Essay on Some Moral Minima

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The Culture of the Navajo ANT101 Professor Colin Garretson 1/7/2013 Eileen Marie Coppula

The culture of the Navajo

Native American history stretches back many centuries and continues till present day. There are many tribes along with their populations that domesticated and left their mark in forms of artifacts, customs and documentation made by white explorers. Although history labels all Native American tribes together, it is important to understand that each tribe has its own distinct history and culture, none more famous than the Navajo tribes of the Southwest. The Navajo culture is one that is centered on family life as well as traditions and events that shape their lifestyle. This strong value of family is the foundation of the kinship bond between the Navajo as well as their love for their homeland and their spiritual connection to it.
Between 900 and 1525 A.D., in the area of present-day northwestern New Mexico, the Navajos established a beautiful and thriving culture which included developing a strong trade business network with nearby tribes that included the Anasazi and Pueblo peoples. This strong and sustained trade relationship brought goods and technologies to the Navajo people, such as flint points and moccasins to the Southwest tribes. By the eighteenth century the Navajo had spread into northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah, they quite possibly may have moved into southeastern Utah as early as 1620.

In 1680, the Navajo and their relatives the Apaches, aided Pueblo Indians in a Revolt from the Spanish. For decades the Spanish had brutally mistreated the Pueblo peoples and had them enslaved for many decades. This fight for independence from Spanish rule had been a

The culture of the Navajo

success, but only for a small period of time because though Spanish forces were pushed back into Mexico, they would return in 1693 and retake the area of the Rio Grande Valley. Some
Pueblos took refuge among the Navajos, resulting in an intermixing of Navajo and Pueblo cultures. This war for independence portrayed how strong Navajo kinship was and how they believed in equality for every man and woman. These strong beliefs and values engrained in their culture truly give great definition to the Navajo way.

Although the Navajo had a long and tough conflict with The Spanish, they were fortunately introduced to livestock and agricultural technologies that had not been available if it were not for The Spanish conquering the land around them. The Spanish brought sheep, goats, and horses to their conquered lands near local Navajo tribes. The Navajo people were nomadic in nature and would move around wherever the land was fertile enough to grow crop that they would use in trade and in their day to day use. Because of their nomadic nature, the Navajos are very adaptable to their surroundings and quickly incorporated domestic livestock and agriculture into their farming system. They also adopted the horse and, like other tribes who used the animal as a means of transportation, sometimes engaged in slave and food raids on neighboring tribes.

Although the Navajo were engaged in multiple wars with the Spanish and other enemy tribes, they were for the most part a very peaceful and diplomatic tribe. They had strong values, in that, they felt everyone was equal so there typically was no head chief in charge of their tribes until war conflicts with the Spanish had started up and also later with the settlement of the early
The culture of the Navajo

colonists moving westward to present day California. It wasn’t until these conflicts, that they were then forced to appoint a person to delegate treaties and contracts with civilized cultures. This strong resolve for peace instead of war was very different from their relatives the Apaches, who were known to be a very aggressive and war hungry