who take care of them. Navajo songs are sung in ceremonies to cure the sick or to protect their families, homes, crops or herds. Every Navajo ceremony includes a "Blessingway Song". It provides a blessing for a long and happy life".

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