Why Were Navajo Rugs So Spiritual?
Why Were Navajo Rugs So Spiritual? The Navajos learned to weave from Puebloan weavers, and they created utilitarian blankets that served as both religious symbols and a protective measure. The rugs were then finished by leaving a “spirit string” – a small piece of yarn that sticks out from the surface. It’s this “spirit string” that allows the spirit to leave the rug.
Navajos learned to weave from Puebloan weavers
Today, the Navajos still weave, but not as widely as they once did. While their weavings may not be as impressive as those of other cultures, they still offer unique designs and patterns. Today, Navajo weavers report a 40% decline in income. In the past, Navajo weavers often made their products by hand, and their techniques remain unchanged.
During the Classic Period (1650-1863), the Navajo women wove a variety of textiles, including fine “wearing” blankets. These blankets were prized trade items with neighboring tribes. Later, the Navajos began to weave commercial trade cloth, but the style was influenced by Puebloan weavers. A late example of a Classic blanket style is the Chief Blanket, Third Phase, which has diamond motifs and is more decorative than utilitarian.
Navajos made utilitarian blankets
Early Navajo weaving included the utilitarian blanket, which was made of cotton and used by Navajos for many purposes, including covering their horses. This utilitarian blanket was so useful that the earliest Spaniards who traveled through the area wrote about it. Eventually, Navajos began to import Bayeta red yarn to supplement the local wool and indigo dyes, which helped them to create fine utilitarian blankets. The Ute and Plains Indians collected Chief’s blankets, which had minimal patterning and horizontal stripes of red.
The completion of the railroad changed the landscape and the focus of Navajo weaving. With the arrival of Europeans and Americans, cheap blankets were imported to the Navajos. These blankets had no spiritual significance and were mainly used for utilitarian purposes. Rail service also brought Germantown wool from Philadelphia to the Navajos. This wool was commercially dyed and greatly expanded Navajo weavers’ color palette.
Navajos used ch’ihonit’i as a preventative measure
A new study claims that the Navajos used ch’honit’i as a preventive measure to fight lung cancer. The disease struck uranium miners in the 1960s, and communities began to investigate the cause. Meanwhile, widows began to talk about their husbands’ deaths and learned about politics and science. They even organized to pass RECA or the Native American Reconciliation Act. The Navajos, though they lived in a remote community in Cove, Ariz., contacted Washington, DC, and complained about the problem of lung cancer.
The Navajo Nation, which stretches across parts of Arizona and New Mexico, had the highest rate of Covid-19 infections in the United States. Despite a high vaccination rate, the Navajo Nation saw just seven days without a single Covid-related death. While this number may seem small, recent Covid-related deaths are of people who contracted the disease during a previous wave and hung on to life.
Navajos left a line (called a spirit line) that breaks through the border
Throughout the twentieth century, the Navajos served in every major war in the United States. Although they did not become citizens until 1924, the Navajos served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, and they used their own language for military communication. Eventually, their work as Navajo Code Talkers became well-known to posterity.
The Navajos were extremely concerned with trapping the creative spirit of their weavings. To address this concern, they created a small strand of yarn that flows from an inner design element out to the outer edge of the piece. This line was recognized by Anglos as a swastika, but it was the Navajos who first introduced the spirit line. Eventually, the line became a popular feature of Navajo weavings and was incorporated as a good luck symbol.