Who are the Navajo ?
The history of the Navajo goes back to around 1400A.D
Their oral tradition goes back to when they migrated to The South Western United States from Canada .
They are without doubt the largest of all the Indian nations in the U.S.A.
Originally, they were hunter gatherers but when settled in the Southwest U.S they then to adopt farming methods from the Pueblo Indians growing Corn ,Beans ,and Squash .
They learned to farm animals from the Spanish colonists such as sheep and goats .
They then became very good at this way of life, so meat became an important part of their diet .
The name Navajo is derived from the Spanish however they refer to them selves as “The Dine” meaning people .
The Navajo women became very good at spinning wool and weaving and made exhalent woollen clothing , Blankets that they were able to trade and sold .
This willing ness to incorporate Pueblo ideas and some linguistic variances helped them to become who they are today .
During this period there were skirmishes from time to time with Spanish settlers, but they did not have any lasting effects with the Navajo .
However, in 1864 the U.S Army forced marched some 9000 Navajo people including young children to March 300miles to Fort Sumner .
This was a disastrous time the Navajo who were forced to share the confinement with the Apache who were their long-time enemies .
Eventually they were forced to assimilate into white society children were taken and forced into boarding schools in and off the reservations .
These boarding schools like all others on Indian lands did their uppermost to eradicate their Language and culture buy cruelty and inhuman ways .
By the time of the Second World war many Navajo people were either coscripted into the U.S military or found work in the war factories .
Some of the men became code talkers for the various branches of the military particularly in the Pacific war where they were trained to communicate using their native language to stop the Japanese intercepting any messages and they never did .
Also, other native languages were used in the same way against the against the Nazis using the Sioux and others .
Each individual Navajo code talker was assigned a personal guard whose sole job was to protect the individual at any cost . This was considered so vital by the U.S military and the government to the winning of the war .
Their role in the war was very much cognised by the American Nation that they were awarded one of highest Honour the Medal of Honour .
This legacy as continues right up to this day being used in the first Gulf war latter in Iraq and Afghanistan .
To return to their way of life today there is lot of progress being made to wards making life better on the renovations however there is still an awful lot of poverty around .
On the positive side schools , hospitals . and other institutions are now to be found so that people’s lives can be improved. Like all reservations they are their own independent nations within the U. S.A with their own tribal councils , police , and other facilities . They have Casinos as well that generate an awful lot of revenue that is ploughed back into the reservations.
There are around some 300,000 Navajo in the U.S today .
Their traditional homes were called Hogan’s and were constructed with wood and covered with clay and you can see them dotted around the Arizona and New Mexico today
Most Navajo today have more modern homes with all modern facilities in them some also live-in trailer homes as well .
The Navajo are probably best known for their exquisite jewellery made of Turquoise and silver which can fetch hundreds of dollars particularly for the more luxurious items as well as the more affordable items .
They also make and sell beautiful blankets again which are beautifully made and can also command very high prices. All these are sold globally as well as in the U.S and Canada .