Saturday, April 7, 2012

Essay on Navajo

Essay on Navajo

Navajo Indian Tribe
1. Navajo is the largest Native American tribe in North America. Traditionally the creation of the tribe was marked by the usage of special corn meal for the blessing. Thus, corn sets a very important place in the households of Navajos. Navajo religion worships the powers of nature, such as sun and water, and number of gods who interfere with people’s lives. They believe there is an almighty and the sun is viewed as his power. In the course of the tribe’s history most of their religious beliefs were adopted from Pueblo people (Birchfield). Both of these tribes have traditionally been involved in agriculture and worshiped the gods of nature. Unlike in the language of Navajos, there is no word for religion in the Pueblo language. The religious beliefs are interlaced in many aspects of culture, including farming, storytelling, dances, art, architecture, and other activities.


2. The name of the tribe "Anasazi" means the "ancient people". This tribe has always suffered from territorial conflicts and the animosity of surrounding tribes. This was reflected in the social structure of the tribe, leading to constant conflict and rivalry. Consequently, the warriors are the most respected members of the Anasazi tribe. The Natchez people have a very unusual social system and marriage rules. Surprisingly, the members of the highest caste of Natchez are required to marry the people of the lowest caste (Kimball).

3. The Zuni tribe lives on the Arizona / New Mexico border, along the Zuni River. Like most of the Native American tribes Zuni are concerned with agriculture. Zuni’s spirituality is shown in every aspect of their life. They have a series of religious ceremonies which apply in every situation in their lives. Their religious beliefs are centered on three main entities: “Earth Mother, Sun Father and Moonlight-Giving Mother” (Kittelson). For, Pueblo, the most developed Native American community, religion and spirituality are also incorporated in every day life practices. The divine beings for them are visionary beings that bring blessings and in return receive love and warship. Thus, the spirituality and belief in gods is incorporated in various people’s activities of both tribes (Birchfield).

4. Since the advent of Europeans in North America, they tried to change the live ways and traditions of the Native American people. The internal colonialism led to the dislodgment of Native American peoples by the expansion of the Europeans. Such state of thins led to the isolation and suppression of Native Americans in reservations. Furthermore, it resulted in assimilation and spread of racist ideas regarding Native Americans. The internal colonialism has had a dramatic impact on the lives of the Native Americans. In fact, even today, internal colonialism and its drastic effects influence the lives of Native American tribes (Childs).

5. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a tribe is “A unit of sociopolitical organization consisting of a number of families, clans, or other groups who share a common ancestry and culture and among whom leadership is typically neither formalized nor permanent”. The word “tribe” perfectly conveys the reality of the lives of Native American groups. Their communities have for centuries lived in small groups that had their own traditions, norms and rules. In the example of such tribes as Zuni, Pueblo, Navajo we see that each of these tribes has its particular origin and social structure, though at the same time they have common traditions and their beliefs are basically centered around the same powers.
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