Navajo Indians Culture
The Navajo Indians were the main settlers of a great part of the Americas before the U.S. and other colonizers came into the picture. Many acknowledge them as the original occupants of U.S. territory, where they thrived and survived for hundreds of years. During their time, the Navajo Indians were able to develop their own system and culture, making them a distinct part of society until modern day. Learn more about the rich Navajo Indian culture by reading through this short guide on their ways and practices.
The Navajo Indians were semi-nomadic, which means some settled and stayed in particular lands while other wandered off to find more resources and establish more camps elsewhere. They lived off of hunting and farming, with men held responsible for hunting for food, and the women responsible for crops and livestock. The Navajos were known to keep goats and sheep, but some of them also learned to care for horses later on. Men were rather aggressive and hostile towards outsiders, while women were more subdued, taking on the role of caretakers for children and settlements.
The Navajo Indians had different clothing for men and women, but they were made of the same materials. Sheep that were kept and cared for were routinely shaved and wool was spun in order to create wool for clothes and ponchos. Traditionally, men would wear tunics over their trousers, and elaborate blouses with designs like you would see in old western films. A cross between a high-cut boot and a moccasin was the shoe style of choice for men which gave them significant protection against the harsh terrain. Finally, men would also wear traditional head pieces, mostly designated for higher officials of the tribe.
Women on the other hand were more commonly seen wearing skirts and blouses, usually with a single decorative band wrapped around their head, across their forehead. Navajo women were more inclined to wear jewelry and ornaments, which was usually seen in the form of earrings or necklaces.
Navajo Religion and Beliefs
The Navajo Indian culture thrived on the idea of animism which states that everything around us has a spirit, including trees, plants, animals, and inanimate objects. They believed that all of the elements had powers and that illness could be inflicted by disrupting the natural order of the world. The Yei Spirit is the name that the Navajo Indians use to refer to the higher being that mediates between the humans and the Great Spirit. This second higher being is responsible for controlling the elements, and is something of a traditional version of mother nature.