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Navajo History

Navajo, or Dine -they call themselves, is the largest tribe of North American Indians. Long ago, the ancestors lived in Northwestern Canada and Alaska. Over 1,000 years ago they began to travel south and reached the southwestern United States. They met farmers who are known as Pueblo Indians, and the Navajo began to settle near them and learn from them. The Navajo learned how to plant corn, beans, squash, and melons. The Navajo also began to learn a similar style of weaving, making clothing and art from the Pueblo Indians. The Navajo Indians lived in homes called hogans. They are made from wooden poles, tree bark, and mud. The doorway opened to the east so they could welcome the sun.

After the Spanish settled in the 1600's, the Navajo began to steal sheep and horses from them. The Navajo started to use the animals in their daily life. They used the sheep for its wool to make clothes, blankets, and rugs. They also used the sheep for food. They used the horses to travel longer distances and also used them to begin trading. The Navajo began making items to trade in towns. There were also trading posts built on reservations to sell their handmade crafts, such as pottery and blankets.

The Navajo reservation is currently the largest in the United States. It has over 140,000 people with 16 million acres most of which are in Arizona. They still weave from wool and use natural vegetable dyes for color. Today, people live like the old days the best they can with the modern lifestyle, but others use modern technology to live. 

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