What food did the Navajo tribe eat

Indians - 3.5 to 4 million live in North America

Indians is the name of the native people of America, who colonized the continent before European colonization began in 1492. The Inuit and other peoples of the Arctic regions and the American Pacific Islands are not included.

Table of Contents
Visit to Indian reservations | Totem posts (trees of Indian family clans) | Bison (breadwinner of the plains Indians) | Navajo Indians | Internet links on the subject of Indians

Visit to Indian reservations

The following guidelines generally apply to visits to Indian reservations: Indian reservations have their own sovereignty (in the hands of the tribe); Alcoholic beverages are forbidden (not just the drinking itself, but also the possession and transport of such beverages); Roads and approved trails may not be left without a special permit; Seat belts must be worn in vehicles, and helmets are compulsory for motorcyclists.

English-language information is available from the following sites: American Indian Movement, American Indian Tribes, Cherokee, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Web Site, Hopi.

Totem posts (trees of Indian family clans)

Elaborately carved and richly decorated, the totem poles are an impressive testimony to the art of the natives in the extreme northwest of America. The demonic-looking carvings of animal beings were neither worshiped as ritual beings, nor were the up to 20 m high columns ever used as “torture stakes” (this purpose sprang from Karl May's imagination). Rather, totem poles represent myths of a family clan, tell stories of important events and people. The occasions for carving them were different: as a grave stake, as a souvenir stake or as a potlatch pole to commemorate a great festival. Even when a new totem pole was erected, the client invited to a large potlatch.

Bison (breadwinner of the prairie indians)

Until the middle of the 19th century, bison herds populated the grass steppes along the Rocky Mountains. The Indians hunted the animals, built tents with their skins, dressed in their skins, and ate their meat. Even the bones were used: jewelry, but also weapons were made from them. The white settlers displaced and decimated the bison herds and thus deprived the Indians of their livelihood.

Navajo Indians

The Navajo Indians (pronounced: nah-wa-ho) call themselves “Dineh”, the people or the people. The name "Navajo" comes from the Spanish and means, for example, people with large fields. They belong to the Athapasque language group and migrated from the subarctic across northwestern Canada to the southwestern United States. Originally the Navajo were one of the largest tribes in the Southwest, they still hold the largest Indian reservation in the United States and are numerically the largest Indian nation. With 640,000 square kilometers, this Indian country (Indian Country) larger than several states on the east coast.

In 1868 there were about 8,000 Navajos, in 1900 the number had risen to 20,000 and by 1930 to 40,000. Today there are around 200,000 people who trace their origins back to the Navajo. Over half of them live in the part of the reservation that belongs to Arizona, 39% in New Mexico, and the rest in Utah and Colorado. Within the reserve, the rules of the tribe apply, including to visitors. It has its own police force and its own judiciary. Alcohol is taboo. In addition to the English language, the colloquial language Navajo is still used. It is so complicated that it was used as a secret code by the US military during World War II. About 3,000 Navajo men served in the US Army. The U.S. Marine Corps Navajo Code Talkers are legendary. They broadcast secret information on radio reports in their own language. A secret code that the enemy could never crack. For a taste of the Navajo language, tune in to the Navajo Nation's KTNN 740 AM radio station.

The center of the Navajo tribe (navajo tribe) is located in Window skirt, Arizona, about halfway between Canyon de Chelly and Gallup in New Mexico at AZ 264. The government consists of the Tribal Council (Tribal Council), an elected body made up of the chairman (Chairman), his deputy (Vice Chairman) and 88 MPs (Delegates) is composed. The tribal council regulates all matters of the tribe and is also responsible for raw materials and mineral resources. The city's landmark is the eponymous Window Rock.

The Window Rock Tribal Park (2 miles / 3.2 km from Highway AZ 264) with the Navajo Tribal Museum (exhibition on the history and way of life of the Navajos) and the Navajo Arts & Crafts Enterprise (sale and exhibition of Indian products) are interesting for tourists. .

The formerly nomadic Navajo have always proven to be particularly adaptable. They adopted much of the style of the Pueblo Indians, Spaniards, and Americans. When the first whites arrived, they had developed an agriculture that was not as perfect as that of the Hopi and Pueblo Indians. The Navajo took over sheep breeding from the Spanish conquerors, and henceforth an important part of their livelihood, as they supply the wool for weaving and trade. Living together with the whites was always associated with armed conflicts. The Navajo retreated again and again into the mountains and transformed the Canyon de Chelly into a fortress. It was not until the 19th century that the US Army succeeded in penetrating this natural defensive position. The low point was reached in 1863 when Colonel Christopher "Kit" Carson defeated the Navajo in a cruel war with the destruction of the fields and sheep, rounded them up and banished them to Fort Sumner, New Mexico. They were sent on the Long March to the Bosque Redondo, 563 km away, where they found living conditions even worse than on the march and had to share the land with their archenemies, the Mescalero Apaches. It wasn't until 1868 that a new treaty was signed that allowed the Navajo to return to Canyon de Chelly.

The Navajo way of life today is “typically American”. They drive pick-ups, wear baseball caps and jeans, and often prefer fast food. The living conditions in the reservations are not rosy, however, the majority of them have an income in the area of ​​social assistance. Many are active as cattle herders or small farmers, many live from tourism, for example by offering their artistic products for sale at small stalls along the highways and in tourist resorts.

Hardly any tribesman lives in the ancient Navajo dwelling, the Hogans. The dwellings are mainly used for demonstration for tourists. The quasi-round building with 6 or 8 corners is built without windows from wood, brushwood and clay and has an entrance facing east. The fireplace is in the middle of a depression in the ground, the smoke is drawn off through a hole in the roof. The Navajos already knew the sauna. The Navajo used sweat baths for ceremonial body cleansing. Pouring water over hot stones created a lot of steam in a small sauna room. In general, four men went through the steam bath in a cycle of four baths with sacred chants. The winter hogans were usually equipped in such a way that the interior also offered space for such ceremonies. Typical Navajo artistic products that can still be purchased today include, in particular, Navajo carpets (navajo rug).

Navajo carpets
The blankets are woven on looms according to old patterns. The patterns are only decorative and have no symbolic value. They are the invention of white traders from the time of the first railroad, who discovered the tourist value of the products for guests from the eastern United States. The price is determined by the fineness, the pattern and the size of the very durable carpets. Before a carpet is woven, the wool must be washed, carded, dyed with vegetable or chemical dyes and then spun into strand-like yarn on a wool spindle. For a small, traditionally manufactured carpet, for example, the following "set-up times" apply: 64 hours to make the wool, 8 hours to set up the loom and 133 hours of weaving (information taken from the exhibition in the Watchtower of the Grand Canyon National Park).

Silver and turquoise jewelry: The Navajo learned silver working from the Mexicans. At first they made jewelry from coins, later from metal plates. Turquoise jewelry is still the most precious gem of the Pueblo Indians (to which the Navajo do not belong), bracelets and necklaces are made in particular.

Sand painting: Sand pictures can be made by a single person in one to two hours, but there are also meter-long pictures that have to be made by several people. In essence, it is about the reproduction of old signs that are intended to heal the sick. See also Denver Art Museum - Navajo Sand Paintings. Enclosed in the middle of the Navajo Reservation is the Hopi Reservation. There is considerable tension between the two tribes.

Internet links on the subject of Indians

Information in German is available on the following pages: indianer.de, History of the Indians, Association for the Support of North American Indians, Lakota Oyate Information, Indian Travel, List of Indian Reservations in the United States.

Internet links on the subject of Navajo Indians

The Navajo Nation.