The Navajo Nation is a vast area in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. The area is the homeland to the Navajo people – people who consider the land to be their mother, and therefore treat the earth with the utmost respect. As of 2008, over 250,000 Navajo call the 27,000 square miles of the reservation their home.
The Navajo, or Diné, believe they passed through three different worlds before emerging into this world. The world they now live in is referred to as the “Fourth World” or “Glittering World”.
According to the Diné, there are two classes of beings: the Earth People and the Holy People. The Holy People have special powers and are capable of aiding or harming the Earth People. The Earth People, since they are a part of the universe, must do everything they can to maintain harmony and balance on Mother Earth.
The Earth People were taught how to live the right way by the Holy People centuries ago. The Holy People taught them how to live in harmony with Mother Earth, Father Sky, and many other elements such as man, animals, plants, and insects.
The Navajo people are known worldwide for their exquisite silverwork. Traditional Navajo jewelry is made from silver with copious amounts of turquoise. Turquoise is especially important to the Navajo people because of its religious significance and its representation of well-being in an individual.
Navajos are also known for their basket work. They believe the First Man and First Woman made baskets for ceremonial purposes. Each part of the basket has a special significance.
Rug weaving is another traditional Navajo art form. Navajo women believe the art of weaving was taught by Spider Woman, who constructed a loom according to directions given by the Holy People.