Navajo Traditions

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The Navajo Indian Cultural Anthropology The Navajo Indians of the Southwestern United states have a distinct social organization, kinship, and a both traditional and biomedical way that they approach sickness and healing. Their social organization revolves around their community and the Earth. Kinship for the Navajo is matriarchal and they are a pastoral society. The traditional Navajo have medicine men that the tribe goes to for any sickness and healing that needs to be done. The modern Navajo has established the Indian Health Service as their standard medical facility and agency. I will go into more detail on all three areas of the tribe’s society of the Navajo people throughout this paper. The tribes of the Navajo Indians…show more content…
There has been almost as much research done on the healing and health care of the Navajo Nation. There are three parts to the way that traditional Navajos view sickness and healing. There is ceremonial healing, church healing and biomedical healing. The ceremonial healing traditionally been the main avenue for health care on Navajo lands. This involves ritual healing performed by a Shaman. Native american church healing involves work with the church and involves faith and a priest. Biomedical healing is relatively new on the reservation (Csordas 2000). The implementation of Indian Health Services has really opened the door for the Navajo reservations. They are able to receive modern health care when they had to go hundreds of miles before. Ritual healing involves “health, emotion, identity, religion, self, suffering, modernity, and colonial situation”, according to Thomas Csordas, who spent a lot of time on the Indian lands with anthropologists studying the Navajo and their daily lives. There is one ceremonial healing practice that was studied in depth by Thomas Csordas and that is the Night Way Ceremony. The Nightway Ritual is one of the most elaborate of Navajo healing rituals. This ritual involves “chants, dances, prayers, myths (Mathews 1995) and genealogy of various forms” (Faris 1990). This is a nine day long ritual with a very balanced application of the
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