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Research on Two Minority Cultures Living in Arizona

Before the coming of the European colonizers into the United States, it is an accepted fact that aborigines from neighboring countries has settled in the area in search of their fortune. According to Edward Curtis, a known anthropologist, as presented in Northwestern University Digital Library Collections in 2004, in the plains and mountains of Arizona and New Mexico in 1000 B. C. E, a group of aborigines coming from Canada known as Athapaskans were already there. These aborigines group which later on separated from each other became the Apache and Navajo Indians.

Through the passage of time and nearly 400 years, the Indians were only slightly affected as they refused to accept the different civilization, religion and way of life of the colonizer. This paper aims to document the origin, life style, values, mores and the future of the two tribes in the face of the colonizer influence and globalization. E. Nabajo Indians 1. Origin According to library. thinkquest. org (n. d. ), the Navajo call themselves Dineh or “the people”. They settled in Southwestern United States coming all the way from Canada and Northwest Pacific coast between 1300’s to 1600’s.

Today, according to the book of Healy and Orenski, Navajos are the largest Indian tribe in the US constituting about 14% of the Native American population as of 1990 census and numbering more than 250,000. 2. Lifestyle The basic family unit is nuclear; being composed of the married couple, the immediate children, the grandparents and sometimes one or two grandchildren (Lassiter, 1998). The traditional Navajo society is matrilineal wherein women play a strong influential position in all life’s phases which encompass economic, religious and political areas. Under the Navajo

society, married couples usually build their home or “Hogan” near the house of the mother of the wife. The husband still continue to maintain strong ties with his mother’s family due to matriarchal closeness since childhood. The authors further added that the wife usually is in charge of building the Hogan which is a kind of a conical and pyramidal structure strengthened by wood and covered by leaves and brushes. . The wife is in charge of child rearing, household chores, food and fuel gathering and weaving basket and carpet chores. The husband practice agriculture and an expert in herding sheep and cattle, a chore that made the

Navajo tribes famous for. This chore and specialty called for extended families living and building their hogans adjacent to each other for sharing resources and assistance in herding. This resulted to a cooperative unit called “outfit” with 50 to 200 persons with close blood ties. The outfit is being headed by the female head of the most prominent family. Decisions are made by popular agreements during meetings. 3. Cultural beliefs It is the belief by the Navajos that a person get sick due to certain imbalances in the forces of nature around him. For this reason, well known Navajo healers were developed and trained

through time to do the healing using the Navajo way (Monsen, 2008). Navajo healers or medicine man can usually do four different ceremonies depending on the diagnostician which ceremony is appropriate. “Those four ceremonies are the Mountaintop Way and the Grandfathers’ Ceremony (nine-day events performed in winter), the Enemy Way (a four-day or two-day event performed in summer), and finally, the Lightning Way or Big Wind Way (a five- day or two-day event performed year-round)” (Ancient Ceremonies of the…, 4th par. ). to make the ceremonies more effective, sand paintings are usually used but not in the Enemy way. The

configuration of different sand colors represent the objectives and what part of the body to heal. The sand paintings were usually destroyed after the ceremony to prevent others from analyzing it. Ceremonies are currently being performed to address different disorders and imbalances particularly post-traumatic stresses among warriors returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. A modified sand painting A Navajo medicine man doing a ceremony to care for combat soldiers 3 4. Values and mores It was revealed by Lassiter (1998) that the greatest value that Navajos possess and maintain

is the respect for women. The value of living adjacent to each other and assist each other in agriculture and herding is also very dominant among Navajos. They too believe in the healing prowess of the medicine man who they revered much in their everyday living. Among the mores they highly follow is that they cannot intermarry with other clans in line with their mother and father. It was revealed further by Lassiter that men cannot converse directly with their mother in law as a gesture of deference and respect. Likewise brothers and sisters must prevent physical contact and restrain from talking to each other.

5. Future of Navajo tribes Today, economic growth is visible in Navajo reservation. According to Isc. temple. edu (n. d. ), uranium, timber, oil and natural gas became the sources of funds being held tribally and not individually under the guidance of the federal government. The funds are for social services and community development. Today, they have their own civil service and police force employing thousand men and women. The Navajo culture is in transition and slowly assimilating the more dominant American way of life Apache Indians 1. Origin

The Apaches hailed from the Athapascan tribe of Canada and western sub-arctic region of Alaska and migrated to northwestern part of North America as early as 850 AD. (members. tripod. com, n. d. ). This group of migrants called themselves “Nadine”. Statistics from U. S. Department of Justice reported that the 2000 population was about 57,060 men and women or about 2. 3% of indigenous tribes’ population in the U. S. 2. Lifestyle The Western Apache or Coyotero were born as nomadic people and by nature has to transfer from one place to another in search for food and wild animals to hunt. They were considered as

the bravest and daring of all Apache tribes as they earn a living mostly by raiding pueblos and 4 other settlements to steal food and animals. Campbell et al. , (2002) revealed that an Apache man has to prove his excellent raiding skills before he can marry and provide food and security for the extended family and be considered a leader. The men practice agriculture by just sowing seeds and return after a couple of months to harvest (Curtis 2004). Each of the seven Western Apache tribes considered themselves autonomous and distinct from each other although inter-marriage can occur (Pritzker 2000).

