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Native Americans

Navajo Tribe


History >> Native Americans for Kids

The Native American Navajo tribe is one of the largest tribes of American Indians. They lived in the Southwest in areas that are today Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah. The name "Navajo" comes from the Spanish who called them the Apaches of Navajo. They called themselves "Dine" or "the People".

What type of homes did the Navajo live in?

The Navajo lived in hogans. A hogan was a domed shaped house with a wood frame and walls made out of clay. The door of the hogan always faced east so they could see the sun rise.

Navajo Hogan
Navajo Hogan


What did the Navajo eat?

The Navajo were farmers who grew the three main crops that many Native Americans grew: corn, beans, and squash. After the Spanish arrived in the 1600s, the Navajo began to farm sheep and goats as well, with sheep becoming a major source of meat. They also hunted animals for food like deer and rabbits. They made dishes like mutton stew, fried cornbread, and even grilled prairie dog.

What types of clothes did they wear?

Before they started raising sheep, the Navajo wore clothes made of woven yucca plants or deerskin. The men wore breechcloths and the women skirts. Their shoes were soft leather moccasins. Later, they wore clothes woven from the wool of sheep.

Navajo weaver
Navajo weaver


Navajo Rugs and Blankets

The Navajo are known for their woven rugs and blankets. They first learned to weave cotton from the Pueblo peoples. When they started to raise sheep they switched to wool. These blankets were valuable and only the wealthy leaders could afford them. For this reason they were often called Chief's Blankets. Today, Navajo rugs and blankets are still in demand and can still be quite expensive.

Navajo Blanket
Navajo Blanket


Navajo Jewelry

In the olden days of the Navajo, the arts and crafts were divided between men and women. Women wove blankets and made clay pots while the men made jewelry. One form of jewelry that is still popular today is silver jewelry. The Navajo like to use turquoise in their jewelry as well.

The Long Walk

In 1864, around 9,000 Navajo were forced by soldiers on a march from Arizona to New Mexico. Around 200 people died during the 450 mile trek. The relocation was poorly planned and unsuccessful. Four years later the Navajo were allowed to return to their homeland.

Fun Facts about the Navajo Indians Take a ten question quiz at the Navajo Nation questions page.

For more Native American history:

Culture and Overview
Timeline of Native American History
Agriculture and Food
Native American Art
American Indian homes and Dwellings
Homes: The Teepee, Longhouse, and Pueblo
Native American Clothing
Entertainment
Religion
Mythology and Legends
Glossary and Terms

Tribes
Tribes and Regions
Apache Tribe
Cherokee Tribe
Chickasaw
Inuit
Iroquois Indians
Navajo Nation
Pueblo
Seminole
Sioux Nation

People
Famous Native Americans
Chief Joseph
Sacagawea
Sitting Bull
Maria Tallchief
Tecumseh
Jim Thorpe

Back to Native American history for Kids

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