Navajo – Native American people
The Navajo are a Native American people of the southwestern United States. They are the second largest Native American tribe after the Cherokee. They originally lived in what is now western and central Canada.
The Navajo hunted animals and farmed. They lived in houses made from wood covered with earth. They called hogans. Hogans are still built and used for religious and cultural purposes.
They could weave very well. Their rugs and blankets are well known. Navajo artists are also famous for their silver jewellery.
In the late 1500s Spanish explorers arrived in Navajo lands. They brought horses, sheep, and cattle.
In 1863 U.S. troops destroyed Navajo herds and fields. They had to travel on foot to a reservation in New Mexico. This ‘journey’ was called Long Walk and many Navajo people died from cold and hunger during it. On the reservation there was no wood for fires, the drinking water was bitter and the desert land was no good for growing corn. In the reservation they have their own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country.
Navajo language is a difficult language with tones and many different vowel sounds.
Their relatives are the Apaches, but unlike the Apaches, the Navajos lived in settled villages.
Their traditional dish is Navajo Taco (fried bread with chili, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and cheese).
In 2000 there were almost 270,000 Navajo.
The film In the Footsteps of Yellow Woman was based on the story told to Camille Manybeads Tso by her grandmother Mae Tso. It was shown in more than 30 film festivals, and has won nine awards.