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Title: Navajo

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Navajo history: early migration from Alaska and Canada to encounters with the Spanish and war with the United States; concludes with an account of contemporary Navajo life.

Traditional Navajo, or Diné, stories tell that First Man, First Woman, the Holy People, and all the animals had to pass through three different worlds before emerging into the Fourth or Glittering World. Here, the People saw four rivers bounded by f...

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Title: Navajo Weaving: A Study in Cultural Change and Adaptability

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

The development of Navajo weaving for individual use and for trade.

Navajos say Spider Woman taught them to weave with directions from Spider Man. Spider Woman’s woven cross still appears in Navajo weaving today. The early Navajos were a nomadic hunting and gathering people. Navajo weaving tells a story of their...

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Title: The Navajo Problem

Author(s): E.R. Fryer, Superintendent of the Navajo Reservation, Window Rock, Ariz. (Author)

The Superintendent of the Navajo reservation discusses the problem of Navajo lands degraded by overgrazing.

The predicament of the Great Navajo tribe is unequaled among American Indians. Here is the fastest growing autonomous group in the Nation. In 1868 they numbered less than 12,000; they herded only 40,000 sheep and goats. On the reservation today dwell...

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Title: Hopi Weaving

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

A brief history of weaving among the Hopi.

The origins of Hopi weaving extend deep in time. For many centuries, Hopi men grew short-staple cotton that they spun into thread and then wove into fabric. They used an upright loom to weave blankets and cloth. The fabric was made into everyday clot...

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Title: Navajo Code Talkers

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

During World War II, many Navajos serving in the Marine Corps worked as “code talkers,” using a code in the Navajo language that the Japanese forces could not break for relaying information between US troops.

Although the United States government finally granted citizenship to Native Americans in 1924, the states of New Mexico and Arizona denied native people the right to vote until 1948. Nevertheless, during World War I (1917-1919) many Native Americans,...

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Title: Trading Posts in the American Southwest

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

An overall description of trading posts in the American Southwest.

For hundreds of years, people of the American Southwest traded among themselves. They used a system of barter to exchange everything from furs, bison hides, foods, woven material, and clothing to pottery, beads, feathers, and turquoise. The establish...

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Title: Navajo Painting: Trading through Paint, Pencil, and Paper

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

Use of sand paining and other art materials to depict ceremonial and daily life among the Navajo.

Navajo sand painting is a unique union of ceremony and art. Sand paintings, accompanied by healing songs, can restore a person to hozho. Hozho refers to balance, harmony, universal beauty, and health. A healer creates a sand painting on a hogan floor...

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Title: Rugs for Trade or Cash

Source(s): Wide Ruins

Author(s): Sallie R. Wagner (Author)

Sallie Wagner writes of her days running a trading post with her husband on the Navajo reservation in the 1930s and 1940s.

When my husband and I bought the trading post, the Navajos in the area were making very poor rugs, the kind that were sold from knocked-together stands along Highway 66. The wool was not well cleaned or well spun. The bordered designs were the kind t...

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Title: The Churro

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

The introduction of churro sheep by the Spanish and their resulting importance to Navajo culture.

During the sixteenth century, the Spanish brought flocks of churro sheep to the Americas. The churro was an old and hardy breed originating in Spain. It could survive in rugged, dry terrain. Early Spanish, Pueblo, and Navajo weavers prized the long, ...

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Title: Bosque Redondo

Source(s): Dancing Gods: Indian Ceremonials of New Mexico and Arizona

Author(s): Erna Ferguson (Author)

A description of the Navajo people’s forced exile to Bosque Redondo in 1864.

At the end of February 1864, General Carleton reported the surrender of over three thousand Navajos, more than half the tribe. He demanded food and clothing for them all, and while waiting for Washington to act, he put his troops on half rations and ...

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