Navaho Houses, pages 469-518 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 71 pages of information about Navaho Houses, pages 469-518.

He made four co’tce, but instead of using wood in their construction he made them of a metallic substance, like iron.  He placed these at the cardinal points and sent the moon to make a fire near each of them.  This fire was obtained from the “burning stars,” the comets.  The co’tce were made exceedingly hot and the twins were placed in them successively; but instead of being harmed they came out of the last one stronger and more vigorous than ever.  Then the Sun acknowledged them as his sons and gave the elder one the magic weapons with which he destroyed the evil genii who infested the Navaho land.  This is the reason, the Navaho say, why it is well to have many co’tce and to use them frequently.  Their use gives rest and sweet sleep after hard work; it invigorates a man for a long journey and refreshes him after its accomplishment.

First-woman, after coming up the qadjinai, was also foul and ill smelling, and after First-man she also used the co’tce.  Hence the Navaho women use the co’tce like the men, but never together except under a certain condition medical in character.  The co’tce is built usually in some secluded spot, and frequently large parties of men go together to spend the better part of a day in the enjoyment of the luxury of a sweat bath and a scour with sand.  On another day the women of the neighborhood get together and do the same, and the men regard their privacy strictly.


Up to a comparatively recent period the Navaho have been what is usually termed a “wild tribe;” that is, they have existed principally by war and plunder.  Since the conquest of the country by General Kearny and the “Army of the West,” in 1846, they have given us but little trouble, but prior to that time they preyed extensively on the Pueblo Indians and the Mexican settlements along the Rio Grande.  Practically all their wealth today, and they are a wealthy tribe, consists of thousands of sheep and goats and hundreds of horses, all descended from flocks and herds originally stolen.  When the country came into the possession of the United States marauding expeditions became much less frequent, and almost insensibly the tribe changed from a predatory to a pastoral people.  But aside from the infrequency or absence of armed expeditions the life of the people remained much the same under the changed conditions.  When the Atlantic and Pacific railroad entered the country some sixteen or seventeen years ago traders came with it, although there were a few in the country before, and numerous trading posts were established in the reservation and about its borders.  The effect of this was to fix the pastoral habits of the people.  Wool and pelts were exchanged for flour, sugar, and coffee, and for calico prints and dyes, and gradually a demand for these articles was established.

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Navaho Houses, pages 469-518 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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