For the past 4 millennia at least, humanity began living in communities and forming settlements around agriculture and farming. Seen all around the world, every culture developed their own unique techniques as they produced and ate food found in their local area. While modern agriculture makes this process almost invisible to most of us, some cultures relish the opportunity to continue living with their more agricultural roots, tying it still into their culture and purpose.
The Navajo are an excellent example of farmers. Moving and settling across incredible landscapes, the Navajo have developed techniques and farming practices that have helped them survive and thrive in climates that are challenging to say the least. Lets take a moment to learn more about Navajo farming and how important it is to the Navajo way of life.
The Navajo People
The people we refer to as the Navajo People came from a Pueblo Indian word for “farmlands.” Living a lifestyle that saw both traveling and settling, the Navajo were particularly good at adapting to new environments and moving on when the time called for it. It is believed that they developed these techniques from the Pueblo people, expanding that knowledge wherever they traveled.
In addition, there were seasonal dwellings so that depending on the time of year, the Navajo would travel and live in an area ripe for cultivation. Prior to western colonization, the Navajo Women mostly farmed while the men took part in hunting, politics, and war. More recently, this dynamic has shifted as more men are now farmers and ranchers.
The Navajo Farm
When considering the Navajo farm, consider something small scale and diverse. Comprised of a range of healthy fruits, vegetables, and beans, the Navajo practiced numerous cultivation and soil revitalization techniques to ensure the continued quality and productivity of the land.
While the farming implements may be considered less modern then what we have today, they were none-the-less effective as farming tools, allowing settlements to thrive. Some of the foods that the Navajo grew included squash, beans, and corn. This helped to augment the other part of their diet, consisting of meat from small game, antelope, and dear.
A final source of nutrition came from basic foraging of local areas. Together, the Navajo had a surprisingly rich diet that helped to fight off sickness, as well as a variety of diseases that would continue to effect European people for centuries to come.