Chapter

Historical Background

Jerrold E. Levy

in In the Beginning

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 1998 | ISBN: 9780520211285
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920576 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520211285.003.0002
Historical Background

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The position taken here is that changing economic and social conditions engendered diverging interpretations of events which sought their justification in and expressed themselves by utilizing preexisting myths as well as by creating new ones. In order to clarify the transitions undergone by Navajo society, this chapter reviews Navajo history from the time they left the western subarctic, through their migration to the Southwest, their contact with the agricultural Pueblos, the adoption of pastoralism, and the reservation experience of pastoralism and its displacement by wage-work. After 1690, when they were joined by Tewa, Jemez, Keresan, and Zuni refugees, the Navajos underwent a period of intense interaction with the Pueblos that radically changed their social and religious life.

Keywords: Navajo society; western subarctic; migration; agriculture; Pueblos; religious life; pastoralism

Chapter.  5184 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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