“A country within a country” : within Navajo country in 1948.

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Old Bavoho grand-father telling legends to children gathered around him in rapt attention. (Photo by Leonard Mccombe/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

In 1948, when LIFE describe to the reader, the Navajo nation is “a country within the country” – a reminder that American soil with the history and the history of the United States under the protection of all other things are inseparable, this is the earth the person emphasizes the fact that heritage day Friday.
However, when the photographer Leonard McMahon to visit Arizona Navajo nation to create the image, he in this long and continuous history of a very specific and important time attracted a group of people. The Navajo, with about 61,000 members and the country’s fastest growing native American population, is in crisis.
By 1948, the U.S. government clearly know, nava hoss land can no longer support the residents to live, but the fact that are news for most americans, a majority of americans first through conservation news to hear the story of hunger. But, as LIFE points out, simply sending food doesn’t solve the problem.
The story centers on the continuation of the Yellowsalt family, most of whom rely on sheep to make a living. The family could not get permission from the reserve manager – they pointed out that the area was disappearing – to expand the population. According to the calculation of the government, according to the LIFE, the land can only provide enough sheep for around 20% of the family, to have enough animals to achieve sustainable living, or get more family hardly over. Meanwhile, despite the introduction of new and devastating diseases to the Navajo community, the government-run hospitals do not have enough beds to support the population.
The two core issues raised by this story are inevitable: “how do you provide technical knowledge to the original people without destroying the entire structure of life? How can different countries in appearance, language and culture coexist peacefully? ”
Now, almost seventy years later, the “home” to replace the word “primitive”, the problem is still the problem of deep, professor of American Indian studies at the university of Minnesota, Navajo political experience the author David Wilkins said..
“Overall, I was surprised by the overall accuracy of the article,” Wilkins told LIFE, considering its writing date and audience. “It’s full of the dominant language of assimilation, but that’s not surprising.”

A Navajo family living on a reservation. (Photo by Leonard Mccombe/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Wilkins to this story there are some other taunt – for example, LIFE has released photos of naked women talkers, this made him feel very strange, because he said he didn’t know Navajo women usually wearing the ceremony – but the big thing, he says, is missing for Yellowsalt family of an awareness of the environment. LIFE implies that reason why families do not have enough sheep prosperity, and points out that when people back to the land, they were forced to leave at the end of the 19th century, is now a reserved “surrounded by the white of hunger”, “in the space around grazing sheep destroyed this range. “With the growth of Navajo,” LIFE points out, “land has failed as a foundation for its existence.” But as Wilkins points out, in the 1930s – not the natural process of things – they were asked to reduce their grazing animals on that land.
“He said,” in 1948, the Navajo nation state continued to reduce livestock reduction programs. “It’s economically, psychologically and culturally damaging Navajo.”
The advent of the second world war prevented a period of economic disaster; Wilkins said that over 15,000 navajos were employed in some way because of the war. But in 1948, the consequences could not be denied. “The war is over and they are back on the reservation, because the wrong policy makers think they are doing the right thing, so there is nothing.” He explained that although those policymakers think they will land out of the overgrazing, but Wilkins said: in fact, later studies showed that Navajo livestock is not the main reason for the problem, in addition, although the federal policy has affected the Navajo all aspects of life, but it was not until 1948 years later, in Arizona, the Supreme Court to declare the Navajo people have a right to vote.
But Wilkins says the best thing about the article is what happened after it was released.
The media’s focus on the crisis between the Navajo and the popular news report contributed to the 1950 congress. This concern, says Mr Wilkins, encourages them to pass the Navajo hopi long-distance rehabilitation act, which “helps save the two people from the economic wreckage they are in.” “Such aid – from the first lead to the root of the problem – in the 1950 s made great change to the tribal,  perhaps is the center part of the answer of the example: very different country peaceful coexistence?

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