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Navaho Material Culture

Navaho Material Culture

Clyde Kluckhohn, W. W. Hill, Lucy Wales Kluckhohn

ISBN 9780674606203

Publication date: 01/01/1971

Navaho Material Culture was conceived in the 1940s when the noted anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn began to collect data for a reference work on Navaho objects. The unique work he began was concluded by W. W. Hill and Lucy Wales Kluckhohn, who incorporated unpublished data collected by more than twenty research workers among the Navaho for varying periods over four decades.

The beautifully illustrated collection of material culture traits is organized into five major categories: subsistence, shelter, clothing, ritual, and recreation. Information about the 263 traits includes description of manufacture and use, Navaho knowledge and belief associated with the product, and pertinent material from the anthropological literature.

The authors analyze the distribution of traits according to area and through time, and discuss the broader issues of culture change, obsolescence, differential acculturation, and cultural homogeneity. Navaho Material Culture is the first such study to include all these diverse elements; in fact, it is the first such study made of the Navaho or any Southwestern tribe. Because many of the traits are obsolete and others are no longer remembered, much of the information presented here can no longer be obtained.


  • 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.
  • Willard Williams Hill was Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. He also wrote The Agricultural and Hunting Methods of the Navaho Indians and Navaho Humor.
  • 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

  • 504 pages
  • 8-1/8 x 10-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

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