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, Native North Americans whose language belongs to the Athabascan branch of the Nadene linguistic stock (see Native American languages). A migration from the North to the Southwest area is thought to have occurred in the past because of an affiliation
..... Click the link for more information. , people; NavajoNavajo
language belonging to the Athabascan branch of the Nadene linguistic family, or stock, of North America (including Mexico). See Native American languages.
..... Click the link for more information. , language.
(self-designation, Dene), an Indian people in the USA. They live on four reservations in the states of New Mexico and Arizona and number more than 100,000 (1970, estimate). Their language is related to the Athapaskan languages. The Navaho belong to various Christian sects. They were originally woodland hunters and fishermen in the northern part of North America; in the 14th and 15th centuries they migrated to the Southwest, where they took up hoe farming and, at a later date, livestock raising. The present-day Navaho engage primarily in livestock raising. They are actively involved in the movement to improve the life of American Indians and to eliminate racial discrimination. They publish the newspaper Navaho Times.
REFERENCESNarody Ameriki, vol. 1. Moscow, 1959.
Vogt, E. Navaho Veterans. Cambridge, 1951.
Dreams constitute fundamental elements in the everyday life of the Navaho, who generally do not comment publicly on their dreams, which are often regarded as warnings. Dream specialists are usually consulted in order to discover the cause of the dream, what is going to happen, and how to prevent the anticipated event. The diagnostician, often in a trance state, can discover the cause of the dream as well as the dreamer’s sickness.
It has been frequently observed that myths play a significant role in the daily lives of the Navaho, and many of them are performed repeatedly in winter. The influence of the mythic narratives on the dreams of the Navaho has often been pointed out. A considerable number of dream interpretations are persistently believed, because later events have corroborated a sufficient percentage of them.
The Navaho, like other people, divide dreams into good and bad, although they are not inclined to arrange gods or other phenomena in categories. They have easily accomplished rituals for dealing with the causes and the results of bad dreams, one of the most common of which is praying at sunrise. Many apparently bad dreams may have an opposite meaning, which is usually revealed by the natural course of events. Among the Navaho, most common unpleasant dreams are minimized or ignored because others have had similar dreams and nothing serious has happened. However, certain particular kinds of dreams are believed to cause sickness and to require diagnosis and treatment. One dream belonging to this category is the falling dream.
Another group of dreams may be designated death dreams, of which various interpretations are offered. For instance, if during a ceremony a shaman dreams that his patient is going to die, he must leave and allow another shaman to be called. Also, when a Navaho dreams that he is dead, he interprets that as meaning that in his dream he was in the next world with the spirits of the dead. To dream of being there and to come back does not necessarily represent a bad omen: but if the dreamer shakes hands with the dead, it means that he is going to die.