Traditional Navajo women’s clothing often includes a pleated velvet or cotton skirt with a matching long-sleeve blouse, a shawl, foot or knee -high moccasins, jewelry and a concho or sash belt. Men’s traditional dress also includes jewelry, moccasins and velveteen shirts.
The Navajo did not wear Indian headdresses. Men would wear cloth headbands. Mostly, men and women would wear ponchos or cloaks made from deerskin or rabbit fur.
The Navajo traditionally farmed squash, corn and beans and hunted animals such as deer and prairie dogs. Corn is a staple Navajo food and is eaten fresh, ground or dried. Other popular corn – and wheat-based foods include frybread, hominy, blue bread, roast corn and wheat sprouts.
For the Navajos, four colors have special meaning: black, white, blue, and yellow. These colors can symbolize many different things, including spiritual beings and important places in Navajo cul- ture.
Navajo metalsmiths make buckles, bridles, buttons, rings, canteens, hollow beads, earrings, crescent-shaped pendants (called “najas”), bracelets, crosses, powder chargers, tobacco canteens, and disks, known as “conchas” or conchos” – typically used to decorate belts – made from copper, steel, iron, and most commonly,
Color has many symbolic meanings in Navajo culture; in fact, a single color can mean several different things depending on the context in which it is used. Four colors in particular black, white, blue, and yellow have important connections to Navajo cultural and spiritual beliefs.
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. For this reason they were often called Chief’s Blankets.
The Navajo people call themselves Dine’, literally meaning “The People.” The Dine’ speak about their arrival on the earth as a part of their story on the creation.
Many Navajo children like to go hunting and fishing with their fathers. In the past, Indian kids had more chores and less time to play in their daily lives, just like colonial children. But they did have dolls, toys, and games to play. Navajo children liked to run footraces, play archery games, and ride horses.
Central to Navajo beliefs is the Navajo creation story. Here is one version: Humans emerged from a series of underworlds, where they existed as insects or animals. The deities, or Holy People, include Holy Supreme Wind, who gave life to all the other Holy People, and Changing Woman, who taught the people how to live.
The Navajo culture is big into ceremonies and rituals. Their performances are usually four days, two days, or one day. Although some chants could be as long as nine days and require dozens of helpers. The most important ceremonies are the ones for treatment of ills, mental and physical.
What was the lifestyle and culture of the Navajo tribe? Navajo tribe were a semi-nomadic people described as hunter-farmers. Men were in charge of hunting for food and protecting the camp and the women were in charge of the home and land. The Navajo kept sheep and goats and the women spun and wove wool into cloth.
The Diné believe there are two classes of beings: the Earth People and the Holy People. The Holy People are believed to have the power to aid or harm the Earth People. Since Earth People of the Diné are an integral part of the universe, they must do everything they can to maintain harmony or balance on Mother Earth.
To the Navajo tribe, the color turquoise represents happiness, luck, and health. Turquoise is also the most common component of Native American Jewelry. A horseshoe-shaped symbol or a symbol called “Naja” appeared often in tradition Navajo jewelry.
When the Spaniards arrived in the Southwest, they brought with them domestic animals such as cows, horses, and sheep. They also brought with them guns and tools, which were all new to the Indians. The presence and depredations of the Spaniards were to totally change the world of the Navajos.