Navajo Culture

2139 Words Nov 2nd, 2012 9 Pages
Final Draft on Navajo Culture
David Cable
ANT 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Prof. Justine Lemos
July 19, 2012

I) Introduction: The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American group in America today, and is the biggest Indian reservation in the United States. Situated in the northeastern part of Arizona and in the northwestern part of New Mexico, it is comprised of nearly ten million acres, or roughly fifteen thousand square miles. In this research paper the author will discuss at least three aspects of the Navajo culture that will include the kinship that the Navajo have with each other, the social structure within Navajo society, the economic organization that sustains the culture and their beliefs and values that
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The Navajo family is usually a nuclear one that consists of the husband, his wife and their children living in small wooden and mud houses called a Hogan, and live in small communities with other families. Although the mother is the main nurturer and authority figure of the family, the father still plays a large role in helping the mother raise the children and teaching them manners and their legends and chants. It is also the father’s responsibility for punishing and teaching respect to his children. And as his sons’ get older, it is not uncommon for the father to become his sons’ companion. B) Social Organization:
The leadership among the Navajo is an informal one, which is to say that there is lack of power and authority amongst the groups. Instead, leadership is earned slowly over time by how well he takes care of his sheep. Initially a newly married man will leave his sheep with his parents group, slowly moving his herd to his wife’s family group after children and marital stability have been established. Leadership is usually held by men who own the healthiest and largest herds of sheep, but they don’t have the ability to impose authority or their will over anyone. And in times of action, unanimity is the cultural rule among the Navajo leaders (Nowak, Laird, 2010). Although it is unlikely for a woman to be a leader in Navajo society, she is likely to own just as many sheep as the men do, with the herds being kept…