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CREATION OF — OF COMPOSITE ORIGIN —
THE PEOPLES - THE CHANGING WOMAN—CREATION OF MAN. NAVAHO (pronounced Ná-va-ho, from Tewa Navahú, the name referring to a large area of cultivated lands, applied to a former Tewa pueblo, and, by extension, to the Navaho, known to the Spaniards of the 17th century as Apaches de Navajo, who intruded on the Tewa domain or who lived in the vicinity, to distinguish them from other “Apache" bands. Fray Alonso Benavides, in his Memorial of 1630, gives the earliest translation of the tribal name, in the form Nauajo, “sementeras grandes”—“great seed sowings,” or “great fields." The Navaho themselves do not use this name, except when trying to speak English. All do not know it, and none of the older generation pronounces it cor
rectly, as v is a sound unknown in their language. They call themselves “Dine,” which means simply people. This word, in various forms, is used as a tribal name by nearly every people of the Athapascan stock).
An important Athapascan tribe occupying a reservation of 9,503,763 acres in northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico and southeastern Utah. Here they are supposed to remain, but many isolated families live beyond the reservation boundaries in all directions. Their land has an average elevation of about 6,000 feet above sea level. The highest point in it is Pastora Peak, in the Carrizo mountains, 9,420 feet high. It is an arid region and not well adapted to agriculture, but it affords fair pasturage. For this reason the Navaho have devoted their attention less to agriculture than to stock raising There were formerly few places on the reservation, away from the borders of the Rio San Juan, where the soil could be irrigated, but there were many spots, apparently desert, where water gathered close to the surface and where, by deep planting, crops of corn, beans, squashes, and melons were raised. Within the last few years the Government has built storage reservoirs on the reservation and increased the facilities for irrigation.
It may be that under the loosely applied name Apache, there is a record of the Navaho by Oñate as early as 1598, but the first to mention them by name was Zarate-Salmeron, about 1629. They had Christian missionaries among them in the middle of the 18th century, but their teachings did not prevail against paganism.
For many years previous to the occupancy of their country by the United States they kept up an almost constant predatory war with the Pueblos and the white settlers of New Mexico, in which they were usually the victors. When the United States took possession of New Mexico in 1849 these depredations were at their height. As stated in a former volume, the first military expedition into their country was that of Col. Alex W. Doniphan, of the First Missouri Volunteers, in the fall of 1846. On behalf of the United States, Doniphan made the first treaty of peace with the Navaho November 22nd of that year, but the peace was not lasting. In 1849, another military force, under the command of Col. John M. Washington, penetrated the Navaho land as far as Chelly Canyon, and made another treaty of peace on September 9th, but this treaty was also soon broken. To put a stop to their wars, Col. “Kit” Carson invaded their territory in 1863, killed so many of their sheep as to leave them without means of support, and took the greater part of the tribe prisoners to Fort Sumner at the Bosque Redondo on the Rio Pecos, New Mexico. Here they were kept in captivity until 1867, when they were restored to their original country and given a new supply of sheep. Since that time they have remained at peace and greatly prospered.
There is no doubt that the Navaho have increased in number since they first became known to the United States, and are still increasing. In 1867, while they were prisoners and could be counted accurately, 7,300 of them were held in