Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Navajo People

This week I have chosen to look at the Navajo people. The Navajo nation extends into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico covering over 27,000 square miles of unparalleled beauty. Navajoland is larger than 10 out of the 50 states in America. The Navajo nation truly is a nation within a nation.

The History

Centuries before Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas, Navajos were already settled in the Four Corners area of the Colorado Plateau. The first white men were trappers, beginning as early as 1820. The California gold rush in 1849 brought many settlers invading the land of the Navajo. Home were built, land was farmed and live stock grazed on the ranges. The whites took their land as their own regardless in the indigenous people who had arrived their before them. If the Navajos got in the way of this "progress" then they were pushed out and often shot. The Navajos fought back and wars began, resulting in the establishments of forts set up by troops sent to protect the settlers.

Patients began to wear thin between the Navajos and the whites. By 1863 the last campaign was launched against the tribe. The plan was to remove all Navajos from their homeland. The settlers destroyed all crops, killed livestock and polluted the water. Eventually the settlers rounded them up at Canyon De Chelly and sent them on a "long walk" to eastern New Mexico. It was during this time that the government decided that the tribes needed to be separated from each other and reservations were established. The Navajos endured four years of hardship in an internment camp until the Treaty of 1869, when they were allowed to return to their beloved homeland. Thousand had died but with determination the Navajos survived and re-established themselves so successfully they are now the largest Indian tribe in the United States.

Problems Faced Today

This tribe does not seem to have as many problems as other tribes as they have many established businesses and are the largest tribe in America. There are many public services such as the Employment Assistance program, Social Services and Education Links.

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