Wind Talkers: Navajo Code Talkers in WWII - NAVAJO FAMILY LIFE

Navajo People Shearing Sheep Native-Americans and First Peoples  Visual Arts

Harold Baxter (1889-1982) took this picture of Navajo shearing sheep. The image was digitized by Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, and is online via Navajo People.


The Navajo are a hardworking people. Before World War II, they divided family responsibilities along traditional lines.

  • Navajo Navajo women took an active part in handling the sheep and goats and were responsible for most of the shearing.

  • Women would also card, spin and dye the wool which was then turned into yarn, suitable for weaving beautiful Navajo blankets and rugs.

  • While mothers worked, their babies rested in a cradleboard.

  • By 1933, Navajos were still cultivating their corn their corn, a Navajo staple, by hand. The same was true of thrashing and grinding.

  • The Navajo dried their corn on a "summer shade" or directly on the land.

  • Because of the arid conditions, squash could be stored in a pit called a root cellar.

Even at a time when the United States was mostly an agrarian country, the Navajos lived differently from other Americans. But they also took time to have fun.


EDITOR'S NOTE: Sometimes the pictures from the U.S. National Archives do not display with the first try. If you experience that glitch, the pictures should appear if you click again. Sometimes it takes 2-4 tries, but the images are worth the extra effort.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5197stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jun 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: May 23, 2019

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