Discover your family's story.

Enter a grandparent's name to get started.

Start Now

Cañon de Chelly and Bosque Redondo

We left the Navahos in their chronic state of war, that is to say, the state of robbing their neighbors and being robbed by them while the troops were absent, and of making peace when the troops marched against them. From the mass of conflicting testimony taken in 1865, in regard to the Indian history of New Mexico, and from other sources, it appears that one side made aggressions about as often as the other, the common opinion being that the Navahos captured the greater number of sheep, and the Mexicans the greater number of slaves. The Navahos were preferred to other Indians for slaves on account of their tractable nature, intelligence, light skins, and the voluptuousness of the females. Dr. Louis Kennon, whose opportunities for observation had been good, testified, ” I think the number of Navajo captives held as slaves to be underestimated. I think there are from five to six thousand. I know of no family which can raise one hundred and fifty dollars but what purchases a Navajo slave, and many families own four or five the trade in them being as regular as the trade in pigs or sheep. Previous to the war their price was from seventy-five to a hundred dollars, but now they are worth about four hundred dollars. But the other day some Mexican Indians from Chihuahua were for sale in Santa Fe. I have been conversant with the institution of slavery in Georgia, but the system is worse here, there being no obligation resting on the owner to care for the slave when he becomes old or worthless.” Of course...

Los Nabajos

Of all the interesting Indians of the Far West none are more interesting than the Navahos. The name is a Spanish one, in their orthography Nabajos or Navajos, and signifies ponds or small lakes. Their country, which abounds in these, most of them full in the rainy season and dry the remainder of the year, was originally called Navajoa, and the Indians, in the old New Mexican records, were called “Apaches de Navajoa,” which has gradually given place to the present form. The Apaches proper call them Yu-tah-kah, and they call themselves Tenuai or “men,” a title which nearly all the American tribes take to themselves in their respective languages. Their home, from our earliest knowledge of them, has been in the northwestern corner of New ‘Mexico and the northeastern corner of Arizona. It may, in a general way, be described as lying between parallels 35 and 37 of north latitude and 107 and 111 of west longitude; or east of the Moqui villages, north of Zuñi, west of the divide between the Rio Grande and the Pacific slope, and south of the Rio San Juan. Across it, from southeast to northwest, is a ridge of high land which takes a mountainous shape at the northern end. It is there known as the Sierra Tunicha; farther south as the Chusca; still to the south and cast as the Mesa de Lopos; and terminates at the southeast as the Sierra San Mateo. In the southern part is a low range called the Zuñi Mountains, and in the northwest a more rugged chain known as the Calabasa (Calavaser) Mountains. The country...

Navaho Indian Bands, Gens and Clans

Many tribes have sub-tribes, bands, gens, clans and phratry.  Often very little information is known or they no longer exist.  We have included them here to provide more information about the tribes. Bithani (folded arms). A Navaho clan. Dsihlthani (brow of the mountain). A Navaho clan. Dsihltlani (base of the mountain). A Navaho...

Navajo Code Talkers

By MT Sgt. Murrey Marder Corps Combat Correspondent Reprinted by Admission of The Marine Corps Gazette Through the Solomon’s, in the Marianas, at Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and almost every island where Marines have stormed ashore in this war, the Japanese have heard a strange language gurgling through the earphones of their radio listening sets a voice code which defies decoding. To the linguistically keen ear it shows a trace of Asiatic origin, and a lot of what sounds like American double talk. This strange tongue one of the most select in the world is Navajo, embellished with improvised words and phrases for military use. For three years it has served the Marine Corps well for transmitting secret radio and telephone messages in combat. The dark-skinned black-haired Navajo code talker, huddled over a portable radio or field phone in a regimental, divisional or corps command post, translating a message into Navajo as he reads it to his counterpart on the receiving end miles away, has been a familiar sight in the Pacific battle zone. Permission to disclose the work of these American Indians in Marine uniform has just been granted by the Marine Corps. Transmitting messages, which the enemy cannot decode, is a vital military factor in any engagement, especially where combat units are operating over a wide area in which communications must be maintained by radio. Throughout the history of warfare, military leaders have sought the perfect code- a code that the enemy could not break down, no matter how able his intelligence staff. Most codes are based on the codist’s native language. If the language is a widely...

Ceremonial Dances in the Pacific

By Ernie Pyle One of the last stories written Fay Ernie Pyle before his tragic death on le Island was about the Indians of the First Marine Division on Okinawa. It is reprinted here by permission of Scripps-Howard Newspapers and United Feature Syndicate, Inc. The ceremonial dances, according to Marine Combat Correspondent Walter Wood, included the Apache Devil Dance, the Eagle Dance, the Hoop Dance, the War Dance, and the Navajo Mountain Chant. Besides the Navajos, Sioux, Comanche, Apache, Pima, Kiowa, Pueblo, and Crow Indians took part in the Ceremonies. Okinawa — (By Navy Radio); — Back nearly two years ago when 1 was with Oklahoma’s 45th Division in Sicily and later in Italy, I learned that they had a number of Navajo Indians in communications. When secret orders had to be given over the phone these boys gave them to one an-other in Navajo. Practically nobody in the world understands Navajo except another Navajo. Well, my regiment of First Division Marines has the some thing. There are about eight Indians who do this special work. They are good Marines and are very proud of being so. There are two brothers among them, both named Joe, Their last names are the ones that are different. I guess that’s a Navajo custom, though I never knew of it before. One brother, Pfc. Joe Gatewood, went to the Indian School in Albuquerque. In fact our house is on the very same street, and Joe said it sure was good to see somebody from home. Joe has been out here three years. He is 34 and has five children bock home that...

Treaty of September 9, 1849

The following acknowledgements, declarations, and stipulations have been duly considered, and are now solemnly adopted and proclaimed by the undersigned; that is to say, John M. Washington, governor of New Mexico, and lieutenant-colonel commanding the troops of the United States in New Mexico, and James S. Calhoun, Indian agent, residing at Santa Fé, in New Mexico, representing the United States of America, and Mariano Martinez, head chief, and Chapitone, second chief, on the part of the Navajo tribe of Indians: Article I. The said Indians do hereby acknowledge that, by virtue of a treaty entered into by the United States of America and the United Mexican States, signed on the second day of February, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and forty-eight, at the city of Guadalupe Hidalgo, by N. P. Trist, of the first part, and Luis G. Cuevas, Bernardo Couto, and Mgl Atristain, of the second part, the said tribe was lawfully placed under the exclusive jurisdiction and protection of the Government of the said United States, and that they are now, and will forever remain, under the aforesaid jurisdiction and protection. Article II. That from and after the signing of this treaty, hostilities between the contracting parties shall cease, and perpetual peace and friendship shall exist; the said tribe hereby solemnly covenanting that they will not associate with, or give countenance or aid to, any tribe or band of Indians, or other persons or powers, who may be at any time at enmity with the people of the said United States; that they will remain at peace, and treat honestly and humanely all persons...

Navaho Indian Clans

This is a list of the Navaho Indian clans. Many tribes have sub-tribes, bands, gens, clans and phratry and often very little information is known about them, or they no longer exist.  We have included them here to provide more information about the tribes. Aatsosni (narrow gorge). A Navaho clan. Aatsósni. Matthews, Navaho Legends, 30, 1897. Bithani (folded arms). A Navaho clan. Dsihlthani (brow of the mountain). A Navaho clan. Dsihltlani (base of the mountain). A Navaho...

Pin It on Pinterest