Wind Talkers: Navajo Code Talkers in WWII - NAVAJO and the ANCESTRAL LANDS

Navajo Ancestral Lands Native-Americans and First Peoples  Geography

In this map, from PBS and its "Storytellers" website, we see the ancestral lands of the Navajo Nation.


Back on their ancestral homelands, the Navajo people continued their traditional way of life. When America joined World War I, many Navajos fought for their country. When they returned to the reservation, most resumed their normal lives. It was a lifestyle largely unknown by other Americans:

  • Navajo sheep owners, especially in the southern portions of the reservation, lived in "hogans." Most families had several, including a summer and a winter hogan, allowing them to follow their grazing sheep.

  • The Navajo hogan evolved during the years from piles of dirt and pieces of wood, providing shelter, to the hogan of the 1930s, with its log walls and dirt roof. By the late 1930s, many Navajo were also living in log and stone houses.

  • In ancient times people also constructed houses in or near shallow caves on Navajo land. One such four-story tower house, built about 800 years ago, still exists in a Navajo Canyon shallow cave.

  • In the mid-1930s, Navajo sheep fed on over-grazed land.

  • Navajo farms did not have irrigation systems. People had to depend on flood waters.

  • By 1937, however, deep wells were providing grazing range in previously unusable areas.

  • Most of the farms had primitive fencing which was being replaced by 1936.

The Navajo people have a deep respect for their ancestors and for their families. America’s national archives give outsiders an opportunity to examine Navajo family life in the decades before America’s involvement in World War II.

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

Original Release: Jun 01, 2002

Updated Last Revision: Jan 16, 2016

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"NAVAJO and the ANCESTRAL LANDS" AwesomeStories.com. Jun 01, 2002. Jun 03, 2020.
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