Cultural Heritage of the Navajo

This page was written by Erin Klauk as part of the DLESE Community Services Project: Integrating Research in Education.

Three Navajo.
Three Navajo. Details

The Navajo reservation, created in 1868, is by far the largest reservation in the United States, with over 15 million acres of land, and a human population of over 148,000. The Diné, as they call themselves, have been remarkably successful at preserving their unique culture, despite an increasing shift toward Anglo-American lifestyles. It is estimated that approximately 80% of the population speaks the Navajo language (Navajo (Dine) (more info) ).

The Navajo originated from northwest Canada and Alaska around the 15th century, and many of their traditions have survived through time. Their arts, including weaving, basket making, pottery making, and jewelry making continue to be passed on to daughters and granddaughters. Many Navajo children raised on the reservation continue to herd sheep and livestock. The Diné believe they are sustained as a nation because of their enduring faith in the Great Spirit. Because of their strong spirituality, the Navajo people believe they will continue to survive as an Indian nation forever (Explore the Navajo Nation).

Two Navajo children riding a horse. Details

Investigate the Culture of the Navajo

Resources related to culture of the Navajo

For ideas on how to use these webpages in a classroom, a Study Guide is provided.