This is the story of the Diné, The People, as the Navajos call themselves and there migration to Dinétah.
Dinétah is the traditional homeland of the Navajo tribe of Native Americans. In the Navajo language, the word “Dinétah” means “among the people”.
The Navajo, are the largest Native American group in North America.
The Navajos say they came from the north and archaeologists bear them out. From Bering Strait to the shores of Hudson Bay and from the Arctic Ocean to the American line, the native inhabitants are chiefly Athabascans.
Then down the coast of the Pacific, near the coast but seldom on it, little tribes of Athabascan stock mark the trail of a great southern migration which may or may not have brought the ancestors of the Navajos.
‘The earliest inhabitants of America were hunters who migrated from the Asian mainland across the Bering Straits land bridge between 40,000 and 25,000 B.C.E. ‘ (European Voyages of Exploration: Latin America University of Calgary The Applied History Research Group)
That a land bridge between Asia and North America existed during the last ice age is strongly supported by geological evidence. Ocean water locked up in glacial ice lowered sea levels to the point where a corridor up to 1600km or more wide existed between Siberia and Alaska.
“Long before Euro-Americans entered the Great Basin, substantial numbers of people lived within the present boundaries of Utah. Archaeological reconstructions suggest human habitation stretching back some 12,000 years. The earliest known inhabitants were members of what has been termed the Desert Archaic Culture–nomadic hunter-gatherers with developed basketry, flaked-stem stone tools, and implements of wood and bone. They inhabited the region between 10,000 B.C. and A.D. 400.
These peoples moved in extended family units, hunting small game and gathering the periodically abundant seeds and roots in a slightly more cool and moist Great Basin environment.
About A.D. 400, the Fremont Culture began to emerge in northern and eastern Utah out of this Desert tradition. The Fremont peoples retained many Desert hunting-gathering characteristics yet also incorporated a maize-bean-squash horticultural component by A.D. 800-900. They lived in masonry structures and made sophisticated basketry, pottery, and clay figurines for ceremonial purposes. Intrusive Numic peoples displaced or absorbed the Fremont sometime after A.D. 1000.
Beginning in A.D. 400, the Anasazi, with their Basketmaker Pueblo Culture traditions, moved into southeastern Utah from south of the Colorado River. Like the Fremont to the north the Anasazi (a Navajo word meaning “the ancient ones”) were relatively sedentary peoples who had developed a maize-bean-squash-based agriculture.
The Anasazi built rectangular masonry dwellings and large apartment complexes that were tucked into cliff faces or situated on valley floors like the structures at Grand Gulch and Hovenweep National Monument. They constructed pithouse granaries, made coiled and twined basketry, clay figurines, and a fine gray-black pottery. The Anasazi prospered until A.D. 1200-1400 when climactic changes, crop failures, and the intrusion of Numic hunter-gatherers forced a southward migration and reintegration with the Pueblo peoples of Arizona and New Mexico.”
|Archaeologists believe the indigenous peoples that eventually populated the Americas occurred in three separate migrations.The largest of these groups is referred to as the Amerind (Paleo-Indians). The Amerind, which includes most Native Americans south of the Canadian border, commenced around 11,500 B.C..A second migration called the Na-Dene occurred between 10,000 B.C. and 8, 000 B.C.. Even though at this point the Bering Sea separated Siberia and Alaska, it was only three miles wide in some places.
The Athapascan speaking populations of Canada and the United States belong to this group of migrants. The Apache and Navajo in the southwestern United States are from the Athapascan migrants.
The third migration around 3,000 B.C. included the Aleuts and Eskimos of Alaska, Canada, and the Aleutian Islands (Taylor).
According to modern belief The Navajos are descended from that great race which produced Genghis Khan and conquered in his lifetime half the world. While the victorious Mongols were driving relentlessly west and south, making kings and emperors their vassals, some small fragments of their clans were crossing Bering Sea, probably on the ice, and gradually overrunning North America.
|There are, many significant facts which, to the student of literature at least, prove an Asiatic origin.The Venetian traveler, Marco Polo, who visited the Court of Kublai Khan in 1275, gives some very interesting accounts of the Mongols,At a later date the French Jesuit, M. Hue, describes the wild tribes of the Grasslands. We have thus a picture of the social life of the Mongols with which to make comparisons.
Both authors agree that among the primitive Mongols the women attended to all the trading.They bought and sold and provided every necessity for their husbands and families: ‘The time of the men,’ as Marco Polo says, ‘being entirely devoted to hunting, hawking, and matters that relate to military life.’
The same is true among the Navajos to-day, as far as the women are concerned.
“Wherever they went — until the white people subdued them — the Dineh’ like the Mongols, were raiders and spoilers. The mystery of the vanished Cliff-Dwellers is a mystery no longer when we know the nature of the warriors who came among them. The Zuñis told Cushing that twenty-two different tribes had been wiped out by the Enemy People, as they called them; and the walled-up doors of proud Pueblo Bonito testify mutely to the fears of its inhabitants.” (Dane Coolidge 1930)
History of the Navajo
Ancient Navajo and Native Americans Migrations
First Contact with the Navajo – 1540
The Americans and the Navajo
The Mexicans and the Navajo
The Spanish and the Navajo
Navajo Long Walk to Bosque Redondo
Antonio el Pinto Chief of the Navajos