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Indigenous Voices of the Colorado Plateau


 Indigenous Voices




 Kaibab Paiute

     Code Talkers
     Miss Navajo
     The Long Walk
     Livestock Reduction

 White Mountain Apache

Save the Peaks!

 Merriam Report

Play "Donkey song" ♬


The Navajo Nation extends into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, covering over 27,000 square miles. Diné Bikéyah, or Navajoland, is larger than ten of the 50 states in America.

The migration of Anglo-Americans to the ancestral Navajo lands soon led to conflict between Navajos and the United States Government. In 1864, the United States Army decided to gather all the Navajo people for relocation, though many hid near such locations as Canyon de Chelly and Navajo Mountain. Many Navajo refused to surrender, despite Carson destroying their crops and sheep, burning their villages, and killing their families.

Those who survived were sent to Fort Sumner on the "Long Walk." Several hundred Navajos died on this walk due to starvation and cruel treatment. The Peace Commission and the Treaty of 1868 allowed the Navajo to return to their homeland after four terrible years of incarceration.

Navajo tribal membership encompasses over 300,000 people, spanning more than 14 million acres of reservation land as well as nearby cities. Many Navajo children are fluent in both Navajo and English. The Navajo language has not only helped to preserve the Navajo culture but was also utilized as a U.S. Army code to disguise transmissions from the Japanese during World War II. Navajo arts continue to be passed on from generation to generation, through the crafts of rug weaving, basket making, pottery making, and jewelry making.

Many Navajo children raised on the reservation continue to herd sheep and livestock. Schools are accessible to most families, but sometimes it is necessary that a family living many difficult miles away send the children to boarding school. The Navajo appreciate and respect their culture and are proud of their ability to preserve traditional ways for future generations.

Navajo Nation

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