Language: Western Apachean
Family: Southern Athapaskan
Stock: Athapaskan
Phylum: Na-Dene
Macro-Culture: Southwest
Speakers 148,930    1990 Census

     The Apacheans, including the Navajos, began to arrive in the southwest from Canada late in the 15th century on a route that took them east of the Rockies. There is, however, evidence that four or so smaller groups may have migrated into the area via the Great Basin as early as the 12th century. Evidence of this also rests in the ethnie’s two religions, first the Begochidi or Enemy Way followed later by the Blessing Way. All of the so-called Navajo tribes were, at first, predatory nomadic hunter/gatherers. They acquired guns and horses early and preyed on the sedentary peoples of the area.

     The Navajo, upon arriving in the southwest, settled in north central New Mexico with many becoming pastoral and/or farmers albeit maintaining their predatory tendencies. They extended into northeastern Arizona as early as 1622, and later, southern Utah and Colorado. They were defeated by Kit Carson and interred for five years in New Mexico before establishing on a reservation in 1868.

     The Navajo are now the largest tribe in population in the United States.

Aboriginal Locations
Present Locations
Year History
1100 Possible earliest arrivals in southwest
1540 Probably first seen by Coronado
1583 Were growing some crops according to Diego Perez Luxan
16XX Introduction of sheep revolutionized tribal economic status
1629 First mentioned by Zarate-Salmaron
1696 Joined by some Pueblo refugees after Spanish reconquest
1753 Land grants given to Spanish settlers
1754 Ute and Comanche raids forced abandonment of Dinetah region
1804 Spanish military killed 118 in punitive attack at Massacre Canyon
1846 Treaty with United States
1847 Several punitive US military strikes
1849 Treaty with United States, disregarded
1851 Fort Defiance established
1860 Attacked Fort Defiance
1861 Fort Defiance abandoned due to Civil War
1863 Under orders to stop Navajo depredations, great numbers of sheep slaughtered by Kit Carson, 301 Navajos killed by troops, most of tribe taken prisoner and transferred to Fort Sumner, Bosque Redondo, NM "Long Walk"
1868 Reservation established on Arizona, New Mexico border, several later expansions into Utah, Arizona, New Mexico until 1949; Navajo raiding resumed
1870 Manualito and Narbano took action to curtail raiding
1893 Drought caused economic collapse
1897 Episcopalian hospital established at Ft. Defiance
1900 First on reservation boarding school established at Little Water
1902 Hopi Agency separated from Navajo
1924 Henry Chee Dodge elected chairman
1945 Tribe began to vote
1974 Navajo Relocation Act, expelled from Hopi/Navajo Joint Use Area
1985 Broken Rainbow won Academy Award for best documentary, subject: Navajo relocation from Hopi lands

Rodent borne viral epidemic, hantavirus

Year Population Source
1680 8,000 Mooney estimate
1700 8,000 NAHDB calculation
1800 8,000 NAHDB calculation
1855 7,500 BIA
1868 7,000  Tribal roll
1875 11,768 Terrell estimate
1895 20,500 BIA
1900 23,000 NAHDB calculation
1905 26,390 BIA
1947 56,000 Dale estimate
1980 146,000 Census estimate
1981 160,722 BIA
1989 185,661 BIA
2000  220,000 NAHDB projection
Population Apportionment
Location Arrival 1700 1800 1900 2000
AZ 6000 6000 6000 16000 119,000
NM 2000 2000 2000 6000 95000
UT  1000  6000
Total 8000 8000 8000 23000 220,000
Other speakers of the same language:
Navajo Sites:
Arizona, Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation
Begay, Fred
Blessing Way
Building a Hogan
Center for Dine' Studies
Chief Manuelito:  Navajo Tribe
Code Talkers - Wind Speakers
Coyote Way
Dodge, Henry Chee
Dodge, Henry Chee
Explore the Navajo Nation
Ganado History
Indian Wars of Arizona
Living in the Navajo Past
Navajo Authors
Navajo Basket:  Fannie King
Navajo Basket Weaving
Navajo Basket Weaving
Navajo Code Talkers
Navajo Code Talkers
Navajo Code Talkers
Navajo Code Talkers:  Marine Corps
Navajo Code Talkers - WWII
Navajo Conflicts
Navajo Cultural History and Legends
Navajo Culture
Navajo (Dine' Bizaad)
Navajo: Dine' (The People)
Navajo History
Navajo History and Ancestral Art Great site
Navajo-Hoip Land Commission Papers
Navajo Hopi Land Dispute
Navajo Indian Bread
Navajo Indian Jewelry Gallery
Navajo Indians
Navajo Indians
Navajo Indian Silversmithing
Navajo Indian Trading Post ...
Navajo Jewelry
Navajo Land
Navajo Language
Navajo Language
Navajo Language Bibliography
Navajo Language (Dineh)
Navajo Language Example
Navajo Linguistic Lineage
Navajo Nation
Navajo Nation
Navajo Night Way
Navajo Overview
Navajo Past
Navajo People
Navajo People
Navajo Pottery
Navajo Pottery
Navajo Pottery
Navajo Pottery
Navajo Pottery
Navajo Pottery
Navajo Pottery
Navajo Pottery
Navajo Pottery
Navajo Pottery, Alice Cling
Navajo Pottery, Fay Tso
Navajo Pottery, Kachina Dolls, and Dream Catchers
Navajo Pottery Making
Navajo Pottery, Vintage,vintage-navajo-pottery,795679.html
Navajo Rite of Passage, Kinaalda
Navajo Rug Repair Company
Navajo Rugs
Navajo Rugs
Navajo Sand Painting
Navajo Sand Paintings
Navajo Timeline
Navajo Treaty - 1868
Navajo Tribe:  Coal Production
Navajo Weaving History
Navajo Weaving, Social History
Navajo Woodcarver Bibliography
Manuelito 1818-1893
Manuelito Biography
Monument Valley:  Navajo Tribal Park
Pueblos of Dinetah
Simon Canyon Ruin
Totems to Turquoise
Stories of Navajo Crafts and Tradition
Traditional Navajo Clan Practices
Walk In Beauty:  Hozho and Navajo Basketry

Last updated 6/25/03  Copyright © 2003 by Four Directions Press