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Main Curriculum Tie:
Background For Teachers:
Next tell the students about the Navajos, a nation of Native Americans that have lived in what is now Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona for centuries and continue to be an important part of these states. Explain that the Navajos have special colors that act as symbols in their culture.
Based on the information in the teacher materials, explain how the four colors represent different spiritual beliefs, people, and places. Discuss how these colors and spiritual beliefs are also associated with the sacred mountains of the Navajo homeland, the four directions, and certain times of day. Explain that these colors are especially important because they tie the Navajo to their homeland.
Give the students the Navajo coloring sheet, and have them complete it either as homework or as an in-class project. When they have completed it, discuss what they have learned about the colors and the Navajos from the coloring sheet. Ask some of the students to share the color they chose for "family" and tell the class why they selected that color.
Tell the students that color is also an important way for Navajo parents to pass their culture on to
their children, and that one way to do this is through art. Show them the clips from We Shall Remain:
The Navajo or photos of Navajo artwork at www.UtahIndians.org. If time permits, you could also focus
specifically on the importance of weaving in Navajo culture using the information from "The Art
and Technology of Utah's Five Unique Indian Cultures" lesson plan. Reinforce that this artwork is a
beautiful and important part of Navajo life, and of Utah's culture.
Benally, Clyde, with Andrew O. Wiget, John R. Alley, and Garry Blake. Dinejí Nákéé' Nááhane': A Utah Navajo History. Monticello, Utah: San Juan School District, 1982.
Iverson, Peter. Diné: A History of the Navajo. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2002.
Maryboy, Nancy C., and David Begay. "The Navajoes of Utah," in A History of Utah's American Indians. Ed. Forrest S. Cuch,, Salt Lake City: Utah Division of Indian Affairs and the Utah Division of State History, 2000.
Yazzie, Ethelou, ed. Navajo History. Chinle, Ariz.: Navajo Curriculum Center, 1971.
The University of Utah's American West Center (AWC) produced the curriculum materials in consultation with the Utah Division of Indian Affairs, Utah State Office of Education, KUED 7, and the Goshute, Northwestern Band of the Shoshone, Southern Paiute, and Ute nations.
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