The Navajos by Terrell, John Upton - 1970

The Navajos by Terrell, John Upton - 1970


The Navajos by Terrell, John Upton

Ex-lib 1970 Weybright and Talley

This is a rather wearying history; though strong on facts, it could have used more thematic organization and literary skill in the retelling. Alter a rather breathless introduction (""For the Navajos, the largest, wealthiest, most energetic and progressive Indian tribe in America, midday has come"") with a brief statement of Navajo Pride and Navajo Power arguments, Terrell launches into his lengthy historical record. Tracing the Navajo's ancestral myths and early migratory movements to the Southwest, he notes the initial significant transitions in their primitive way of life. The bulk of the account, which covers the encounters with Spanish, Mexican, and American settlers and authorities from the seventeenth century to the establishment of the Navajo reservation in 1868, also details the changes wrought in Navajo custom, religious ceremonial, social system, and economic practice. Terrell demonstrates how the United States government has failed to meet Navajo needs in a century of indifferent jurisdiction and recommends two fundamental programs for which the Navajos themselves long have pleaded: the establishment of schools and colleges on the reservation to produce the technicians, professionals, and administrators needed in the Navajo country, and the simultaneous development of industry on the reservation by both the federal government and private industry. Terrell's book will prove valuable to those seeking extensive information on the Navajo past, but, despite frequent quotation of contemporary sources, it lacks the human highlights and the balance between sweep and focus that make living history out of hard facts.

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