Navajo Tribe

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This article contains interesting facts, pictures and information about the life of the Navajo Native American Indian Tribe.

The Navajo Tribe
Summary and Definition: The Navajo tribe, also referred to as the Diné tribe, were a semi-nomadic people who lived in the southwest desert regions in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. The Navajo tribe fiercely resisted the invasion of their homelands. The names of the most famous chiefs of the Navajo tribe included Chief Barboncito and Chief Manuelito.

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Facts about the Navajo Native Indian Tribe
This article contains fast, fun facts and interesting information about the Navajo Native American Indian tribe. Find answers to questions like where did the Navajo tribe live, what clothes did they wear, what did they eat and who were the names of their most famous leaders? Discover what happened to the Navajo tribe with facts about their wars and history.

What was the lifestyle and culture of the Navajo tribe?
Navajo tribe were a semi-nomadic people described as hunter-farmers. Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp and the women were in charge of the home and land. The Navajo kept sheep and goats and the women spun and wove wool into cloth. The Navajo tribe are believed to be related to Athapascan peoples in the Pacific Northwest and in central Canada. They migrated to the Southwest before the arrival of the Europeans and adopted the lifestyle of the Pueblo Native Indians. When they arrived in the region the Navajo (Dine) brought with them their own customs and traditions, and their members included the role of the Medicine Man or Shaman. The adopted the ideas of many of the Southwest Native American Indians but these were closely integrated into their beliefs, especially in relation to sandpaintings. Depictions of Navajo spirits, called Yei, are commonly found on ancient Petroglyphs and in Sand Paintings.

 

Where did the Navajo tribe live?
The Navajo are people of the Southwest Native American cultural group. The location of their tribal homelands are shown on the map.  The geography of the region in which they lived dictated the lifestyle and culture of the Navajo tribe.

  • They lived in the American southwest desert regions in the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado

  • Land: It was a dry, arid rocky land dotted with cactus

  • Climate: The climate was hot with little rain so crops required irrigation

  • Animals: The desert animals were reptiles and snakes. Livestock included sheep and goats and wild turkey

  • Crops: The crops grown in the area were corn, beans, sunflower seeds and squash

Map showing Native American Indians Cultural Groups

Map showing location of the
Southwest Native American Cultural Group

What did the Navajo tribe live in?
The Navajo tribe lived in Earthen houses that were also called Hogans, earth lodges or pit houses. Hogans were semi-subterranean dwellings that were dug from the earth. There were two styles of Hogans, the forked stick Hogan and the Round Hogan, that were built using the timber from pinon trees, that were covered with earth or reeds.

Forked Sick and Round Hogans

What language did the Navajo tribe speak?
The Navajo tribe spoke in the Na-Dené Southern Athabaskan language known as Diné bizaad.

What food did the Navajo tribe eat?
The food that the Navajo tribe ate included deer, small game such as rabbit and fish. As farmers the Navajo tribe produced crops of corn, beans, squash and sunflower seeds. Their crops, meat and fish were supplemented by nuts, berries and fruit such as melon. As time passed the Navajo then started to raise sheep and goats with further supplemented their diet.

What weapons did the Navajo use?
The weapons used were bows and arrows, stone ball clubs and knives. The rifle was added to their weapons with the advent of the white invaders.

What clothes did the Navajo men wear?
The clothes worn by the Navajo tribe made good use of the natural resources that were available to them. The women spun and wove wool into cloth for ponchos, blankets and cloaks. Yucca fiber, from the Soaptree yucca, was also used to make sandals, belts and cloth and was also used to produce baskets and mats. Men's clothing included breechcloths which were made from a long rectangular piece of animal skin or cloth which was worn between the legs and tucked over a belt. Tunics with a concho belt fastened around the waist were also worn that were topped by cloaks or ponchos during the cold weather. They wore high, boot-like moccasins which were fastened at the instep with two or three silver buttons. The traditional headdress worn by the Navajo men was leather cap that was replaced by a simple cloth or leather headbands. In later years both men and women wear velvet shirts or velveteen blouses in brilliant colors on special occasions and wear silver and Turquoise jewelry in large quantities.

What clothes did the Navajo women wear?
The type of clothes worn by the women. The women of the tribe wore clothes consisting of skirts and blouses. The skirts were traditionally made of woven yucca fiber. Like the men they wore blankets as cloaks for protection in cold weather. Hair was kept long and worn in a traditional hair knot called a Tsiiyeel which was wrapped in white yarn. Like all women they liked jewelry and wore turquoise and silver ornaments.

What was the religion and beliefs of the Navajo tribe?
The religion and beliefs of the Navaho tribe was based on Animism that encompassed the spiritual or religious idea that the universe and all natural objects animals, plants, trees, rivers, mountains rocks etc have souls or spirits. The Navajo believes that the Yei Spirit mediates between humans and the Great Spirit and are believed to control elements such as the rain, snow, wind and sun and control the night and day. The two major ceremonial cycles have two branches: Beautyway and Evilway. The Beautyway is for celebration, strength and protection and the Evilway for healing. Important Navajo ceremonies include the Yeibichei dances and the Kinaalda for girls who have reached the age of puberty.

Who were the most famous leaders and chiefs of the Navajo tribe?
The most famous leaders and chiefs of the Navajo tribe included Barboncito and Manuelito.

Navajo History: What happened to the Navajo tribe?
The traditional enemies of the Navajo tribe included the Comanches, Apaches and the Utes. The Navajo joined forces with the Pueblo tribe and forced the Spaniards out of the area following the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. In the 1780s, the Spanish sent military expeditions against the Navajo. There were many conflicts between the Navajo and the US. Treaties were made and then broken. Colonel Kit Carson led an expedition into Navajo land and received their surrender on July 20, 1863. Starting in the spring of 1864 and ending in 1866 nearly 9,000 Navajo men, women and children were forced on the  "Long Walk" of over 300 miles to the Bosque Redondo Reservation at Fort Sumner in New Mexico. In 1887 the Dawes General Allotment Act was passed by Congress which led to the break up of the large Indian Reservations and the sale of Indian lands, including Navajo lands to white settlers. The Navajos eventually settled on their reservation. During WW2 they served as Navajo Code Talkers in the US Marines and were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for their unique contribution to the war effort.

Navajo

  • Interesting Facts and information about the way the people lived
  • The clothes worn by men and women
  • Description of the homes and the type of food the Navajo would eat
  • Fast Facts and info about the Navajo
  • Names of famous chiefs and leaders
  • Interesting Homework resource for kids on the history of the Navajo Native American Indians

Pictures and Videos of Native American Indians and their Tribes
The Navajo Tribe was one of the most famous tribes of Native American Indians. Discover the vast selection of pictures on the subject of the tribes of Famous Native Americans such as the Navajo nation. The pictures show the clothing, war paint, weapons and decorations of various Native Indian tribes, such as the Navajo tribe, that can be used as a really useful educational resource for kids and children of all ages. We hope you enjoy watching the video - just click and play - a great social studies homework resource for kids .

 
 

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