Navajo Indians in Flagstaff


Unknown Hunter Drug Company, Flagstaff, Arizona inn818p.jpg IN-N-818 B&W 1504-0818-0000 inn818p Postcard 3x5 Historic Photographs 1900s Reproduction requires permission. Digital images property of SHM Library & Archives


Navajo Indians in Flagstaff, Arizona, in traditional dress and blankets.

Navajo clothing for both men and women initially was deerskin for shirts and skirts. The men later wore cotton or velvet shirts with no collars, breeches below the knee, and moccasins. Women gradually wore the “squaw dress,” made of plain dark blankets

In early times the women wore deerskin waist, skirt, moccasins, and blanket, but these gradually gave place to the so-called “squaw-dress,” woven on the blanket loom, and consisting of two small blankets laced together at the sides, leaving arm-holes, and without being closed at top or bottom.

Traditionally, both Navajo men and women wear their hair long and twisted in a distinctive bun, or tsiiyéél, on the back of the head, tied with white sheep’s wool yarn. The hair binding was typically a bonding family ritual, done between brothers and sisters or parents and children, and with the aid of a traditional hair brush called a be’ezo, a bundle of dried grass bound tightly together.

The Navajo may have learned to weave from their Pueblo Indian neighbors when they moved into the Four Corners region during the year 1000 A.D. Some experts contend that the Navajo were not weavers until after the 17th century. The Navajo obtained cotton through local trade routes before the arrival of the Spanish, after which time they began to use wool. Written records establish the Navajo as fine weavers for at least the last 300 years, beginning with Spanish colonial descriptions of the early 18th century.

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