Synopses & Reviews
What are the Navaho today? How do they live together and with other races? What is their philosophy of life? Both the general reader and the student will look to this authoritative study for the answers to such questions. The authors review Navaho history from archaeological times to the present, and then present Navaho life today. They show the people's problems in coping with their physical environment; their social life among their own people; their contacts with whites and other Indians and especially with the Government; their economy; their religious beliefs and practices; their language and the problems this raises in their education and their relationships to whites; and their explicit and implicit philosophy.
This book presents not only a study of Navaho life, however: it is an impartial discussion of an interesting experiment in Government administration of a dependent people, a discussion which is significant for contemporary problems of a wider scope; colonial questions; the whole issue of the contact of different races and peoples. It will appeal to every one interested in the Indians, in the Southwest, in anthropology, in sociology, and to many general readers.
This work forms the most thorough-going study ever made of the Navaho Indians, and perhaps of any Indian group. The book was written as a part of the Indian Education Research project undertaken jointly by the Committee on Human Development of the University of Chicago and the United States Office of Indian Affairs. The cooperation of a psychiatrist and anthropologist both in the research for, and in the writing of, this study is noteworthy--as is the fusion of methods and points of view derived from medicine, psychology, and anthropology. Probably no anthropological study has ever been based upon so many years of field work by so many different persons.
The book is so sympathetic and unbiased that anyone can approximately realize the problems that have harassed these people for years, and that have stood between them and those who surround them, the predatory whites as well as those who honestly attempt to reorganize their economic system without understanding its workability. Mabel Dodge Luhan
This collaboration between an anthropologist and a medic-psychiatrist has been a fortunate one. Professor Kluckhohn and Dr. Leighton have tried, as social scientists, to show the Navaho points of view, and then show how the Army, the missionary, the trader, the Indian Bureau, the white rancher or farmer surrounded the Navaho with new standards of ethical judgment and social procedure. The result was to frustrate much in the Navaho that had produced a sense of security and well-being. Chicago Sun
Although intended primarily as background reading for teachers and administrators in the Navajo Service, this book should have a special appeal for all Southwestern readers. Family life, social prejudices and ideal, religious preoccupations, as well as the daily struggle for livelihood, are described in terms which indicate why many of these cultural features unwittingly and inevitably prove stumbling blocks to an administrative service which seeks only to improve their health and economy...In short, this is a book of interpretation; the authors serve as translators of culture between the Navajo and the Indian Service, and any intelligent reader should achieve a new and sympathetic attitude toward both well-meaning and baffled factions. Anne Richards - New York Times
This book is one of a series of tribal monographs published on behalf of an Indian Education Research Project sponsored by the University of Chicago and the U.S. Office of Indian Affairs...The deep concern of the authors for the welfare of the Navajos is shown by it and other books which they have written, and it is a useful, though necessarily limited, study of culture contact, based on intimate knowledge...The production of the book is up to high standard which we expect of the Harvard University Press, and it is illustrated by some admirable photographs. A. H. Gayton - New Mexico Historical Review
The Navaho is one of a projected series of studies of Indian tribes designed to get at the real grassroots needs of improving the relationship of Indian and white, in both government and private spheres of activity...After a compact résumé of the tribe's history, both known and surmised from archaeology and mythology, the material background of the people is discussed in a chapter called "Land and Livelihood." Here are demographies, economics, technology, arts and crafts and their relation to the Americans through the government and the trader...Then comes the life of the tribe in its own frame...Three chapters concern that aspect of Navaho life which we call religious, basically its relation to the supernatural. Here both the details of material practice and the analysis of abstract thoughts are given, as well as discussions of the relationships of these concepts and customs to the individual, the group, and the outer world through economic and social aspects. G. H. S. Bushnell - Nature
This book is one of the most successful efforts so far to communicate the results of the anthropological study of one people to another people...the book is not addressed to the specialist in the study of culture...Without resort to dramatization or oversimplification, [it] should communicate to many kinds of American readers the goals and viewpoints of the Navahos. F. H. Douglas - Folklore and Folklorists
The authors review Navaho history from archaeological times to the present, and then present Navaho life today. This book presents not only a study of Navaho life, however: it is an impartial discussion of an interesting experiment in Government administration of a dependent people, a discussion which is significant for contemporary problems of a wider scope; colonial questions; the whole issue of the contact of different races and peoples.
