Known for their patterned blankets and rugs and silver jewelry, the Navajo across centuries have used certain tools that enable them to create their arts. As farmers, they have also used particular tools to work the soil, and in the past, Navajo men used similar tools for both fighting and hunting.
Arts and Handcrafts
Navajo women use drop spindles to spin sheep's fleece into yarn and looms to weave the yarn into fabric for rugs and blankets. Modern-day weavers might use shears to remove sheep's fleece and "hand carders" to prepare the fleece fibers for spinning. Navajo silversmiths use hammers to pound silver into desired shapes. The Navajo are also known for their pottery, but they make these objects by hand.
The hoe and the rake are typical tools any farmer might use, and the Navajo used these implements to break up the soil to prepare it for planting squash, corn and beans and to loosen soil that had been planted to aid in irrigation.
Hunters' and Warriors' Tools
Navajo men used bows and arrows both for hunting and battle. They also used spears as weapons, and the points, or tips, of both spears and arrows were made of stone. They also made stone knives, axes and saws.
- Navajo Indian Fact Sheet
- The University of Arizona: Navajo Weaving at Arizona State Museum: Weaving Tools
- Prehistory in the Navajo Reservoir District Northwestern New Mexico By Frank W. Eddy
- The Navajo and Pueblo Silversmiths By John Adair
- Native American Art: Native American Pottery: American Indian Pottery and Sculpture
- Coral Coolahan/iStock/Getty Images