The author added that tribal cohesion is minimal and based on common territory, language and culture. A tribe is composed of 2 to 5 bands or groups of 35 to 200 people belonging to extended family headed by a chief. Women is the anchor of the Apache family and thus society is divided into several matrilineal clans. She is in-charge of building the house called “wiki-ups” out of lumber and grasses and animal hides as wall and roof during the winter. She gather food and firewood, cooks them, take care of the siblings, process the hides and do the basket weaving. The husband’s job is make weapons, train the

children on horseback riding, use the bow, arrow and spears and do the raiding job. 3. Cultural beliefs The Apache believe that the sun is the greatest source of power. They worship the medicine man or Shaman who perform ceremonies to heal the sick and get the blessing of the deities during healing ceremonies. Culture heroes like the White Painted Woman and her son Child of the Water were highly regarded just as the protective mountain spirits. They believe that the mountains and trees, water and rain have protective spirits as they came from once upon a time also a living thing (Pritzker 2000).

Supernatural power inherent in certain plants, minerals, celestial bodies, animals and weather are both the medium and goal in most Apache ceremonies. They believe that the shaman can facilitate the acquisition of power through his songs, prayers 5 and sacred objects which can be used in service of war, luck, rain making or life-cycle events in the likes of four- days puberty rites. The ultimate goal of achieving supernatural power from mountain deities, plants and sacred objects was to facilitate the maintenance of and balance of spiritual strength amidst the world’s conflicting forces. 4.

Values and Mores Pritzker (2000) revealed that Apache respect the elders and value honesty above all other qualities. Marriage is often arranged but the couple has the last say. Married man is not allowed to speak directly to their mother-in law as a sign of respect. All Apache tribes have great fear of ghosts. A dead person’s dwelling will be abandoned and burned so that the spirit cannot come back and haunt the living; his real name will never be spoken again as this kept the soul wandering in the Milky Way and cannot rest in peace. Interment followed quickly after death. 5. Future of Apache tribes

The tripod . com (n. d. ) reported that recently, the events in the reservation of the White Mountains were Western Apache chose to settle, point to the fact that they are adapting to the modern world and accepting the American ideals. Although life is a little bit easier than the days when they first move to the reservation, a very big number of Apache Indians are still living in poverty and unemployment is very high. They get plenty of revenue from hundreds of oil and gas wells on the reservation. Other group of Apache control and run the Sunrise Ski Resort and Fort Apache Timber Company.

The youth don’t stay long in school and get hook up with drugs while a handful make it through college and are now gainfully employed. It is just a matter of time and the tribe will still prosper through the help of the federal government. Apache are used to difficult life and they can easily get their way out of where they are now. It is just a matter of time, the website reported. F. Summary and Conclusion The documents point to the fact that The Navajos and Apache hailed from a common ancestor, the, Athapaskans of Canada. Differences in the way of looking a life separated the two into

6 tribes. Both society is being controlled matriarchal and build their homes in almost the same way and stay close to one another as clans. They have the same religious beliefs and practice ceremonies to cure diseases by achieving balance within the context of conflicting forces of nature though the intercession of medicine man. The Navajos seems to be more serious in life as they chose to be herders and ranchers and stay permanently in one place than be raiders and nomads as the Apaches. Both tribes are slowly assimilating the ideals of the American life. With

the assistance from the federal government, and with their inherent strength to fight hardships, the tribes in the future will achieve success and well being. It’s just a matter of time. In classroom setting, it can be emphasized that in life, to be successful in just a short time, being nomad and change decisions very often is not good. It can be related to the saying, “a rolling stone gathers no moss”. Secondly, an individual will not benefit in the long run getting or stealing the result of efforts by others as in the case of Apache which are raiders. Up to now, their success is very limited.

Thirdly, the student should make use of his strength, skills and intelligence to enhance his success and not steal the successes of others thus dwarfing the progress of both of them. An intelligent and skillful student should be conscientious and help those needing assistance to achieve more knowledge for both of them. G. References A. Navajo Tribe Primary sources Instructional Support Center. temple. edu (n. d. ). Chapter 3 The Navajo. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from http://isc. temple. edu/TNE/PDFs/TNEChapter03. pdf Library. thinkquest. org (n. d. ). The Navajo People. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from http://library. thinkquest.

org/J002073F/thinkquest/Navajo_people. htm Monsen, L. (2008). Navajo healers, Sand Paintings Keep Tribal Traditions Alive. America. gov, Telling America’s Story. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from http://www. america. gov/st/diversity- 7 english/2008/September/20080919122009GLnesnoM0. 2215998. html Secondary sources Healy, D. T. and Orenski, P. J. (2003). Native American Flags. Oklahoma City. Oklahoma University Press Lassiter, S. M. (1998). Cultures of Color in America. Westport, Connecticut. Greenwood Publishing Group. B. Apache Tribe Primary Sources Curtis, E. S. (2004). The North American Indian. Northwestern University Digital Library

Collections. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from http://curtis. library. northwestern. edu/curtis/ viewPage. cgi? showp=1&size=2&id=nai. 01. book. 00000033&volume=1#nav Members. tripod. com (n. d. ). Apache Indians. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from http://members. tripod. com/mazingaaZ/apache. htm Perry, S. W. (2004). American Indians and Crime. A BJS Statistical Profile. Office of Justice Programs. U. S. Department of Justice. Retrieved March 7, 2009 from http://www. ojp. usdoj. gov/bjs/pub/pdf/aic02. pdf Secondary sources Campbell, J. , Rachoweicki, R. , and Denniston, J. (2002). Southwest: Arizona, New Mexico,

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