About the Author
Clyde Kluckhohn, Ph.D., the late Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University, was in almost continuous contact with the Navaho Indians beginning in 1923. In 1942 he became an expert consultant to the United States Office of Indian Affairs. He was the Curator of Southwestern American Ethnology at the Peabody Museum until his death in 1960. He is the author of several books, among them Beyond the Rainbow and Navaho Witchcraft.Dorothea C. Leighton, M.D., a psychiatrist, received with Dr. Alexander Leighton the Joint Post-doctoral Research Training Fellowship of the Social Science Research Council in 1939-40. A Guggenheim Fellowship was also awarded jointly to her and Dr. Leighton. She passed away in 1989. She is co-author with Dr. Leighton of The Navaho Door.Lucy Wales Kluckhohn has done fieldwork in the Southwest and was assistant to the late Clyde Kluckhohn. She is the editor of the revised edition of Indians of the United States by Clark Wissler and, with Richard Kluckhohn, of the revised edition of The Navaho by Clyde Kluckhohn and Dorothea Leighton.
Table of Contents
Preface: Indian Education Research Project
Introduction: "The People" and this Study
1. THE PAST OF THE PEOPLE
Before the Dawn of History
The Spanish-Mexican Period [1626-1846]
The American Period [1846- ]
2. LAND AND LIVELIHOOD
The Land is Crowded
Sources of Navaho Livelihood
Livestock, Agriculture, Wild Plants and Animals, Lumber and Minerals, Arts and Crafts, Wage Work, Relief, Average Income.
Weaving and Silver Work, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Hunting, Transportation.
Regional Variations in Economy and Technology
The Role of the Government in the Navaho Economy
Soil Conservation and Stock Improvement, Tribal Enterprises, Other Economic Services.
Distribution of the Goods
The Trading Post.
The Future of the Navaho Economy
3. LIVING TOGETHER
What the People Look Like
The World of the Hogans
"A Room of One's Own," Sleeping and Eating, Cleanliness, Division of Labor, Recreation, Navaho Humor.
Personal Relations in the World of the Hogans
The Biological Family, The Extended Family, Dealing with Kinfolk, Ownership and Inheritance.
Relatives Beyond the Hogan Group
The "Outfit," The Clan, Linked Clans.
The Wider Circle of Personal Relations
Names and Naming, The "Local Group" or "Community," Leadership and Authority, The People as a Tribe.
4. THE PEOPLE AND THE WORLD AROUND THEM
Divisions Among Whites as seen by the People
Traders to the People
The Word of an Alien God
The People and the Government: The Navajo Agency
The Administrative Setup, Education for Navahos, Medical Services and Navaho Health, Law and Order.
The People Participate in Government
The Navajo Council, Tribal Courts.
The Government and the People: Present Problems
Navahos Working in the White World
Between Two Worlds
Navaho Attitudes Toward Whites
5. THE SUPERNATURAL: POWER AND DANGER
Beings and Powers
The Navaho Theory of Disease
Folk Tales and Myths
Folk Tales, Origin Myth, Rite Myths, Myths and Tales in Daily Life, The Family in Myth and Folklore.
6. THE SUPERNATURAL: THINGS TO DO AND NOT TO DO
Thou Shalt Not
Rites of Passage
Finding Things Out
The Way of Good Hope
Navaho Ceremonial Music
7. THE MEANING OF THE SUPERNATURAL
Economic and Social Aspects of Ceremonials
The Cost in Time, The Cost in Money, Cooperation and Reciprocity, Social Functions: the "Squaw Dance" as an Example.
What Myths and Rites Do For The Individual
Prestige and Personal Expression, Curing, Security.
What Myths and Rites Do For The Group
The Gain and Cost of Witchcraft
Anxiety, Aggression, Social Control.
8. THE TONGUE OF THE PEOPLE
A Quick Glance at Navaho Grammar
Nonverbal Parts of Speech, Navaho Verbs.
By Their Speech Shall Ye Know Them
Why Bother About the Language?
Establishing Good Relations, Dealing with Interpreters, Getting the Navaho Viewpoint.
9. THE NAVAHO WAY OF LIFE
Some Premises of Navaho Life and Thought
Seeing Things the Navaho Way
Notes and References