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Navajo Hunting

navajocodetalkersadmin on March 1, 2017 - 10:00 am in Navajo Rituals

The Navajos were a tribe of Native Americans that were described as hunter-farmers who also cared for livestock in their settlements for clothing and food. They were very apt at making the most of their resources, and were very aggressive and successful with their hunting excursions. There was a lot to be learned from Navajos when it comes to hunting, and many of the practices we observe today are inspired by Navajo hunting traditions.

Weapons and Tools Used for Navajo Hunting

The Navajos were good at creating tools and weapons for use during hunting and developed several hunting equipments that helped them achieve such great success in this field. They were particularly known for their bows and arrows, clubs, knives, tomahawks, and spears, which they crafted to be lightweight and sharp to eliminate the need for multiple blows when hunting their game.

Aside from use in Navajo hunting however, these tools were also commonly used in battle with colonizers. Bows and arrows, tomahawks, and knives were their weapon of choice when defending their settlements, but they also used these items when building structures and shelter.

To capture and immobilize fast or large game, the Navajos used bolas which were long, thick stretches of rope with heavy ball-like attachments tied to either end. The bolas were thrown at game to entangle them and make it difficult to flee. Blowdarts were laced with poison from herbs or plants and were commonly utilized for catching birds and other smaller game that were hard to chase around.

Animals Hunted by Navajos

The Navajos settled in vast land areas across what was soon to be the United States, and that’s why they had access to a wide variety of different animals. The hunted for deer, rabbit, mountain goats, and prairie dogs which they mainly hunted for their meat. Bigger animals were also skinned for their pelt or to make leather, while those with sturdy bones were used for structures and other tools that could be used to further improve their settlements.

They didn’t just hunt to kill however as some of the animals they captured were kept alive to be raised in their settlements. The Navajo tribes were well known for their ability to rear sheep and goats which they harvested wool and milk from. The fleece would be woven by women into clothing, blankets, or tents, allowing them to have a much more comfortable living situation.

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