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The Navajo Indians

Essay by review  •  March 7, 2011  •  Essay  •  676 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,635 Views

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THE NAVAJO INDIANS

The Dineh, or "The People," as the Navajo call themselves, migrated to the Southwest from the North around the 15th century. They were first noticed by other people between the 14th and 15th century, between the Champa and upper San Juan rivers.

The Spaniards brought sheep and horses which the Navajo used for their nomadic lifestyle. It is thought that the Navajo originally consisted of four clans and today has expanded to include over 60.

The introduction of Anglo Americans soon led to a treaty between Navajos and the United States Government. The army held all the Navajo people responsible for all treaty promises, instead of recognizing them as distinct tribal units who made differing decisions. Finally the army decided to gather all the Navajo people and send them to Fort Sumner. Kit Carson rounded up the Navajos, though many hid near such locations as Canyon de Chelly and Navajo Mountain. The Navajo refused to surrender, even though Carson destroyed their crops and sheep, burned their villages, and killed their families.

Those who survived were sent to Fort Sumner on the "Long Walk", during which around 200 Navajos died because of starvation and cruel treatment. Fort Sumner was very disliked by the Navajos who were unable to grow food in the barren land. They felt betrayed by the white man who had forced them to leave the area between their four sacred mountains, an area today that is the Navajo Indian reservation. The Peace Commission and the Treaty of 1868 allowed the Navajo to return to their land after four terrible years. The Navajo were still tormented, but slowly began to make progress as an individual people, and carry on their traditions and way of life.

The Navajo culture today is made up of over 200,000 people, and more than 14 million acres of reservation land and nearby cities. Many Navajo children can speak both Navajo and English.

The Navajo language has not only helped to preserve the Navajo culture, but was also used as a U.S. Army code to disguise radio transmissions from the Japanese during World War II. Navajo arts continue to be passed on, as daughters and granddaughters learn weaving, basket making, pottery making, and jewelry making.

Many Navajo children raised on the reservation continue to herd sheep and livestock. Schools are available to

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