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The Navajo is one of the largest Indian tribes in the United States.  Their reservation is the largest in the country, encompassing parts of three states, Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The small white area in the middle of the reservation is the Hopi reservation.

 

Traditional Navajos live in round dwellings called Hogans.   To see a photo of a hogan, CLICK HERE

We believe that everyone must live in a state of perfect balance and harmony called hozho.  Being out of balance leads to illness and accidents.  If a person is ill, they may go to a Navajo medicine person to diagnose the imbalance.  The Medicine person can be either a hand-trembler, a crystal gazer or a star gazer.

Once the exact nature of the imbalance is determined, the patient then goes to a Hataalii, which is a Medicine person who heals through a complex ceremony called a "sing".  These involve sand paintings and chant, and can last as long as 3 days.  Many of the sings have been lost over time.

The sand paintings are also called "dry paintings" and the patient sits in them.  When the sing is finished, the sand painting is destroyed.

To see some photos of sand paintings, you can go here:

http://student.santarosa.edu/~lgrazios/Navajo.html 

http://www.canyonart.com/sandrugs.htm 

The Navajo have a very complex and precise language.  This is why the Navajo code talkers were so successful during the second World War.  They transmitted important messages using their native language as the code, and the Japanese were never able to break this.

To learn more about the Navajo, try these sites:

http://www.lapahie.com/index.cfm  Homepages of Harrison Lapahie Jr.

http://www.cia-g.com/~rockets/nmnavajo.htm  Excellent collection of Navajo links

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~kchief/  Homepage of Karletta Chief

http://waltonfeed.com/peoples/navajo/index.html A lot of information here, including a link to hear Navajo being spoken