By Mikey Riley
Southwestern Indians are now basically any American Indian that inhabit the
southwestern part of the U.S.
Through highly diversified culturally the Southwestern Indians are put into
Pima, Pueblo, Navajo, and the Apache.
But, the main tribes were the Navajo and the Apache.
Navajo; Early History
Sometimes referred to as the Dine`.
Speak the dialect of the language family referred to as Athabaskan.
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
They met the Pueblo Indians who were farmers, and the Navajo tribe began to
settle near them and learn from them.
The Navajo learned how to plant corn, beans, squash, and melons. They also
learn how to weave, make clothing and things like art. All from the Pueblo
The Navajo Indians lived
in homes called hogans.
The hogans consisted of
wooden poles, tree bark
and mud. The doorway
always opened to the
east so that they could
welcome the sun.
Hogan’s are know as
traditional earth houses.
The Navajo started to use the stolen animals to their benefits and they used
them in their daily life.
After the Spanish settled in the 1600’s, the Navajo began to steal sheep and
horse’s from them.
They used the sheep for its wool to make clothes, blankets, rugs, and
sometimes even for food.
They used the horses to travel longer distances and therefore they started
The Indians made items to trade in towns, and also trading posts built on
reservations to sell their handmade crafts, likes pottery and blankets.
Navajo men wore breechcloths and the women wore skits made of
woven yucca fiber.
Shirts were not necessary in Navajo culture, but both men and women
wore deerskin ponchos or cloaks of rabbit fur in cool weather, and
moccasins on their feet.
After sheep were introduced and Navajo women could weave larger
woolen items, men began to wear poncho-style wool shirts, women
began to wear wool dresses with shoulder straps, and heavy wool
blankets began to replace fur cloaks. In the late 1800's and early 1900's,
long velveteen shirts and blouses came into fashion and Mexican-style
full cotton skirts became popular with Navajo women.
The Navajo traditionally did not wear feather war bonnets. The men
usually wore cloth headbands tied around their foreheads instead.
Both men and women wore there hair gathered into a figure eight
shaped bun called a tsiyeel.
Indian war bonnet
The Navajo reservation is currently the largest in the United States.
It has over 140,000 people with 16 million acres. Which most are in
But there are also Navajo Indians living in Arizona, Utah, and New
They still weave 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 some technology in there living.
Today, many Navajo people still have moccasins or a velveteen blouse,
but they wear modern clothes like jeans instead of breechcloths and
they only wear traditional regalia on special occasions like a wedding or
Apache; Early History
The word "apache" comes from the Yuma word for "fighting-men" and
from the Zuni word meaning "enemy."