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The Navaho

The Navaho

Revised Edition

Clyde Kluckhohn, Dorothea C. Leighton

ISBN 9780674606036

Publication date: 01/01/1992

What are the Navaho today? How do they live together and with other races? What is their philosophy of life? Both the general reader and the student will look to this authoritative study for the answers to such questions. The authors review Navaho history from archaeological times to the present, and then present Navaho life today. They show the people’s problems in coping with their physical environment; their social life among their own people; their contacts with whites and other Indians and especially with the Government; their economy; their religious beliefs and practices; their language and the problems this raises in their education and their relationships to whites; and their explicit and implicit philosophy.

This book presents not only a study of Navaho life, however: it is an impartial discussion of an interesting experiment in Government administration of a dependent people, a discussion which is significant for contemporary problems of a wider scope; colonial questions; the whole issue of the contact of different races and peoples. It will appeal to every one interested in the Indians, in the Southwest, in anthropology, in sociology, and to many general readers.

This work forms the most thoroughgoing study ever made of the Navaho Indians, and perhaps of any Indian group. The book was written as a part of the Indian Education Research Project undertaken jointly by the Committee on Human Development of the University of Chicago and the United States Office of Indian Affairs. The cooperation of a psychiatrist and anthropologist both in the research for, and in the writing of, this study is noteworthy—as is the fusion of methods and points of view derived from medicine, psychology, and anthropology. Probably no anthropological study has ever been based upon so many years of field work by so many different persons.


  • This collaboration between an anthropologist and a medico-psychiatrist has been a fortunate one. Professor Kluckhohn and Dr. Leighton have tried, as social scientists, to show the Navaho points of view, and then show how the Army, the missionary, the trader, the Indian Bureau, the white rancher or farmer surrounded the Navaho with new standards of ethical judgment and social procedure. The result was to frustrate much in the Navaho that had produced a sense of security and well-being… This book teaches the salutary lesson that majority culture patterns are not self-justifying… If we have achieved a greater mastery over the forces of nature than the Navahos, perhaps they have received more by experiencing the beauty and emotional values in nature than we.

    —Anne Richards, New York Times


  • Clyde Kluckhohn (1905–1960) was Professor of Anthropology at Harvard University and Curator of Southwestern American Ethnology at Harvard’s Peabody Museum. He was in almost continuous contact with the Navaho Indians beginning in 1923. In 1942 he became an expert consultant to the United States Office of Indian Affairs. Professor Kluckholn authored several books, among them Beyond the Rainbow and Navaho Witchcraft.
  • Dorothea C. Leighton, M.D., a psychiatrist, received with Dr. Alexander H. Leighton the Joint Postdoctoral Research Training Fellowship of the Social Science Research Council in 1939–40. A Guggenheim Fellowship was also awarded jointly to her and Dr. Leighton. She passed away in 1989.
  • Lucy Wales Kluckhohn (Lucy H. Wales / Lucy W. Kluckhohn Jones) is Associate Professor of Life Science at Santa Monica College. She has done fieldwork in the Southwest and was assistant to the late Clyde Kluckhohn. She also edited the revised edition of Indians of the United States by Clark Wissler.

Book Details

  • 374 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8 inches
  • Harvard University Press
  • Revised by Lucy Wales Kluckhohn and Richard Kluckhohn

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