Early American History
Indians of North America
Four Corners
Holy People
Key Concepts

The Ancient Navajos were one of the last groups to arrive in the Southwest. They arrived from Canada about 1000 A.D. They settled in the area of the Southwest known as Four Corners. Four Corners is where the four states of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet.

The Ancient Navajos were nomads. They were hunters and herders. They were different from the Hopis who were farmers and lived in pueblos. The Navajos traveled with their clans to hunt and to graze their herds. Their houses were easily set up and taken apart. They were made from brushwood, animal skins, and leaves.

When the early Navajos were new to they Southwest, they often attacked the Hopis. They admired the Hopi tools. They stole Hopi baskets, weaving looms, pottery, blankets and farm tools. Gradually, the Navajos learned the Hopi ways and became farmers like the Hopi. They began to grow their own crops, and weave cotton cloth.

The Navajos lived in houses called hogans. A hogan had a cone shaped frame made from logs. It was covered with mud or grass. Navajos built their hogans in small, family size groups, miles apart from one another. They did not build villages.

The Navajos believed in gods they called the Holy People. The Navajos believed they needed to praise the Holy People or the gods would use their powers against them. The sun god could make the crops dry up. They believed the Earth Mother was kind.

The shaman was the religious leader and healer of the Navajos. He performed ceremonies and asked the gods for special favors for the Navajos. Shamans often used sand painting in their ceremonies.

The Navajos grew into a culture of artists and craftsmen. The objects they made had to serve a useful purpose. They made beautiful, baskets, pottery, and clothing. They used the wool from their sheep and wove beautiful blankets.

The Navajos
New Mexico
weaving loom
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