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captivity at one time; but, owing to escapes and additional surrenders, the number varied. All were not captured by Carson. Perhaps the most accurate census was taken in 1869, when the Government called them to receive a gift of 20,000 sheep and 2,000 goats. The Indians were put in a large corral and counted as they went in; only a few herders were absent. The result showed that there were less than 9,000, making due allowance for absentees. According to the census of 1890, which was taken on a faulty system, the tribe numbered 17,204. The census of 1900 places the population at more than 20,000, and in 1906 they were roughly estimated by the Indian Office to number 28,500.
According to the best recorded version of their origin legend, the first or nuclear clan of the Navaho was created by the gods in Arizona or Utah about five hundred years ago. People had lived on the earth before this, but most of them had been destroyed by giants or demons. When, the myth says, the gods created the first pair of this clan, it is equivalent to saying that they knew not whence they came and had no antecedent tradition of themselves. It is thus with many other Navaho clans. The story gives the impression that these Indians wandered into New Mexico and Arizona in small groups, probably in single families. In the course of time other groups joined them until, in the 17th century, they felt strong enough to go to war. Some of the accessions were evidently of Athapascan origin, as are most of the tribe, but others were derived from different stocks, including Keresan, Shoshonean, Tanoan, Yuman and Aryan, consequently, the Navaho are a very composite people. A notable accession was made to their numbers, probably in the 16th century, when the Thkha-paha-dinnay joined them. These were a people of another linguistic stock-Hodge says "doubtless Tanoan”— for they wrought a change in the Navaho language. A later very numerous accession of several clans came from the Pacific coast; these were Athapascan. Some of the various clans joined the Navaho willingly, others were the descendants of captives. Hodge has shown that this Navaho origin legend, omitting a few obviously mythic elements, can be substantiated by recorded history, but he places the beginning at less than five hundred years.
The Navaho are classed as belonging to the widespread Athapascan linguistic family, and a vocabulary of their language shows that the majority of their words have counterparts in dialects of Alaska, British America, and California. The grammatical structure is like that of Athapascan tongues in general, but many words have been inherited from other sources. The grammar is intricate and the vocabulary copious, abounding especially in local names.
The appearance of the Navaho strengthens the traditional evidence of their very composite origin. It is impossible to describe a prevailing type; they vary in size from stalwart men of six feet or more to some who are diminutive in stature. In features they vary from the strong faces with aquiline noses and prominent chins common with the Dakota and other northern tribes to the subdued features of the
Pueblos. Their faces are a little more hirsute than those of Indians farther east. Many have occiputs so flattened that the skulls are brachycephalic or hyperbrachycephalic, a feature resulting from the hard cradle board on which the head rests in infancy. According to Hrdlicka they approach the Pueblos physically much more closely than the Apache, notwithstanding their linguistic connection with the latter. In general their faces are intelligent and pleasing. They are celebrated for intelligence and good order. There is nothing somber or stoic in their character. Among themselves they are merry and jovial, much given to jest and banter. They are very industrious, and the proudest among them scorn no remunerative labor. They do not bear pain with the fortitude displayed among the militant forces of the north, nor do they inflict upon themselves equal tortures. They are, on the whole, a progressive people. Descent is in the female line; a man belongs to the clan of his mother, and when he marries must take a woman of some other clan. The social position of the women is high, and their influence great. They often possess much property in their own right, which marriage does not alienate from them.
The ordinary Navaho dwelling, or hogan, is a very simple structure, although erected with much ceremony. It is usually conical in form, built of sticks set on end, covered with branches, grass and earth, and often so low that a man of ordinary stature cannot stand erect in it. One must stoop to enter the doorway, which is usually provided with a short passage or storm
door. There is no chimney; a hole in the apex lets out the smoke. Some hogans are rude, polygonal structures of logs laid horizontally; others are partly of stone. In summer, “leanto' sheds and small inclosures of branches are often used for habitations. Sweat houses are small, conical hogans without the hole in the apex, for fires are not lighted in them; the temperature is increased by means of stones heated in fires outside. Medicine lodges, when built in localities where trees of sufficient size grow, are conical structures like the ordinary hogans, but much larger. When built in regions of lowsized trees, they have flat roofs. Of late, substantial stone structures, with doors, windows, and chimneys are replacing the rude hogans. One reason they built such houses is that custom and superstition constrained them to destroy or desert a house in which death had occurred. Such a place was called chindihogan, meaning “devil-house." Those who now occupy good, stone houses, carry out the dying and let them expire outside, thus saving their dwellings, and indeed the same custom is sometimes practiced in connection with the hogan. No people have greater dread of ghosts and mortuary remains.
The most important art of the Navaho is that of weaving. They are especially celebrated for their blankets, which are in high demand among the white people on account of their beauty and utility; but they also weave belts, garters, and saddle girths-all with rude, simple looms. Their legends declare that in the early days they knew not the art of weaving by means of a loom.
The use of the loom was probably taught to them by the Pueblo women who were incorporated into the tribe. They dressed in skins and rude mats constructed by hand, of cedar bark and other vegetal fibers. The few basket makers among them are said to be Ute or Paiute girls, or their descendants, and these do not do much work. What they make, though of excellent quality, is confined almost exclusively to two forms required for ceremonial purposes. The Navaho make very little pottery, and this of a very ordinary variety, being designed merely for cooking purposes; but formerly they made a fine red ware decorated in black with characteristic designs. They grind corn and other grains by hand on the metate. For ceremonial purposes they still bake food in the ground and in other aboriginal ways. For many years they have had among them silversmiths who fabricate handsome ornaments with very rude appliances, and who undoubtedly learned their art from the Mexicans, adapting it to their own environment. Of late years many of those who have been taught in training schools have learned civilized trades, and civilized methods of cooking.
By treaty of Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, September 9th, 1849, the Navaho acknowledged the sovereignty of the United States. By treaty of Fort Sumner, New Mexico, June 1st, 1868, a reservation was set apart for them in Arizona and New Mexico, and they ceded to the United States their claim to other lands. Their reservation has been modified by subsequent Executive orders.