Navajo Early Twentieth Century Ceremonial Basket - C4091B
When the members of today's Navajo tribe arrived in the Southwest around 1500, they were a nomadic people of Athapaskan heritage from the north. On arrival, they split into what we know today as Navajo and Apache tribes. The Navajo settled in northern New Mexico, mingled with the Pueblo peoples and adopted some of their culture. They planted corn and other crops and settled into semi permanent family camps. Their ceremonial life became more elaborate once they settled.
The Pueblo Revolt of 1680 had effects on the Navajo as well. When the Spanish reconquest forced many Pueblo people to flee their villages, they took refuge among the Navajos. The Navajos accepted the refugees and, during the period between 1700 and 1770, they acquired many skills and practices which are accepted today as Navajo tradition. Among these, was basket weaving.
The Navajo made baskets for daily use, particularly after their release from imprisonment at Bosque Redondo. Each Navajo family was alloted two sheep and their personal belongings at the time of their release. Materials for making baskets were free so their use became routine. Following the devastation of their lives during imprisonment, ceremonial functions became important to restore their health and for the well being of their home, flocks, and fields, and for their security.
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