The Impact of Pastoralism on the Navajo Tribe

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“The Impact of Pastoralism on the Navajo Tribe” Tiesha Brown ANT 101 Bernando Rios April 1, 2013 “The Impact of Pastoralism on the Navajo Tribe” The human society has been around for as long as we can remember. As the human society evolved over the years, many cultures have been formed. There are many things that contribute to one’s culture. One of those attributes is a culture’s subsistence. In this paper I will discuss the Navajo Tribe’s key subsistence which is pastoralism; and how it impacts their economy, social organization, beliefs, and values. Navajo pastoralism started as early as the eighteenth century, but there has been speculation that it arose earlier than mention. Pastoralists usually reside in grasslands, mountains, tundra, or desserts. This is the primary mode of subsistence for this tribe. According to Nowak and Laird (2010) pastoralism is defined as, “a subsistence strategy involved in herding animals such as sheep, goats, camels, alpaca, reindeer, and cattle” (5.1) The Navajo tribe can be found in the Southwestern region of the United States. It is considered to be one of the fastest growing tribal groups in America. Although they were found in the U.S., this indigenous society started in the country of Canada and eventually migrated to the southwestern region. A journalist Deanna Kingston (2000) noted, “Briefly, Navajo history began in the western subarctic, where they were primarily hunters and gathers, after which they migrated to the American Southwest” (pg.341). Although archeologists aren’t quite sure of when pastoralism first began, it is definite that it took place when the Navajo society arrived to the Southwestern United States. Weisiger, (2004), states: Navajo pastoralism arose early in the eighteenth century from the semiarid canyons of the Dine homeland--Dinetah--where women and men incorporated Spanish livestock into

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