Saturday, July 29, 2017

Learning about the Navajo (Diné)

For the past two weeks, our family has been learning about the Navajo, AKA Diné ("the people"). We live in Colorado, so we went all-out with a multi-day family field trip to visit sites on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona.

The children saw Shiprock, Four Corners, Canyon de Chelly, and Window Rock (which has a great little zoo of animals that live on the reservation). They saw hogans, dirt roads, sheep, horses, a roadside flea market, gorgeous scenery, and cliff dwellings. They ate fry bread tacos and lots of corn and beans; blue cornmeal mush is on the menu for today, our last day before moving on from learning about the Navajo.

We listened to the beautiful, haunting music of R. Carlos Nakai. We learned about sand painting, southwest pottery, and Navajo rugs. We met Navajo dancers at a canyon overlook who were doing a photo op preparatory to a trip abroad to educate about US indigenous cultures.

We went to Mesa Verde National Park, too, although that is outside the Navajo reservation. Who knew that the Navajo are descendants of Native Americans who came from Alaska around 600 years ago? They have been influenced by the other natives who were already living in the southwest, but they weren't the people who built the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings.

No comments:

Post a Comment