Heart Of The Navajo Tribe Essay

1792 words - 8 pages

Heart of the Navajo tribe
The most phenomenal thing about each individual culture though they may be similar in some ways they vary in the most impeccable manner that makes that group of people unique such as the Navajo Tribe. “The Navajo are natives of the Four Corners region (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado). The Navajo people are still living in their traditional territory today. The Navajos live on a reservation, which is land that belongs to them and is under their control. The Navajo Nation has its own government, laws, police, and services, just like a small country. However, the Navajos are also US citizens and must obey American law.) Redish, L., & Lewis, O. (2011). Every belief or tradition are what make the very aspect of the Navajo tribe. In traditional Navajo belief, all illness or misfortune arises from transgressions against the supernaturals or from witchcraft (Adams). Consequently, medical practice is essentially synonymous with ceremonial practice (Adams). There are particular kinds of ceremonies designed to treat illnesses caused by the patient's transgressions, by accidents, and by different kinds of witchcraft (Adams). Apart from ceremonial practices, there was formerly a fairly extensive materia medica of herbs, potions, ointments, and fumigante, and there were specialists who collected and applied these (Adams).
Bears play a major role in Navajo mythology, and consequently, in tribal religious beliefs and practices. Like man, bears are capable of both good and bad. On the positive side, bears in Navajo mythology often served as guardians and protectors of other supernaturals such as the Sun and Changing Woman (Pavlik, S. 1997). In historic times, however, bears are more commonly looked upon negatively and with causing harm to people. Bears are considered by Navajos to be beings who possess supernatural power--including the ability to transform into human shape. Navajo mythology includes numerous stories involving the anthromorphic qualities of bears, and it is believed that they retain and demonstrate such power today. Bears can also cause illness, or as it is commonly referred to, "bear sickness." Killing, or offending a bear, eating its meat, coming in physical contact with a bear or it's body parts, especially the head and hide, or the mere act of handling an object like a stone or piece of wood touched by a bear, drinking at a bear's watering place, stepping on bear tracks or simply crossing it's path, can all lead to bear sickness. Even the breath of a bear coming from a distance can do harm, as can dreaming about bears or speaking the bear's name aloud. Most bear sickness falls into two general categories, swollen, painful arms, legs, and other extremities; and mental illness (Pavlik, S. 1997). Occasionally a bear might be hunted and killed if its paws or other parts are needed for ceremonial purposes. Bear paws, for example, are used to make the medicine bag or jish used by medicinemen. Bear claws are also...

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