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The Navajo Indians

The word Navajo comes from the phrase Tewa Navahu, meaning highly cultivated lands. The Navajo Indians largely resides in New Mexico and Arizona. The Navajo Indians originally began their tribes in the 1500’s. They traded maize (or corn crops) and woven cotton items such as blankets for things like bison meat and various materials that they could use to make tools and weapons.


The Navajo Indians are considered to be the largest tribe of all Native American Indians. Their homes were very simple, just a small shelter of wooden sticks, mud, and tree bark. These homes were known as hogans, and their doors faced the east to be sure the sun would shine in. When the Spanish came into their territory in the 1600’s, the Navajo who use their sheep for things like clothing and food. They would set up trading posts within the Spanish towns with their handmade items in order to barter for things that they needed.

Eventually, both the Spaniards and the Mexicans began to take violent action against the Navajo tribes because of their raids on the camps. They sent in military installations to intimidate the tribes, and eventually about 2/3 of them surrendered to their wishes and moved to new territories, including Utah. For those who refused to surrender, they hid out in the mountains and the canyons to avoid being caught. Eventually the Navajo Indians settled into a reservation on Fort Sumter in the late 1800’s. By this point, they had begun raising sheep, giving them a prosperous and profitable edge. Today the Navajo population is still going strong. While young people in the tribes today search for their own identities, they still remain very close to their families and to their heritage. The Navajo tribes are some of the most influential of all Native Americans, and their history and traditions have been passed down over many generations.

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