September 27, 2012

Native Americans Day 6: Southwest: Navajo

Southwest: Navajo
1. Review: We learned about the Pueblo tribe in the Southwest region last time. Today we will learn about another tribe in the Southwest, the Navajo tribe. Remind students where the Southwest region is on the regional map.
2. Map Skills: Compare the regional map to the globe or map today and see what countries or states are in the Southwest region.
3. Discuss: Fill out the Tribes Chart after reading each section. Have the child listen closely to choose what word to put on the chart. Bold type words are good suggestions.
  • Habitat: Southwest The Navajo lived in what is now northwestern New Mexico and northeastern Arizona. This land contained peaks, grasslands, deserts, and canyons. The Navajo were a nomadic group of people until they came into contact with the Pueblo.
  • Homes: The Navajo lived in homes called hogans. Hogans were round houses built with forked sticks. The sticks were covered with brush, packed earth, hides, and whatever was available. The front door of the hogan always faced east to catch the first light of the morning sun. Later the Navajo built a six-sided hogan of logs and mud. The hogan only had one room. Outside the home a loom for weaving was set up. It was brought indoors only in the winter. A corral for the herd of sheep was close by the hogan. Homes were far apart from each other.
  • Dress: The Navajo make their clothing from deerskin. The men wore breechcloths and leggings. The women wore deerskin dresses. Both wore moccasins. After the 1800’s the Navajo men borrowed the style of the Mexicans and wore blankets draped over one shoulder. Their pants ended halfway between their knees and ankles. The women wore woolen dresses made with two blankets stitched together at their shoulders like the Mexicans. They wore a Navajo bun positioned on the back of the head. The only traditional head dress worn is worn by a man. There would be a scarf, folded to make a long thin (belt looking) scarf. This would be tied above one ear.
  • Food: The Navajo were primarily hunters and trappers. They hunted deer, pronghorn antelope, and rabbits. They raided the Pueblo and stole their crops. Later they became farmers and sheep ranchers. The grew watermelons, corn, beans, and squash. They also gathered wild plants, seeds, roots, and berries.
4. Read: The Navajo by Andrew Santella
5. Comprehension questions:
  • What region did the Navajo live in? Southwest
  • What kind of homes did the Navajo build? Hogans
  • What kind of clothes did the Navajo wear? Deerskin, breechcloth, leggins, dresses, pants and moccasins
  • How did the Navajo get their food? Hunted, ranchers, gathered and farmers

Southwest Natives
I copied page 29 in Native Americans A Complete Thematic Unit by Jill Norris for J.  He colored the picture of the Navajo in their traditional clothing and then wrote 2 things that he has learned about the Navajo on the bottom of the page.

Navajo Symmetrical Balance
Discuss: There are many types of Navajo rug designs. Many of them are specific to the region in which they have been created. Some of the designs are old and simple, while many are new and complicated. Some are even related to the buying and selling trends of different times in history. Many of the Navajo rug designs are good examples of symmetrical balance Symmetrical balance is a type of visual balance where the overall composition is arranged to look like it is the same on both sides of the center of the design. In other words, it is a design which could be folded in half, and as the design folds, each part of the design would match up with its symmetrical counterpart on the opposite side of the center. The rug design below is symmetrical left-to-right. If a line was drawn vertically down the center of the rug, the arrangement of shapes and colors would appear to be exactly the opposite of each other on both sides of that line. This design is also symmetrical top-to-bottom. If a line was drawn horizontally across the rug in its center, the top half and the bottom half would appear to be "mirror opposites" and show symmetry.
  • Construction Paper 4”x7” (any color)
  • Rug Designs
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers
  1. Cut out the rug designs and arrange them on your construction paper in a symmetrical pattern.
  2. When you are happy with your pattern glue them down. 
  3. You can use markers to add more designs, just be sure they are symmetrical.
Navajo Skin Bag
We made a tiny bag like the Navajo made using the activity on page 31 of  Native Americans A Complete Thematic Unit by Jill Norris.  We traced and cut out the pattern onto felt and glued it together.  
Then punched the holes in the top and tied it together with string.  Then we painted a design on the bag.

Navajo Woven Wall Hanging
Navajo weavers have used upright in looms (frames for interlacing two or more threads or yarns to make cloth) to make wool blankets and rugs. Each design had a name usually form the region in which the rug was first made. The entire process may take as long as one to two months. You can weave a small, simple Navajo wall hanging using some elements of the Chinle design.

  • pencil
  • ruler
  • piece of heavy cardboard
  • sharp scissors
  • small skein of cotton yarn in cream or white
  • 4 skeins of wool yarn in black, dark (not bright) red, white and gray
  • yarn needle
  • clean hair comb
  1. Draw a 7x5 ¾ inch rectangle on the heavy cardboard and cut it out. Along each short edge of the rectangle, cut 22 notches ¼ inch apart. Cut each notch about ¼ inch deep. This was our loom.
  2. Cut a piece of cotton yarn about 8 yards long. This is the warp (stationary strands on the loom). Start the warp on your loom by putting in through the bottom left notch, leaving and 8 inch tail out the back of the loom. Wrap the yarn around the loom, working from bottom to top and left to right through each notch in turn. When you reach the top right notch, leave and 8 inch tail out the back of the loom. Turn the loom over, back faceup, and tie the two tails together in a tight knot.
  3. Cut a piece of red yarn about 84 inches long and thread it on the needle. This will be he weft (strands that are woven into the warp).
  4. Start to weave right to left at the bottom right corner of the loom. Begin by placing the needle under the first warp, over the second, under the third and so on until you reach the left end of the loom Gently pull the weft all the way through leaving a 4 inch tail on the right. For the second row, weave back toward the right side of the loom, placing the needle under the first left warp, over the second, and so on until you reach the right side. Pull the weft gently, making sure the warp on the leave and right ends doesn't pull in. use the comb to pack (push down) each row very close to the previous one. Do this each time you weave a new row.
  5. Continue weaving with the red yarn until it measures about 5/8 inch. Not wave with the other colors following this pattern: (start a new color on either the right or left side of the loom, letting 2 inches of yarn ends stick out and weaving the new row opposite to the way you wove the previous row.)
  • gray ¼ inch
  • black 1/8 inch
  • white ¼ inch
  • black 1/8 inch
  • gray ¼ inch
  • red ½ inch
  • black 5/8 inch
  • white 1/8 inch
  • gray ¼ inch
  • red 1/8 inch
  • gray ¼ inch
  • white 1/8 inch
  • black 5/8 inch
  • red ½ inch
  • gray ¼ inch
  • black 1/8 inch
  • white ¼ inch
  • black 1/8 inch
  • gray ¼ inch
  • red 5/8 inch
    1. The weaving should end near the top of the loom, all rows packed very tightly.
    2. Turn the loom facedown and cut the unwoven warp across the middle, cutting through the two knotted strands, then turn the loom faceup again. 
       Remove the warp strands from the notches along the bottom. 
      Tie the first pair of strands on the left together in a knot closest to the edge of the weaving. 
      The the next pair of strands together, and so on until all pairs are tied. Repeat of the war strands at the top of the weaving. Trim the warp strands to a length of about 1 inch.
    3. Careful trim the yarn ends from the weft that are sticking out of the rows.

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