December 22, 2016

0805, 1659, 1660, 2169, 2258, 2916 UNITED STATES (Arizona / Utah / New Mexico) - The Navajo

2169 Navajo indians on reservation

Posted on 31.08.2013, 12.06.2015, 30.12.2015, 01.02.2016, 22.12.2016
The Navajo are the largest federally recognized tribe of the United States, with more then 300,000 members, and the Navajo Nation constitutes an independent governmental body, which manages the Navajo Indian reservation (in the Four Corners area), which extends into the states of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. Diné Bikéyah, or Navajoland, one of the most arid and barren portions of the Great American Desert, is larger than 10 of the 50 states in America. 

1659 Navajo Indian (Saltwater clan)
Medicine Man (1)

Regarding the name, the Spaniards used the term Apachu de Nabajo for the first time in the 1620s to refer to the people in the Chama Valley region, and since 1640s began to use the term "Navajo" to refer to the Diné (meaning "The People"), as prefer they to call themselves. The Navajo are speakers of a Na-Dené Southern Athabaskan languages known as Diné bizaad. The importance of their contribution, as code talkers, at the Japanese defeat in the Pacific in WWII is well known.

1660 Navajo Indian (Saltwater clan)
Medicine Man (2)

It seems that the Athabaskan ancestors of the Navajo and Apache entered the Southwest around 1400 CE, and the oral history indicates a long relationship between Navajo and Pueblo people. Initially, the Navajo were hunters and gatherers, but subsequent they adopted crop farming techniques from the Pueblo, and sheep and goats breeding from Spaniards. In addition, the practice of spinning and weaving wool into blankets and clothing became common and developed into a form of highly valued artistic expression.

0805 An old Navajo woman and his granddaughter

For a long period prior to the acquisition from Mexico of the territory now forming the northern portion of Arizona and New Mexico, the Navajo undertook raids on the New Mexican Indian pueblos and the white settlements along the Rio Grande, for the capture of livestock, although both Indians and Mexicans also were enslaved. The Mexicans lost no opportunity to retaliate. In 1846 the Navajo came into official contact with the United States, which shortly established forts on their territory. Relations have been strained from the beginning, raids reaching a peak in 1860-1861 (period known as Naahondzood, "the fearing time").

2258 A Navajo baby named
Be-Nah Na-Zuhn (Pretty Eyes)

In 1864, after a series of skirmishes and battles, about 8.500 Navajo were forced away from their homelands to the Bosque Redondo, an experimental reservation about 480km away on the plains of eastern New Mexico. This project was a failure, so a new treaty was made in 1868, one of its provisions being the purchase of 15.000 sheep to replenish the exterminated flocks. Thousands of people died along the way, during the four years spent at the reservation, and during the walk home. In July, 7304 Navaho arrived at Fort Wingate, to their old home, where lived in peace since then, even if the abuses upon them continued.

2916 A Navajo woman with a baby

Historically, the structure of the Navajo society is largely a matrilineal system, in which women owned livestock and land. Once married, a man would move to live with his bride in her dwelling and among her mother's people and clan. Daughters (or, if necessary, other female relatives) were traditionally the ones who received the generational property inheritance. The children are "born to" and belong to the mother's clan, and are "born for" the father's clan. As adults, men represent their mother's clan in tribal politics. People must date and marry partners outside their own clans.

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. The Navajo woman's traditional style of dress consists usually of foot or knee-high moccasins, a pleated velvet or cotton skirt, a matching long-sleeve blouse, concho and/or sash belt, jewelry (commonly of silver and turquoise) and a shawl. They continue to wear traditional outfits when the occasion requires it. Anyway, before an individual can receive help from the Great Spirit, one must first wear appropriate clothing in order to be recognized.

About the stamps
On the postcards 0805
The first four stamps are part of the definitives series American Design (2002-2007), about which I wrote here. The second stamp, a forever one, issued in 2011 with the occasion of Arizona’s centennial (1912-2012), depicts Cathedral Rock in Sedona, a painting by Arizona artist Ed Mell.

The last stamp is also a forever one, and depict actress Helen Hayes (1900-1993), who justly deserved the title "First Lady of the American Theater" for her radiant presence on Broadway for much of the twentieth century. The stamp, issued on May 20, 2011, features original art by Drew Struzan, whose movie posters for the Indiana Jones and Star Wars series have been seen by millions. Struzan based his design for the stamp on a photograph taken of Hayes circa 1958.

On the postcard 1659
The first two stamps are part of the series Vintage Circus Posters, about which I wrote here. The third stamp is part of the definitives series American Design (2002-2007), about which I wrote here. About the last stamp, featuring a portrait of George Washington, I wrote here.

On the postcard 1660
The first and the last stamp are part of the series Vintage Circus Posters, about which I wrote here. The second stamp, dedicated to Charlton Heston, is part of the series Legends of Hollywood, about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 2169
Two of the stamps, depicting Western meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta) and Evening grosbeak (Coccothraustes vespertinus), are part of the series Songbirds, about which I wrote here. The stamp in the middle is part of the definitives series American Design (2002-2007), about which I wrote here. The last stamp, depicting Cactus wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) and Saguaro cactus blossom (Carnegiea gigantea), the bird and the flower of the state of Arizona, is part of the series State Birds and Flowers, about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 2258

The stamps are part of the series Summer Harvest, issued on July 11, 2015. Vintage produce advertising, including 19th- and early 20th-century crate labels, seed packets, and catalogs, inspired these stamp designs. After America’s railroads linked the East and West Coasts in the 1870s, growers in agricultural areas could ship their products to locations across the country. To distinguish their wares from other producers, growers commissioned special crate labels from printing houses that employed some of the day’s best graphic artists. Working with an early concept developed by former art director Richard Sheaff, Antonio Alcalá art directed these stamps. Michael Doret was the designer and artist.
• Watermelons - It's on the postcard 2471
• Sweet corn - It's on the postcard 2258
• Cantaloupes - It's on the postcard 2258
• Tomatoes - It's on the postcard 2258

On the postcard 2916
About the stamp, issued in 2014 with the occasion of Earth Day, I wrote here

Navajo people - Wikipedia
Navajo People - The Diné - A site about Navajo people
Navajo Nation - Official website
World War II: Navajo Code Talkers -
Navajo Arts - A site about Navajo arts
Papoose Cradleboards of the Nations - Gelean Grove

Sender 0805: Kristen / AndAllThatJazz (postcrossing) US-2231150
Sent from Peoria (Arizona / United States), on 17.05.2013
Photo: Norma Agoodis
Sender 1659, 1660, 2169, 2258, 2916: Denise
1659: Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 23.06.2014
1660: Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 15.07.2014
2169: Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 01.12.2015
2258: Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 01.02.2016
2916: Sent from Greenvale (New York / United States), on 29.11.2016 

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