Sample Essay on The Navajo People

The Navajo People


According to anthropologists, these people have the ability to adapt to foreign ideas and lifestyles, which they blend with their own (Locke 33). Moreover, it has been established that first Navajo people were nomadic in nature before they integrated other cultures to influence their own (Woods 29). They migrated from Canada around 900 and 1200 AD and found a settlement site in the Southwest of America. Here, they met with Pueblo Indian and their interactions affected so much on their culture and activities. It is worth pointing out that this interaction transformed them from being nomadic to sedentary lifestyle.

Agricultural Activities

Historians have established that major cultural changes occurred when Navajo people interacted with Spanish colonialist who showed them how to trend flocks of sheep (Woods 34).  Consequently, they also showed them horses and the fact that they could be used for transportation and to plough rich agricultural fields. Introduction of sheep into their culture prompted them to move south and west in search of pastures to herd their flock.

Today, Navajo people are an agriculturalist community compared to their ancient activities that entailed hunting and gathering. The ancient activities made historians to describe them as being nomadic since they had to move from one place to another in search temporary settling places. Historically, their interaction with Pueblo Indians introduced to them the concept of farming; this became their primary mode of subsistence. They were showed on how to cultivate and till land where they grew beans, corn and quash. In modern times, Navajo have supplemented their horticultural farming by herding sheep, goats and cattle.

This practice has tremendously changed Navajo from a horticultural community into an agricultural society. Studies have confirmed that women and girls own all sheep in the community while men and boys own cattle and horses (Cunningham & Benoit 44).  Moreover, women also own herds of sheep and their resultant products and produce, this ownership is critical in the social status of the society. This anchored on their belief that sheep were there before their arrival and settlement. Some people have also pointed out assertions contrary to this by avowing that individuals own sheep, but the herds are communally owned (Cunningham & Benoit 77). Furthermore, the products are also shared amongst themselves, as owners donate animals for meat and wool is shorn and sold communally.

Additionally, gender roles have tremendously changed since in modern times men are actively involved in farming which was not the case initially. It has been avowed that Navajo are excellent farmers because they are able to move and settle in incredible landscapes. Subsequently, they have developed sophisticated and excellent techniques and farming practices that have aided their survival and thus thrive in challenging climates. Their rich agricultural lands are both small scale and diverse and comprise a range of healthy fruits, vegetables and beans. To ensure continuity in quality and productivity, Navajo people practice numerous cultivation and soil regeneration techniques. Their farming implements have been considered less modern though they have used them effectively to allow settlements to thrive.


Historically, it has been discovered that Navajo began living in communities and formed settlements that revolved around agriculture and farming (Cunningham & Benoit 38). They developed their own unique techniques that they used to produce food for their local population. However, modern agriculture makes most of their practices invisible; they relish opportunities and thus have continued living with their rich agricultural roots.

Works Cited

Cunningham, Kevin, and Peter Benoit. The Navajo. New York: Children’s Press, 2011. Print.

Locke, Raymond F. The Book of the Navajo. Los Angeles: Mankind Pub. Co, 2001. Print.

Woods, Geraldine. The Navajo. New York: Franklin Watts, 2002. Print.