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The Navajo Indians

             The Navajo Indians today are the largest Indian nation in the United States. They have the largest reservation in Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. The Navajos name for themselves is Dine, which means "The People".
             The Navajo culture depended largely on their surroundings and where they lived. The Navajo's used to live in far Northern America, today's Alaska and Canada. Originally, they were hunters. They made bows and arrows to kill. Their clothing and houses were made from animal skins and they made baskets. Their religious leaders were responsible for dealing with the forces of nature and curing the sick. .
             When the Navajo's moved to the Southwest they took their culture with them, but it soon changed. The culture changed because of their new environment and other people's influences. However, even with all the other languages around them, they kept their language. They had new clothing for a hotter climate. The women wore dresses, moccasins, a belt and jewelry. Men wore a shirt, moccasins and jewelry. They built new homes called hogans. These were made from logs, tree bark and mud. The door opens to the east to welcome the sun. They were a single room about 20 to 30 feet in diameter. Homes were built close to relatives. In their culture, individuals were important but mostly as a part of the larger social unit. Children were raised by an extended family, including aunts, uncles and grandparents. Extended families worked together in agriculture and to build new homes. All members of the family had their roles to play. The children watched the elder people of their sex to learn what to do. Women had an important role in the family and society. They had roles in politics, economics and religion. Girls married soon after reaching puberty and their marriages were considered a lifelong commitment. The new couple usually would live near the wife's mother. They belonged to clans.

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