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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: 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: 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: Hopi Silver

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

How the Hopis came to be silversmiths.

Silversmithing in the American Southwest tells a story of creative encounters among peoples. The Navajos probably learned the art of silversmithing from Mexican artisans. Oral tradition recalls that a Navajo taught silversmithing to a Zuni man named ...

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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: 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: 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: Hopi

Author(s): Southwest Crossroads Spotlight

An introduction to and overview of the Hopi material in Southwest Crossroads.

The villages of Hopi are the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in North America. Oraibi, the oldest village, dates back to about 1125 A.D. Present-day Hopis live in thirteen villages on and around three mesas in northern Arizona. For hundr...

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