Category Archives: Native Ameicans

Native American Teepee

American Indian

Native American Man Standing In Front of His Teepee on the Old American West

This photograph of a Native American man standing next to his teepee was taken around 1890, somewhere in the Indian Territory. The Indian Territory was land set aside by the American government as a place to deport American Indian tribes and restrict them to what was meant to be a new homeland for them. However population expansion by American settlers resulted in more and more of the Indian lands being taken from them and absorbed into what is now Oklahoma.

 

The man in this picture is barefoot and dressed in traditional native dress. He is holding a rifle and the reins of his horse. Behind him is a traditional teepee made of animal hides and wooden poles. There is an opening in the ceiling for ventilation and to allow a fire to be lit inside the tent. The teepee was the ideal home for a nomadic people as it could be set up and disassembled quickly.

Navajo Ceremonial Masks

talkinggod

 

 

The Navajo (also spelled Navaho) are the largest group of Native Americans. They traditionally inhabited the lands in what is now the state of New Mexico, in the United States. The Navajo possessed a rich culture and religious tradition. These photographs show Navajo men dressed in ceremonial attire representing various deities and supernatural beings.

 

These photographs were taken in 1904 when many of the traditional ways of life and shamanistic practices were beginning to fade away. They are a very valuable record of the Navajo culture.

 

Navajo MaskNavajo mask of the god Haschógan. He resides in the House of the Gods with the other deities and is second in importance only to The Talking God. His duties correspond with those of a Peace Chief in the human realm.

 

Slayer of Alien GodsThis fearsome looking costume is of Nayé?n?zgan? , one of the twin sons of the White Shell Woman – the chief Navajo Goddess. His name means Slayer of the Alien Gods, and many legends tell of his exploits in which he killed many monsters and giant animals, with the aid of his younger twin brother.

 

Navajo Ceremonial CostumeNavajo costume depicting Tobadz?schí?n?, whose name means Born of Water. He and his twin brother perform many miracles together.

 

God of Fire, also known as the Black GodThis mask is of the God of Fire, also referred to as the Black God. He is a mysterious figure in Navajo mythology but holds an important place among the gods.

 

God of the HarvestA depiction of the Navajo god of the Harvest. He is traditionally depicted bent over to symbolize the work that goes into planting and harvesting.

 

God of RainThis man is wearing a costume of Tónen?l?, the Water Sprinkler. This is the Rain God of the Navajo and he brings the life giving rain and snow. He commands the thunder and nourishes the parched land with rain. He is a beneficial god and brings happiness to the people, which is why the man who impersonates this god also acted as a clown during ceremonies, bringing happiness.

 

Navajo Religious Procession

Finally we have a picture of some of the same Navajo religious performers, walking in procession. They are being led by the Talking God.

 

These photographs were taken in 1904, when the West was not yet fully settled. They are a vivid reminder of a traditional way of life which had already begun to disappear. The photos are also remarkable for their sympathetic look at Navajo culture, considering the discrimination and repression that Native Americans faced in that era.